Explaining the characteristics, ecology, habitat, and reasons for extinction of the passenger pigeon Will it be revived after 100 years?


We will explain the characteristics, ecology, habitat, reproduction, and reasons for the extinction of the passenger pigeon, which existed in the hundreds of millions 100 years ago but is now extinct. Why did this bird, which is said to have once lived in large numbers, become extinct? We will explain all the reasons, characteristics, and ecology.

What is a passenger pigeon? About basic status

The passenger pigeon is a bird belonging to the genus Passenger Pigeon. The English name is Passenger Pigeon. The scientific name is Ectopistes migratorius. It is said to have a total length of about 40 cm, and is said to be the most abundant wild bird in history.

English(英名)Passenger Pigeon
scientific name(学名)Ectopistes migratorius
classification(分類)Aves、 Columbiformes、Columbidae、Ectopistes
IUCN Status(保全状況)EXTINCT
Weight(体重)260 – 340 g

About the habitat of the passenger pigeon

The passenger pigeon lived mainly in the eastern region of the United States. It was even said that when they passed over it in nature, huge groups would appear and the sky would darken.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

It is estimated that there were between 3 and 5 billion passenger pigeons at one time. The male has a blue-gray head, rose-colored underside, black bill, and red legs. Females are more subdued in color than males. It was said that the moving herds were so dense that the sky would be dyed black. The flight speed was fast and the travel speed was about 60 miles per hour. These pigeons lived in deciduous forests in eastern North America and were primarily active around the Great Lakes.

What is the ecology of the passenger pigeon?

Passenger pigeons lived mainly on beech nuts, acorns, and chestnuts. In summer, they also prey on soft fruits such as berries and invertebrates. Passenger pigeons were also famous as migratory birds. Their summer nesting grounds range from New York to the Great Lakes area, and their wintering grounds move to Mexico. Because they moved in such large numbers, it was said that even the local people were blocked from sunlight and the sky became dark. The breeding season is once a year, and the number of eggs per egg is only one, so it is a bird with a very low reproductive capacity.

Why did the passenger pigeon become extinct?

The passenger pigeon in North America has already become extinct. All that remains is the stuffed specimen. So why did it become extinct in the first place? I will explain the reasons for this based on records and information from the time.

Overfishing by humans

Passenger pigeons were originally eaten by Native Americans as meat. However, because the indigenous people took precautions such as refraining from hunting pigeons during the breeding season, they did not become extinct. However, the situation changed when Europeans settled in modern times. When white settlers began to settle in earnest in the 19th century, they began to hunt not only pigeons but also American bison and pronghorn. This is where the tragedy began.

excessive hunting

Humans forced the Indians onto reservations and began hunting them as they pleased. Overhunting began for the purpose of collecting feathers for meat, feed, and bedding material. The number of passenger pigeons has plummeted and continues to decline, and even their chicks are being overhunted. In 1878, nearly one billion passenger pigeons were slaughtered in Michigan. By the end of the 19th century, it was almost extinct. At that time, there were attempts to seek protection, but they were ignored.

Destroyed by forest development

This was further exacerbated by deforestation and land development by humans. Passenger pigeons used to live in forests because they had the property of resting on perches, but with the disappearance of forests, they began to appear on the ground in residential areas, and the negative cycle continued as they were hunted. Martha, a female, was the last survivor at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio in 1910. However, in 1914, he died of old age and was declared extinct.

Towards a revival after 100 years?

In 2012, a group of scientists launched a research project to clone the passenger pigeon, with the aim of genetically engineering a bird with the same traits as the extinct passenger pigeon. Ben Novak’s group at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is working to extract DNA from specimens of passenger pigeons in an effort to revive the species.


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