19 January 2013

Wild Pigeons in Western New-York

A Roost Near Coopers, on the Line of the Erie Railway.

There are countless millions of pigeons to be found within 100 miles of this city. The country lying between the main line of the Erie Railroad from Corning to Buffalo, and the Rochester branch from Corning to Avon, is literally alive with the birds. Their roosting-place is situated in a wild mountainous region west of Coopers, N.Y., a few miles this side of Corning, and embraces a tract of land from seven to ten miles square, heavily timbered, and unbroken by clearings or highways, from which they issue at daylight and scatter over the country for many miles in search of their food, which consists principally of acorns. The birds made their appearance near Coopers about three weeks ago, and have advanced further west daily, until they now fly as far west as Springwater. During the present week they will in all probability be found at all points along the Genesee Valley and scattered over the surrounding country, and there is a prospect that a considerable number of the birds will build their nests and breed in this county and those adjoining. At present the easiest way to bag them is to go to Coopers, Curtis, Campbells, or Savona and choose an elevated position directly in the line of flight and shoot as the immense flocks come surging past. This plan gives an opportunity to shoot in the morning as the birds fly to the feeding grounds, and again at night as they return to roost, and avoids the fatigue of climbing the high, rough, wooded hills in which the birds feed during the day.

The writer took a trip to Campbells last week, made big bags, and never had more enjoyment crowded into a two days' trip. The birds fly over the western side of the valley in the morning and go back on the eastern side at night, flying just above the tree tops as they pass up and down the mountains. Opposite the village of Campbells are three high hills; on the top of the centre one our party took up a position, and when the flight commenced, about 5:30 P.M., we could not load and fire fast enough to take the flocks as they charged upon us like the waves of the ocean. The flight lasted an hour. From our elevated position we commanded a view of the country for ten or twelve miles in length and five or six in width, and for the entire distance immense flocks could be seen stretching out in long lines until lost in the distance. When nearing the "roost" several flocks arriving simultaneously would sweep together into one immense flock and alight in the trees in a thick mass, seemingly covering an acre or more. Several trappers are endeavoring to ascertain the exact location of the feeding ground, for the purpose of catching the birds with nets, but as yet have not come far enough west to meet with success.

April 28, 1875. Pigeons in western New-York. New York Times. From the Rochester Democrat, April 26.