Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Passenger Pigeon - Ectopistes migratorius
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General Comments The extinction of this once abundant species is arguably the gloomiest story in the history of bird conservation on the planet. Hunters shot large numbers of Passenger Pigeons from the sky in the 1800's, and destruction of forests was another factor leading to its demise, as this pigeon nested in large colonies, unlike most other pigeons and doves. The last state records were in Raleigh in 1891 and in Weaverville (Buncombe) in 1894; the last of the species died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. In North Carolina, it was an abundant transient in the mountains and Piedmont, and less so in the Coastal Plain. It wintered to some extent in the state, but most of the pigeons wintered from South Carolina southward. The breeding range was somewhat to the north of the state, as well.
Breeding Status Extinct; Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SX
Global Rank GX
Coastal Plain No recent records (see above).
Piedmont No recent records (see above).
Mountains No recent records (see above).
Finding Tips
Attribution LeGrand[2012-06-24], LeGrand[2011-12-07], LeGrand[2011-07-08]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.