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John James Audubon
Tale of passenger pigeon extinction may have had natural twist
Tale of passenger pigeon extinction may have had natural twist

One hundred years ago in September, Martha the passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo. She was the last of a North American species whose population once had numbered in the billions. Naturalist John James Audubon once described a mile-wide migratory flock that darkened the Kentucky skies for days in 1813 -- and brought the Louisville population to the banks of the Ohio River with their guns. Even discounting for artistic license, that’s a lot of birds. The extinction of Ectopistes migratorius, punctuated by Martha’s demise, has become a lesson taught in generations of ecology courses about what happens when humans over-hunt animals and destroy their habitat. The...

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