Passenger Pigeons in North Louisiana

This drawing: https://louisianadigitallibrary.org/islandora/object/subr-hwj%3A376 puts a lump in my throat. This illustrates men hunting on the D.A. Breard plantation, one mile north of Monroe in 1875. What they are shooting at is the “Wild Pigeon”, aka the now extinct Passenger Pigeon. They never thought that they were driving the Passenger Pigeon to extinction. Shooting them was considered a sport. They were so numerous that their flocks would darken the sky for hours as they passed. Wow. This is the description that was found with it:

This sketch is taken on Mr. D.A. Beard’s plantation, on the Ouachita River, one mile above Monroe, La., gives a correct representation of the immense flocks of wild pigeons to be found in that neighborhood. At some of the pigeon-roosts in this vicinity the birds congregate in incredible numbers, the weight of the immense flocks frequently breaking and twisting the limbs of the forest trees as if a hurricane had passed through the woods. Sallying out from their resting-place, they move through the air in compact form, wheeling and twisting in graceful and undulating lines, which resemble the coils of a gigantic serpent. They fly with inconceivable velocity, every one striving to be ahead, and produce a noise similar to that made by a gale at sea passing through the rigging of a close-reefed vessel. As the torrent rolls along, the gunners keep up a continued fire upon the flying birds, and but little skill is required to soon obtain a game-bag well filled.

Addendum: A colored version can be found on Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_pigeon#/media/File:Passenger_pigeon_shoot.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s