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Passenger Pigeon
Ectopistes migratorius
Order
COLUMBIFORMES
– Family
COLUMBIDAE
Authors: Blockstein, David E.

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Welcome to BNA Online, the leading source of life history information for North American breeding birds. This free, courtesy preview is just the first of 14 articles that provide detailed life history information including Distribution, Migration, Habitat, Food Habits, Sounds, Behavior and Breeding. Written by acknowledged experts on each species, there is also a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.

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Habitat

In all seasons, forests; deciduous forests provided food. Large trees were often chosen for roosts and for nesting. Large swamps, particularly alder (Alnus spp.), were favored roost sites (Schorger 1955: 82). Even if forest trees were nearby, colonies often roosted in alder shrubs <7 m high. Pines (Pinus spp.) also favored roost sites. Foraged in agricultural land, but returned to forests to roost or nest.

Breeding Range

Eastern deciduous forest almost exclusively. Bred in the extensive forest that covered what is now the e. U.S. and s. Ontario around the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Mostly bred in northern part of eastern deciduous forest where snow covered mast until spring. Because of species’ colonial nature and huge numbers, and the apparent necessity for mast during the breeding season, nesting colonies formed in contiguous forests of beech or oak during years when nuts and acorns were superabundant.

Postbreeding Range

Forests and open lands where berries and soft fruits (e.g., grapes [Vitis spp.]) were superabundant. Needed trees to roost. Particularly along borders of Great Lakes, often north of breeding grounds, well into Canada, to Hudson Bay (58°N) and Great Slave Lake (62°N; Swainson and Richardson 1832). Often associated with wetlands.

Spring And Fall Migration

Forests, particularly with oak and beech mast. Often roosted in large swamp forests.

Winter Range

Forests, particularly swamps.