Habitat and Distribution
The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was native to
the deciduous forests of North America. It made its home in oak and
beech trees from Montana to Southern Ontario and as far north as
Nova Scotia down to Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Georgia.
Citation: Data provided by
NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature
Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS,
World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."
The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was given its name
partially for its migratory behavior. Passenger pigeons migrated in
enormous flocks sometimes containing hundreds of thousands of birds.
When large flocks flew by they often darkened the sky for hours to
days. The passenger pigeons moved to the north every year in early
March and then headed back south at the first sign of cold in the fall.
They moved from one area to the next very rapidly. It was estimated
that they flew in irregular shaped flocks at speeds up to 60 miles per
hour. Their speed often caused a cool wind on the land as they passed
overhead. Passenger pigeon flocks did not have a definite leader so they
chose nesting areas based on
food supply. The flocks did not fly at one
particular height; it varied based on the weather and landscape of the
earth. The flocks sometimes crossed bodies of water but always very
reluctantly because of fog. If there was heavy fog in the area the
pigeons would become confused of their direction, drown, and then be
found the next day dead on the shore. The migration pattern of the
passenger pigeon made the event unforgettable for all of those who