15 May 2014

Communications - The Wild Pigeon

It is well known that the wild pigeon is a bird of passage, and that it frequents these parts regularly twice every year. In the spring, large flocks come from the south, and disperse amongst the uplands and mountains in the northern parts of this and the neighboring states; where they hatch and rear their young; and in the autumn, they collect together again, and with their young proceed to the south. They cannot well stand the cold, nor subsist upon the buds of trees as other birds indigenous to these northern climes; and of course are obliged to emigrate to a warmer climate when the weather becomes cold and the ground is covered with snow. Extraordinary, however, as it may seem, it is a fact, that since the first of the present month, large flocks of these birds have appeared amongst us, and have scattered themselves as usual throughout the woods. Great numbers of them have been taken with nets in the upper part of New Jersey, and one of the markets in this city has for several days past been supplied with them. An old farmer who had taken 300 and carried most of them to market, told me that they appeared in general to come from the southwest : that they were very fat, and continued in the woods where he lived, subsisting chiefly upon the frozen acorns, found upon the branches of the oak. he says they are very wild, that he recollects but one instance of the kind happening before during all his life; and that was on a Christmas many years ago, when he also caught a great number of them. A curious question then arises, what could induce these harmless birds, contrary to their nature and custom, to pay us a visit at this inclement season of the year?

January 25, 1815. Communications. The wild pigeon. Columbian 6(1605): 2.