A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction

A Feathered River Across the Sky The Passenger Pigeon s Flight to Extinction In the early nineteenth century to percent of North America s birds were passenger pigeons traveling in flocks so massive as to block out the sun for hours or even days The down beats of their

  • Title: A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction
  • Author: Joel Greenberg
  • ISBN: 9781620405345
  • Page: 469
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the early nineteenth century 25 to 40 percent of North America s birds were passenger pigeons, traveling in flocks so massive as to block out the sun for hours or even days The down beats of their wings would chill the air beneath and create a thundering roar that would drown out all other sound Feeding flocks would appear as a blue wave four or five feet high rollinIn the early nineteenth century 25 to 40 percent of North America s birds were passenger pigeons, traveling in flocks so massive as to block out the sun for hours or even days The down beats of their wings would chill the air beneath and create a thundering roar that would drown out all other sound Feeding flocks would appear as a blue wave four or five feet high rolling toward you John James Audubon, impressed by their speed and agility, said a lone passenger pigeon streaking through the forest passes like a thought How prophetic for although a billion pigeons crossed the skies 80 miles from Toronto in May of 1860, little than fifty years later passenger pigeons were extinct The last of the species, Martha, died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.As naturalist Joel Greenberg relates in gripping detail, the pigeons propensity to nest, roost, and fly together in vast numbers made them vulnerable to unremitting market and recreational hunting The spread of railroads and telegraph lines created national markets that allowed the birds to be pursued relentlessly Passenger pigeons inspired awe in the likes of Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, James Feni Cooper, and others, but no serious effort was made to protect the species until it was way too late Greenberg s beautifully written story of the passenger pigeon provides a cautionary tale of what happens when species and natural resources are not harvested sustainably.

    • Ä A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction || ✓ PDF Read by ↠ Joel Greenberg
      469 Joel Greenberg
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      Posted by:Joel Greenberg
      Published :2018-08-11T22:23:59+00:00

    One thought on “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction”

    1. Reading this book reminded me of a story Mark Twain used to tell, which Hal Holbrook used in his stage interpretation. Twain was in church one Sunday(or at least so he claims) listening to a missionary preacher just returned from the South Seas. As he describes the hardships of the people there and the fine work of the missionaries, Twain decides he will put five dollars in the basket when it is passed. The missionary then describes the schools and homes they have built for the natives, and Twai [...]

    2. If the passenger pigeon was anything, it was numerous so much so that they were counted by the very roughest approximation. The largest flock was probably recorded in Fort Mississauga, Ontario in 1860, by Major Ross King, an English hunter and naturalist, who estimated that the flock passing over him for about fourteen hours was about 300 miles long, and about a mile wide. And for days afterward the stragglers passed over, in huge but diminished numbers. Assigning two birds per square yard and a [...]

    3. No for the casual reader, this volume packs a lot of cultural and social history in with its natural history. In the text this can create long passages where the connection of the person under discussion to Passenger Pigeons isn't clear until pages later when it turns out that they wrote a journal entry, or a symphony. Similarly, the book is entirely catholic in its selection of topics, seeking to be comprehensive over narrative. So in between the long biographical sections there are tiny inters [...]

    4. Joel Greenberg does a considerable amount of research to publish this timely reminder in the year of the 100th anniversary of Martha's death at the Cincinnati Zoo. It's the first passenger pigeon book aimed at a general audience since 1955. Chapters are organized in chronological order (though some are focused on products and the 'pigeontown' boomtowns that popped up during nestings). I still can't fathom flocks of *billions* crossing the sky- must have been like a feathery, poopy eclipse. This [...]

    5. This book saddened and depressed me. Still, I feel it should be required reading in all our schools. There are valuable lessons here for all of us.This book is about the demise of the passenger pigeons, once the most abundant bird on the North American continent, possibly on the planet. Once its migration flights were so immense they would block out the sun for hours, sometimes for days. Audubon recorded one that eclipsed the sun for three days. Its numbers were estimated in the billions when Eu [...]

    6. After reading Avery's A Message from Martha: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and Its Relevance Today, I felt some guilt, but not that much, about the human obliteration of the passenger pigeon. After all, he reasoned, they couldn't possibly survive in those numbers today with the fragmented habitat and loss of mast. But now, after reading Greenberg's thoroughly researched and detailed work, my guilt (by association with humans) overwhelmed me. We all know how cruel humans can be; but the [...]

