16 May 2014

Wild Pigeon Roost at Rand-Hill

The following item is from the Cottage Gazette, published at Plattsburg, N.Y., will give our readers some idea of the abundance of wild pigeons in that neighborhood, this season:

"From a correspondence in the Republican, we learn it has been calculated that nearly one million pigeons passed into Beekmantown this season, in two days, the flock covering some four or five miles in length. Their roost on Rand-Hill extended in the forest some six miles in length, and from one to two miles in width, each tree containing between twenty and eighty nests. Companies of pigeon-catchers came from Massachusetts and other places, and over 150,000 dozen were sent to the city markets. The Harris Co., from Mass., caught and dressed 4000 dozen. Not less than 700 bushels of grain were used for baiting and other purposes, and from 31 to 56 cents per dozen were paid for live pigeons, and eight cents for dressing them.

"The largest haul was made by Charles Brown, of Mass. He took 1200 at one time and Mr. Harris netted 85 dozen at another. Sportsmen went in on their own hook also, one man having shot 20 dozen in one day with a rifle. The noise made by the birds in the vicinity of the encampment was so great that one could not hear another person speak five yards distant. The ground was literally covered with egg shells for acres and acres around. They disappeared on the 17th of July, taking flight across the lake over the forest north of Vermont, and toward Maine.

"We may add that their flight over this village continued several days before their departure for the east. The line would begin at day-break, flock after flock coming from over the camp-grounds, where hunters would give them shots, sending them along to river to the bridge in this place, from which a salute would be given, to be followed by another from the island below the marble factory, and then by a general volley from on the banks in front of Messrs. Sauly and Swetland. The poor birds would be completely bewildered by this warm reception, wheeling about, throwing themselves into trees or perching on chimnies. They must have thought they were sent for."

September 25, 1851. Wild pigeons. Lehigh Register 5(51): 3.