Spare a thought for Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who passed away 100 years ago
Species: Ectopistes migratorius
Claim to fame: The last individual of her species
Go visit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
In the middle of the 19th century, the passenger pigeon was by far the most common bird in the United States, if not the world. It was a species that flocked in mind-boggling numbers, seemingly endless clouds of densely packed birds darkening the skies for hours, sometimes days.
One of the most striking accounts of this phenomenon was recorded by Major W Ross King, who witnessed “an extraordinary flock of birds” in the vicinity of Niagara in 1860.