    7. This book was very well researched - but (as I told my wife) I got to the middle and realized I had just spent quite a chunk of time reading about the ways, reasons, locations of killing pigeons. Nothing much else. There were some tidbits of natural science in there, but basically it was a river of billions of facts regarding ways a pigeon could die.

    8. Very good read - lots of science and history and especially cultural history, without being too academic or too dumbed-down. Such a sad subject, of course, and the melancholy comes through in the writing. Definitely understand more about what happened and the likely reasons why. Recommended to those who enjoy natural history and especially histories that show the idiocy of humans.

    9. Like a great roiling and ponderous flock of facts, this book took four days to pass overhead and blotted out the sun.

    10. One hundred years ago today, the last passenger pigeon, a captive-bred adult named Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Since we knew that she was the last of her kind, her body was frozen into a 300-pound block of ice before she was shipped by train to the Smithsonian Institution, where she was skinned, dissected and preserved as a mount.Although none of the people who knew these birds are alive today, we can still learn more about this iconic bird through their writings and photographs, thanks [...]

    11. A Feathered River Across the Sky establishes, within the first three pages, the physical beauty—aesthetic and athletic—of the passenger pigeon, and then, having given the reader a proper appreciation for the bird, begins the story of its extinction. The book is a vivid rendering of a tragedy that paints just as precise a portrait of humans as of pigeons. There's not much complexity to the narrative as far as humans go, despite the complexity of factors behind it; mankind had a use for someth [...]

    12. I was prepared to like this book much more than I did. Greenberg amassed an amazing amount of information about the passenger pigeon. The first couple chapters were definitely intriguing, but I really bogged down in all the flights and massacres. I can't imagine someone spending several years of his life researching and writing this book. I think my fellow bird club book club members felt pretty much the same.

    13. Growing up, I knew of the passenger pigeon -- it was the poster child (or poster animal?) speaking out against extinction. Martha, the last passenger pigeon, was pictured in our fourth grade science textbook as a warning about what the world could do to animals, and I remember staring at the photo and thinking of the mourning doves that cooed outside my bedroom windows and wondering if they could also become extinct.I am reminded of the passenger pigeon in other ways as well. On my way to my bro [...]

    14. It seemed appropriate to find that the passenger pigeon became extinct 100 years ago in 1914 as I began this book in 2014. The book was planned to be part of a Passenger Pigeon Project to educate people about passenger pigeons and was published in 2014. It includes the descriptions of passenger pigeons blotting out the sun for hours as flocks flew overhead, which gives some sense of the numbers that existed. There are details about the appearance, the sound and the destruction wrought by the pig [...]

    15. I received this book through First Reads, and am grateful for the gift.This is a very moving book that demonstrates the devastating ecological impact humans can have if they do not acknowledge natural balances. I have known that the passenger pigeon went extinct because of humans for a long time, but I never thought too hard about why. This book made me look deeper into the tragedy.The book is organized well chronologically and is relatively easy to navigate through. Each chapter helps build up [...]

    16. One must be careful when reviewing a book as Mr. Greenberg's. A Feathered River is an often grizzly account of the viciousness of how humanity drove a species to extinction. The research is thorough; the writing itself is gripping. That said, If you've picked this book up you're probably an animal lover if not a birder; if so this makes this book a necessary if very difficult read.Mr. Greenberg writes of all of the creative ways we killed these birds; shooting, netting, even rocks and fire; as M [...]

    17. It’s hard to imagine the size of a passenger pigeon flock numbering in the billions and equally difficult to imagine the scale of human destruction that wiped out the species over a roughly forty-year period. Joel Greenberg’s “A Feathered River Across the Sky” is a warning that focuses on an animal that was without precedent or successor, “nothing in the human record suggests there was ever another bird like the passenger pigeon.” Nor was there anything like the elaborate means and w [...]

    18. Interesting and detailed story of the Passenger Pigeon. Once North America's most populous bird - (40% of all birds, the other ~520 species made up the other 60%!) it went from a population measured in the billions in the 1860's to hundreds in the 1890's to a handful in 1900. The last bird died in a zoo in 1914.The birds were "harvested" by the millions - literally. They migrated, nested and breed in huge flocks which enabled people to capture them in huge quantities. The hunters cut down trees, [...]

