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Formerly an abundant migrant, and probably a locally common breeder. Atkinson (1905) noted that it was a “tolerably common” summer resident of wooded regions, its range extended north of Lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg, with sporadic sightings around Hudson Bay at York Factory and possibly Churchill. Nesting localities include the Red River Valley, Ossowa (near Poplar Point), Portage la Prairie, the Waterhen and Shell Rivers, and probably Carberry. Houston and Bechard (1987) cited egg records for Oak Lake and the southwest shore of Lake Manitoba The pigeons fed extensively on acorns and wild berries in Manitoba, but also became significant agricultural pests. A marked decline was noted by 1870 and the species last came to the province in force in 1878.
Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
iLate specimens were taken at Carberry in 1883 and Winnipeg in 1892 and 1894. The last confirmed record was an oft-cited specimen shot at Winnepegosis on a date variously reported as April 13 or 14 1898 (G. Walz in The Birds of Manitoba, 2003)
Places Likely Named for Passenger Pigeon:
There are at least three places in Manitoba with pigeon in the name:
Pigeon Lake, small populated area on Pigeon Lake near Winnipeg.
Pigeon Lake, a small body of water near Winnipeg.
Pigeon River, a river that courses from Lake Winnipeg to Hudson Bay.
The species was sufficiently abundant near the south end of Lake Winnipeg to furnish a subsistence diet for Aboriginal people in summer, between the spring sturgeon runs and the fall wild-rice harvests.
Manitoba Locations known to have Passenger Pigeon Skins, Mounts, and or Skeletons:
1) *The Manitoba Museum
2) University of Manitoba.
* If an asterisk appears, at least one passenger pigeon is known to be on display; this list is mainly based on Hahn's Where is That Vanished Bird (1963). Please let us know any changes including additional locations and or birds on display; name changes of institution; if birds are no longer present; etc).
Read Fascinating Historical Accounts of the Passenger Pigeon in Manitoba
Wisconsin’s A.W. [Bill] Schorger (1884-1972) spent many years researching the history of the Passenger Pigeon, and he summarized his findings in his 1955 book, The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction. At the time of its publication, the book was the most comprehensive account of the species. Schorger did an excellent job summarizing the nearly 10,000 historical records he discovered in libraries and historical societies around the country, but his original research notes contain many additional details.
For the 2014 centennial, Professor Stanley Temple of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has made all Schorger’s handwritten research notes available in digital form. This link will take you to a table that provides details of all the historical records Bill Schorger discovered for Manitoba. [Schorger-MB.pdf]
These links will take you to a table that provides details of all the historical records Bill Schorger recorded for Canada [Schorger-Canada.pdf] and France. [Schorger-France.pdf]
Read Historical Accounts from Shorger's Original Field Notes about the Passenger Pigeon in Manitoba
These sources are newly available on the Passenger Pigeon site (as of January 25, 2014). The links below give access to often-firsthand, eyewitness accounts of pigeons, the table includes a cross reference to the exact page in Schorger’s notes where you can read the full text of the account and find a citation of the original source document. All these historical documents are in PDF format in sizes ranging from 24mb - 60mb. These documents will open in their own window. Use the links below to find the page containing the account you’re interested in exploring further:
Schorger pages 1-329
Schorger pages 330-632
Schorger pages 633-959
Schorger pages 960-1242
Schorger pages 1243-1585
Schorger pages 1586-1890
Schorger pages 1891-2232
Schorger pages 2233-2556
_________________ Your text contributions on passenger pigeons
in the U.S. or Canada are welcome. Email your text notes to us. Include: first and last name, and the State or Province you reference in the Subject Line. (Return to Home Page Map of Project Passenger Pigeon)
(Return to Home Page Map of Project Passenger Pigeon)