On the bluff overlooking a river valley where the Wisconsin River spills into the Mississippi River, sets a monument to the last Wisconsin passenger pigeon who was shot in 1899 rending the species extinct in the wild.
early 1800s, the passenger pigeon, an elegant bird with a 16-inch-long tail and
an iridescent plumage, numbered in the billions. Between 1866 and 1876, more than
12,000,000 brooding pigeons were killed, which resulted in the starvation of
6,000,000 nestlings. Over a five-year period in Petoskey, Michigan, more than
50,000 pigeons were killed each day, obliterating one of the bird’s largest
nesting sites. Why the interest in pigeons?
Food—squab had found its way to
restaurants and dinner tables in the Midwest and eastern states.
Martha, the last passenger pigeon believed to be alive, died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914. She was stuffed and sent to the Smithsonian where she was on display until 1999.