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5 billion to one - a tale of extinction





truespeed
I was watching a programme on TV the other night,about a bird called the passenger pigeon,in the 19th century this was the most common bird in the united states,its numbers were believed to be about 5 billion,and it would fly in flocks of hundreds of millions blackening the skys with their numbers as they flew across. A single flock could take several days to pass over you.

A bird of so many numbers surely couldnt become extinct ,could they? Well that is what happened to the passenger pigeon,in the space of just over a hundred years it went from 5 billion birds ,to one,the last one named martha died in 1914.

How did this happen? the simple answer is over hunting, (although other factors like deforestation also had an effect) ,their meat was a cheap food source in the 19th century. The reason that they were so easily hunted was that ,all the hunters had to do was tie a passenger pigeon to a stool (this is where the phrase stool pigeon originated from) ,the pigeon would cry out and all the rest of the flock would fly to its calls,making them sitting ducks for the gunmen,and they would keep on coming and coming until the gunmen ran of of ammunition.

So a species as many in number as there are people on the planet was wiped out in just over 100 years.
corridor_writers
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.
Moonspider
corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.


With the significant exception that the American Bison is not extinct. It is not even an endangered species. Fortunately immediate action in the 19th Century prevented that from happening.

On a side note, their meat is leaner than chicken. Wink

Respectfully,
M
poly
interesting story.. I m happy there are some institutions today that try to prevent things like that to happen today..
scrub
corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.


And for the salmon. Of course, the extermination of both the buffalo and the salmon was motivated in part by desire for genocide. Native Americans ate buffalo and salmon as staple foods, so to eradicate the Native Americans, whites implemented a deliberate policy of eliminating their food sources. Way to kill two birds with one stone! (Or a buffalo and an Injun with one bullet!)

Scrub
Moonspider
scrub wrote:
corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.


And for the salmon. Of course, the extermination of both the buffalo and the salmon was motivated in part by desire for genocide. Native Americans ate buffalo and salmon as staple foods, so to eradicate the Native Americans, whites implemented a deliberate policy of eliminating their food sources. Way to kill two birds with one stone! (Or a buffalo and an Injun with one bullet!)

Scrub


Is it me, or don't I still eat buffalo and salmon? Wink
corridor_writers
Moonspider wrote:
scrub wrote:
corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.


And for the salmon. Of course, the extermination of both the buffalo and the salmon was motivated in part by desire for genocide. Native Americans ate buffalo and salmon as staple foods, so to eradicate the Native Americans, whites implemented a deliberate policy of eliminating their food sources. Way to kill two birds with one stone! (Or a buffalo and an Injun with one bullet!)

Scrub


Is it me, or don't I still eat buffalo and salmon? Wink


Yes, you are correct. All three stories started out the same (mass quantaties hunted to the brink of extinction) but only the carrier pigeon ended with complete extinction. It is a small consolation that the American people "pulled their heads out" and took steps to save the Salmon and Bison before they befell a similar fate.
liljp617
Was talking about this in class the other day.
amicalindia
Americans !!!


corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.
dac_nip
interesting story!
corridor_writers
amicalindia wrote:
Americans !!!
corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.


Um....I am not sure what you are implying.....but you should not assume my nationality. I think you will find yourself mistaken. Smile
thinkfacility
I never realized just how many of those birds used to exist. Luckily salmon weren't hunted to extinction, they're delicious!

Does anybody know the fate of the dodo bird? I heard that they were even easier to hunt, and tasted good too.
Billy Hill
Along with the blanket in the sky, there was a blanket on the ground. Of poop. Bird poop. Inches thick. It was likely no accident that those birds were eradicated.
corridor_writers
Billy Hill wrote:
Along with the blanket in the sky, there was a blanket on the ground. Of poop. Bird poop. Inches thick. It was likely no accident that those birds were eradicated.


Hence the invention of the wide-rimmed hat? Wink
polygon
Wasn't the passenger pigeon used to send messages in WWII? The Japanese were able to decode our radio messages so we resorted to pigeons! Don't you think that it is mean to overhunt such a helpful bird to extinction? I do.
truespeed
polygon wrote:
Wasn't the passenger pigeon used to send messages in WWII? The Japanese were able to decode our radio messages so we resorted to pigeons! Don't you think that it is mean to overhunt such a helpful bird to extinction? I do.


The last passenger pigeon died in 1914,25 years before the outbreak of WW2.


I think you may be referring to carrier pigeons.
lagoon
Well, that's 'Survival of the Fittest' for you.
Vladalf
I was amazed too when I read about this on Wikipedia how no thinking can bring a whole kind of birds extinct...

