23 June 2012

A Singular Bird Killed in Kentucky

James Henry, of Mound City, Illinois, on Sunday week, shot a new and comparatively unknown bird, on the Kentucky shore opposite that city, which is thus described by the Cairo Democrat:

It is larger than the ostrich, and weighs 104 pounds. The body of this wonderful bird is covered with snow white down, and its head is of a fiery red. The wings of deep black, measure 15 feet from tip to tip, and the bill, of a yellow color, 24 inches. Its legs are slender and sinewy, pea green in color, and measure 48 inches in length. One of the feet resembles that of a duck, and the other that of a turkey. Mr. Henry shot it a distance of one hundred yards, from the topmost branch of a dead tree, where it was perched, preying upon a full-sized sheep that it had carried from the ground. This strange species of bird, which is said to have existed extensively during the days of the mastodon, is almost entirely extinct — the last one having been seen in the State of New York, during the year 1812. Potter has it on exhibition in his office, at Mound City. Its flight across the town and river was witnessed by hundreds of citizens.

September 22, 1868. Federal Union 39(8): 4.