The passenger pigeon or wild pigeon, scientifically known as Ectopistes migratorius, was a bird found in North America. The species is now extinct from the world. They were once the most compactly distributed birds inhabiting the east of Rocky Mountains. The flocks they made, might be the largest flock of the world, was a mile wide and up to 300 miles long. They shadowed the areas under them for many hours.
The appearance of Passenger pigeon was similar to the Mourning Dove. Blue coloring in head and rump, scarlet eyes, gray colored black and wine red colored breasts added beauty to its looks. Surprisingly the males had farer and brighter coloring than females. They were graceful, long tailed and moved very fast in the sky. The whole body and the bird itself were made for flight. Scientists believe that it could reach an amazing speed of 60-70 miles per hour or even more than that. The average weight of these pigeons was 340-400 grams. They measured about 42 cm (males) and 38 cm (females) long. Helping in the flight the tail was up to 22 cm long. The tail was colored blackish with white edges.
During 19th century these birds’ population ranged from 1 to 4 billion. The extinction of this species is the most terrible example of mass slaughter in the wildlife history. By netting and hunting they were sold commercially all over the world and once the meat became popular the hunting increased. One other main reason behind the extinction of this species was deforestation. Also alcohol-soaked grain contaminated and poisoned the birds and made them easier to kill. Man used smoky fires to the nesting trees to drive them from their nests. Conservation efforts were poor and didn’t help in stopping the slaughter of these birds.