-Vladalf
Moshkin_Khan
thinkfacility wrote:
Does anybody know the fate of the dodo bird? I heard that they were even easier to hunt, and tasted good too.


It was somewhere like Malaysia I believe, When the first boats arrived, the Dodo bird had no predator, They were used to just roaming around carelessly. This made them great catch, as you could basically walk up to them and kill them. There curiosity got the better of them and eventually they were all eaten.
mattyj
thinkfacility wrote:
I never realized just how many of those birds used to exist. Luckily salmon weren't hunted to extinction, they're delicious!

Does anybody know the fate of the dodo bird? I heard that they were even easier to hunt, and tasted good too.


Moshkin_Khan wrote:
It was somewhere like Malaysia I believe, When the first boats arrived, the Dodo bird had no predator, They were used to just roaming around carelessly. This made them great catch, as you could basically walk up to them and kill them. There curiosity got the better of them and eventually they were all eaten.


Good lord, if youre going to answer a question at least get your facts right.

The Dodo was a flightless bird from Mauritius...And apparently the meat tasted horrible, they were just fun to hunt...and easy too
deanhills
Guess all the species are weakening, thanks to the destruction of the environment by humans Sad So wonder if we keep this up, whether there will be other species that would be stronger than humans, surviving us? Maybe cockroaches? Wink
lagoon
mattyj wrote:
thinkfacility wrote:
I never realized just how many of those birds used to exist. Luckily salmon weren't hunted to extinction, they're delicious!

Does anybody know the fate of the dodo bird? I heard that they were even easier to hunt, and tasted good too.


Moshkin_Khan wrote:
It was somewhere like Malaysia I believe, When the first boats arrived, the Dodo bird had no predator, They were used to just roaming around carelessly. This made them great catch, as you could basically walk up to them and kill them. There curiosity got the better of them and eventually they were all eaten.


Good lord, if youre going to answer a question at least get your facts right.

The Dodo was a flightless bird from Mauritius...And apparently the meat tasted horrible, they were just fun to hunt...and easy too


I'm quite sure the taste is a matter of opinion.
mattyj
lagoon wrote:
mattyj wrote:
thinkfacility wrote:
I never realized just how many of those birds used to exist. Luckily salmon weren't hunted to extinction, they're delicious!

Does anybody know the fate of the dodo bird? I heard that they were even easier to hunt, and tasted good too.


Moshkin_Khan wrote:
It was somewhere like Malaysia I believe, When the first boats arrived, the Dodo bird had no predator, They were used to just roaming around carelessly. This made them great catch, as you could basically walk up to them and kill them. There curiosity got the better of them and eventually they were all eaten.


Good lord, if youre going to answer a question at least get your facts right.

The Dodo was a flightless bird from Mauritius...And apparently the meat tasted horrible, they were just fun to hunt...and easy too


I'm quite sure the taste is a matter of opinion.


Well considering the dutch called it "walghvogel" meaning Loathsome Bird because of its taste, i think its pretty certain it didnt taste very good
manlear
truespeed wrote:
I was watching a programme on TV the other night,about a bird called the passenger pigeon,in the 19th century this was the most common bird in the united states,its numbers were believed to be about 5 billion,and it would fly in flocks of hundreds of millions blackening the skys with their numbers as they flew across. A single flock could take several days to pass over you.

A bird of so many numbers surely couldnt become extinct ,could they? Well that is what happened to the passenger pigeon,in the space of just over a hundred years it went from 5 billion birds ,to one,the last one named martha died in 1914.

How did this happen? the simple answer is over hunting, (although other factors like deforestation also had an effect) ,their meat was a cheap food source in the 19th century. The reason that they were so easily hunted was that ,all the hunters had to do was tie a passenger pigeon to a stool (this is where the phrase stool pigeon originated from) ,the pigeon would cry out and all the rest of the flock would fly to its calls,making them sitting ducks for the gunmen,and they would keep on coming and coming until the gunmen ran of of ammunition.

So a species as many in number as there are people on the planet was wiped out in just over 100 years.


Very interesting. I have NEVER heard of these birds before. Its sad that they ate bird meat though... i mean... up until like the mid 1800's there were buffalo. And there is still cows. Why don't they hunt dogs? there are at least 5billion of them. And most are stray >.>
deanhills
I find it pretty amazing that the Passenger Pigeon should become extinct, and obviously we are sad about that, and the common pigeons that are really a menace, pooping all over statues, gutters of buildings, balconies etc, and are also a health hazard, should be so populous! Nature really does not make sense in this regard ... Smile
manlear
Ive never seen a pigeon before in my life. I live in the country....
slashnburn99
we have loads of pigeons in uk,

5 billion make a hell of a mess, i would imagine

lame way to catch them
deanhills
scrub wrote:
corridor_writers wrote:
Pigeons and Buffalo

A similar story could be told of the north American buffalo.