    19. Very well-written account of, as the title suggests, the decline of the passenger pigeon from a sky-darkening population of billions to virtually none in the space of a few decades. As might be expected, much of the narrative focuses on the many people who engaged in wholesale slaughter of the pigeons, and the many ways in which they engaged in that slaughter. By the last few chapters, it feels somewhat like one of those post-apocalyptic stories where mankind gradually dies out, only with passen [...]

    20. I read this book because I have to teach it to college freshman this semester. Needless to say, I am only having them read selected chapters because so much of this book is repeated examples to illustrate a few major points. While I really enjoyed learning about the passenger pigeon and how humans treated the species (which was truly horrifying), the book could and should have been half the length it is. We are trying to teach our students about relevance and sufficiency in providing evidence in [...]

    21. I am pleased to say that Joel Greenberg, in A Feathered River Across the Sky, has indeed created a new and highly worthwhile contribution to the literature of the Passenger Pigeon. Combining genuine literary talent with a passion for research and synthesis, he has written a book that will henceforward be the first that I recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about these iconic birds. Greenberg provides broad-ranging information on all matters Passenger Pigeon, from prehistory to post-extinct [...]

    22. I was very impressed with the author’s excellent attempt to bring together all the information available on passenger pigeons and with his ability to write a readable, non-academic account. For example, he includes reports from 19th century small town newspapers all over Wisconsin about passenger pigeon flockings and killings, lists books, plays and poems about passenger pigeons, and discusses how Martha, the last passenger pigeon, came to be in the Cincinnati Zoo. At times the information is [...]

    23. As a child, I desperately wished that I would one day stumble across a passenger pigeon that had somehow escaped destruction and detection so this was a book that I was already primed to love. While it was certainly meticulously researched and debunks many misconceptions about the life cycle, habitat, dietary needs, and behavior of passenger pigeons, as well as factors contributing to their demise, the early chapters unfortunately feel episodic - a litany of anecdotes, often repetitive, strung t [...]

    24. As a boy, I kept a coop of 25 pigeons. I would sit with them hours on end commuting with them at the peak of my Saint Francis phase.I read and knew all about the hordes of Passenger Pigeons that blackened our skies until the late 19th century. My heart ached for the lonely death of Martha the last of the species that died in 1914. Her mate, George (get it--they named the pair George and Martha?) years earlier.Like so many books, "River" is flawed but compelling. It is overflowing with descriptio [...]

    25. This book made me think. If you liked SILENT SPRING or A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC or IN CONTROL OF NATURE then you HAVE to read this book. It tells the distressing story of how we (humans) killed of over a billion birds all for the sake of our stomachs or money. It's an eye opener for anyone even remotely nature conscious. I saw Martha at the Smithsonian and didn't think much about it until I read James Fenimore Cooper's THE PIONEERS in which he depicts a passenger pigeon massacre. At the time,I was [...]

    26. This is an impressively detailed book on the passenger pigeon, a species that numbered in the billions until humans began shooting them. It includes vivid descriptions of the flocks (which could blot out the sunlight for three days in a row) and numbers, knowledge of their breeding, feeding and ecology (and some speculation) and a detailed tracing of the slow dwindling of their numbers and final extinction (though the believe survivors were out there somewhere lasted for a number of years). The [...]

    27. This was an extensively detailed account of the now extinct passenger pigeon. Joel Greenberg has certainly put so much time and effort into this bird that it felt like a love letter to a species lost, and to mankind so the that same mistakes aren't made again. I think we should all reflect upon the destruction we've done towards the earth as the human race and think about what we all can do to preserve it for future generations so they can enjoy it and give thanks for that. Let's not leave them [...]

    28. How many ways can your hate, torment and torture an entire species? This book describes, in detail, every way people killed, abused, and ate Passenger Pigeons into extinction. There were a few stories about how some tried to protect them, but most of it was pretty depressing. If you ever want to know how cruel people can be to animals, then read through this book. The thing is, I see the same exact attitudes towards many "common species" today, such as rock pigeons, Canada geese, and ducks.

    29. Good natural history of the bird. I learned a lot. The sheer numbers are staggering. I couldn't rate the book higher because the middle of the book was how they were slaughtered. I read an article earlier this summer that was much briefer, but told some of the same stories. It was not the same author. It was difficult to read and amazing that people could not see that the birds could not possible survive.Of course that was not the author's fault and he did thoroughly document all that was known. [...]

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