A sad 100th anniversary tomorrow. On September 1, 1914, the last passenger pigeon in the world, Martha, died in the Cincinnati Zoo; her death cemented the extinction of the passenger pigeon species, whose population numbers were once in the billions.
“The number of pigeons [at Clarendon, Vt.] was immense . . . For an hundred acres together, the ground was covered with their dung, to the dept of two inches. Their noise in the evening was extremely troublesome, and so great that the traveler could not get any sleep, where their nests were thick. About two hours after sunrise, they rose in such numbers as to darken the air.”
-William Samuel, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794.