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THE PASSENGER PIGEON






This memorial, dedicated on October 12, 1947 by The Boy Scouts of America, Conewago District,
was placed at that time in the nearby Pigeon Hills just north of Hanover, PA.
In 1981 it was destroyed by vandals. A similar memorial (above) was built and dedicated September 12, 1982,
now overlooking beautiful Lake Marburg in Codorus State Park.

Perhaps the most powerful phrase from the above inscription on the monument reads
".....once so plentiful it's numbers darkened the skies."
Hard to believe, yet early explorers from as far back as the 16th century reported flocks of "Wild Pigeons",
as some called them, numbering in the billions. That's nine zeroes.
Hardly anyone alive today would have witnessed this phenomenon since the last Passenger Pigeon,
named Martha, died 93 years ago at the age of 19 in the Cincinnati Zoo.

One can hardly imagine how in the span of a few hundred years, that many birds could become an extinct species.
Perhaps there is no one reason for their demise, rather a complex of many. It is known that millions were shot
and shipped to markets for consumption. Eggs and nests were destroyed by humans who thought of them as pests,
even adverse weather conditions may have been a factor.
Whatever the reasons, we should be reminded how fragile nature can be.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our generation and many generations in the future could have had the opportunity to see this beautiful bird?


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