18 May 2014

Poisoned Flesh of Wild Pigeons

A gentleman, who thoroughly understands whereof he speaks, has written a letter to the New York papers concerning the poisoned flesh of wild pigeons. He writes from East Saginaw, Michigan, and says: "The pigeons are nesting in large numbers in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. They are attracted there by the vast swamps of the Rhododendron or calico bush, commonly known as the poison laurel, a species of oleander, almost identical with the sweet bay tree. The unusually mild winter has swelled and developed the buds prematurely, and the pigeons are feeding upon the, This diet impregnates their flesh with a subtle poison, and numerous dangerous and fatal cases are being daily reported from eating them. The wild pigeons are being caught in nets and shipped east in vast numbers, and you will doubtless save hundreds of lives by warning the public against eating any wild pigeons until after the middle of June. I was formerly analyst for manufacturing chemists, and I have no doubt that the recent cases are directly traceable to eating pigeons."

April 24, 1878. Indiana State Sentinel 17(36): 2.