And for the salmon. Of course, the extermination of both the buffalo and the salmon was motivated in part by desire for genocide. Native Americans ate buffalo and salmon as staple foods, so to eradicate the Native Americans, whites implemented a deliberate policy of eliminating their food sources. Way to kill two birds with one stone! (Or a buffalo and an Injun with one bullet!)

Scrub
Ahaaaa ..... so that is why they are farming artificial salmon (that have parasites in them), so that they can kill the people who killed the salmon and buffalo to kill the Native Americans ... Shocked Laughing

You were joking scrub, weren't you? Smile

Back to the topic:

truespeed wrote:
I was watching a programme on TV the other night,about a bird called the passenger pigeon,in the 19th century this was the most common bird in the united states,its numbers were believed to be about 5 billion,and it would fly in flocks of hundreds of millions blackening the skys with their numbers as they flew across. A single flock could take several days to pass over you.
There were so many birds that went this way, like the dodo, but yes, it just feels so much sadder, as the passenger pigeons were hard-working and just wonderful birds. There are so many others on the extinction list. Wikipedia has a list of some.

Quote:
Since 1500, over 190 species of birds have become extinct, and this rate of extinction seems to be increasing. The situation is exemplified by Hawaii, where 30% of all known recently extinct bird taxa originally lived. Other areas, such as Guam, have also been hit hard; Guam has lost over 60% of its native bird taxa in the last 30 years, many of them due to the introduced Brown Tree Snake.

There are today about 10,000 species of birds, with roughly 1,200 considered to be under threat of extinction.


Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extinct_birds

Passenger Pigeon drawing from Wikipedia
lagoon
In the United Kingdom, we routinely have to kill pigeons because they're such a nuisance.

Could they reach the same fate...?
supernova1987a
truespeed wrote:
I was watching a programme on TV the other night,about a bird called the passenger pigeon,in the 19th century this was the most common bird in the united states,its numbers were believed to be about 5 billion,and it would fly in flocks of hundreds of millions blackening the skys with their numbers as they flew across. A single flock could take several days to pass over you.

A bird of so many numbers surely couldnt become extinct ,could they? Well that is what happened to the passenger pigeon,in the space of just over a hundred years it went from 5 billion birds ,to one,the last one named martha died in 1914.

How did this happen? the simple answer is over hunting, (although other factors like deforestation also had an effect) ,their meat was a cheap food source in the 19th century. The reason that they were so easily hunted was that ,all the hunters had to do was tie a passenger pigeon to a stool (this is where the phrase stool pigeon originated from) ,the pigeon would cry out and all the rest of the flock would fly to its calls,making them sitting ducks for the gunmen,and they would keep on coming and coming until the gunmen ran of of ammunition.

So a species as many in number as there are people on the planet was wiped out in just over 100 years.


Humans need to control all of their activities. If they don't they are no different from animals.
socceraggie
truespeed wrote:
I was watching a programme on TV the other night,about a bird called the passenger pigeon,in the 19th century this was the most common bird in the united states,its numbers were believed to be about 5 billion,and it would fly in flocks of hundreds of millions blackening the skys with their numbers as they flew across. A single flock could take several days to pass over you.

A bird of so many numbers surely couldnt become extinct ,could they? Well that is what happened to the passenger pigeon,in the space of just over a hundred years it went from 5 billion birds ,to one,the last one named martha died in 1914.

How did this happen? the simple answer is over hunting, (although other factors like deforestation also had an effect) ,their meat was a cheap food source in the 19th century. The reason that they were so easily hunted was that ,all the hunters had to do was tie a passenger pigeon to a stool (this is where the phrase stool pigeon originated from) ,the pigeon would cry out and all the rest of the flock would fly to its calls,making them sitting ducks for the gunmen,and they would keep on coming and coming until the gunmen ran of of ammunition.

So a species as many in number as there are people on the planet was wiped out in just over 100 years.


That is a fascinating history lesson. I think there are a lot of take-aways from this story. How can we do a better job of protecting our planet? How do we educate people so they don't want to destroy an entire species? I think the most important message here is that our planet is fragile but life still goes on. If a creature higher on the food chain from us came along, it wouldn't be the end of life, just the end of human life.
jilbs
Sad sad.. with the increasing rate of environmental destruction, future generation will only see endangered animals in the book.
ajitha999
what good intrasting story Confused Confused
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