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Earth Science

Humans Not Solely To Blame For Passenger Pigeon Extinction 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes When the last passenger pigeon died at a zoo in 1914, the species became a cautionary tale of the dramatic impact humans can have on the world. But a new study finds that the bird experienced multiple population booms and crashes over the million years before its final demise. The sensitivity of the population to natural fluctuations, the authors argue, could have been what made it so vulnerable to extinction.
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Humans Not Solely To Blame For Passenger Pigeon Extinction

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  • by tomhath (637240) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:32PM (#47250223)
    Passenger pigeons had a unique roosting and nesting technique. They formed huge flocks in trees near a food source and stayed there while raising their young. When market hunters found a roost they would wait until night when the tree was full of birds and blast away with shotguns, killing thousands and destroying the nests. As the population declined there were fewer and fewer of those mass nesting sites, but when one was found it was eliminated. Eventually there weren't enough birds to form a proper colony and they couldn't nest anymore.

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