Marker 195: The Passenger Pigeon

Erected 1973 by Wisconsin Historical Society
Black River Falls, Jackson County, Wisconsin
44° 14.85′ N, 90° 44.281′ W

Huge flocks of passenger pigeons once roamed North America. Larger than the mourning dove which it resembled, the passenger pigeon derived its name from an Indian word meaning "wanderer" or one who moves from place to place. Flying at a normal speed of sixty miles per hour, the pigeon moved hundreds of miles in migration and 50-100 miles a day during the nesting season, searching for food.

The largest nesting on record anywhere occurred in this area in 1871. The nesting ground covered 850 square miles with an estimated 136,000,000 pigeons. John Muir described the passenger pigeons in flight, "I have seen flocks streaming south in the fall so large that they were flowing from horizon to horizon in an almost continuous stream all day long."

Many reasons have been given for the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Each year millions were trapped, clubbed, or shot for food and pleasure. The last known passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo in 1914.
Marker is at Rest Area 54 on westbound Interstate 94, W8600 Interstate 94, Black River Falls, Wisconsin 54615.

The Last Passenger Pigeon Died 100 Years Ago (September 1, 1914)

Project Passenger Pigeon: Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

Chipper Woods Bird Observatory: Passenger Pigeon

Experience the roar and darkness of a flock of passenger pigeons overhead,
a simulation from The Lost Bird Project.

The marker is to the right.

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