Martha the Pigeon

This passage is about the decline of the passenger pigeon population.

Lexile Level: 520L

Categories: Animals & Nature


Martha died in Cincinnati in 1914. But there was no funeral. Martha was a bird. She was the last passenger pigeon. She lived in the Cincinnati Zoo. Passenger pigeons are now extinct. At one time the passenger pigeon was one of the most common birds in the world, and they were pretty birds. Their heads were blue, and their chests were orange like a robin's. In the 1800s people were amazed at the number of passenger pigeons. Flocks were so large they took hours to pass overhead. But the birds were too easy to catch. Most restaurants had passenger pigeon on their menus. Farmers fed them to their animals. They were even used as fertilizer. Hunters caught them so quickly that the birds couldn't reproduce fast enough. Passenger pigeons only laid one egg at a time. Gradually they became rare. Too many hunters were catching them. And now we will never see one fly overhead again.


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