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Revive & Restore

Experimental Investigation of the Dietary Ecology of the Extinct Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius

By | Passenger Pigeon, Revive & Restore

The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was the dominant species in eastern North American forests for tens of thousands of years prior to its extinction in 1914. The birds lived in megaflocks comprising up to several billion individuals, moving nomadically as they consumed fruit and mast, the seed of beech, oak, chestnut, and other forest trees. The size and density of passenger pigeon flocks as well as their migratory patterns and their diet shaped the abundance and the distribution of tree species in these forests. In fact, the passenger pigeon was an ecosystem engineer of eastern North American forests for tens…

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