Fall of passenger pigeons could loom over others

One bird species to die out in modern times is passenger pigeons.  They are no more here to darken the skies with their gray plumage. These pigeon with pointy beak could fly at 100 km/h, quite an amazing feat.

Scientists are at a loss to explain what went wrong for them. At their peak there were about 3 to 5 billion birds in North America. They were so widespread that people took them for granted.  Passenger pigeons (Ectopistesmigratorius) mainly inhabited in forests of eastern North America.

They bred primarily around the Great Lakes, says one study.  Earlier accounts say that the bird flew in enormous flocks, migrating to distant places in search food, shelter and breeding grounds. However, starting from 1800 through 1870, their numbers began to decline.  The last bird is believed to have been shot dead in 1901. A combination of reasons including human hunting led to their die-out. Native Americans, according to a study, depended largely on them for food. Hunting might have accelerated their vanishing. Passenger pigeons’ die-out is a bad omen for other species on the brink.