“I dismounted, seated myself on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time, finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable as the birds poured in in countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I traveled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse; the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose... Before sunset I reached Louisville, distance from Hardensburgh fifty-five miles. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers, and continued to do so for three days in succession.”So many pigeons resulted in a food source for many people. By the mid-nineteenth century overhunting and habitat destruction were noticeably impacting the pigeon population. The Ohio State Legislature considered a bill protecting the pigeon in 1857, but it failed to pass. By 1886 Pennsylvania had passed legislation limiting hunting; Michigan did the same in 1897, eight years after the last known pigeon died in that state.
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