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Possible Passenger Pigeon?
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fngonuts
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Location: Coaldale, Pa

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:24 am    Post subject: Possible Passenger Pigeon? Reply with quote

While taking a scenic drive thru the woods this summer I noticed something odd. It looked like an extremely large Mourning Dove. I have never seen a dove this large or with the same markings. Since then I have off and on looked for a likely candidate for what I saw. I have looked at hundreds maybe thousands of pictures. I have read countless descriptions and the closest thing I can find is a Passenger Pigeon. Although similiar it was way too large to be a Mourning Dove.

Does anyone know of any other species that could be mistaken for a Passenger Pigeon?
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this post sounds crazy. The Passenger Pigeon is extinct and thats the end of the story. Well while doing research on this I found out that there is historical accounts of the Passenger Pigeon using intermittent breeding grounds which just happen to be about 10 to 20 miles away.

Now I don't normally take pictures of birds but I knew this one was special. Unfortunately for some reason I am unable to post pictures on this site. So if anyone is interrested in seeing them I will gladly email them to you. Before you get your hopes up too high these pictures were taken from a fair distance away so the quality isn't the best. However I believe it is quality enough to disprove it being a mourning dove.
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Bloodhounds
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is easy to post pictures here Very Happy . You get an online photo account with say www.photobucket.com and upload to them then post the link. A bit time consuming but not too bad. Rolling Eyes
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Cougardaville
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fngonuts wrote:
I know this post sounds crazy. The Passenger Pigeon is extinct and thats the end of the story. Well while doing research on this I found out that there is historical accounts of the Passenger Pigeon using intermittent breeding grounds which just happen to be about 10 to 20 miles away.

Now I don't normally take pictures of birds but I knew this one was special. Unfortunately for some reason I am unable to post pictures on this site. So if anyone is interrested in seeing them I will gladly email them to you. Before you get your hopes up too high these pictures were taken from a fair distance away so the quality isn't the best. However I believe it is quality enough to disprove it being a mourning dove.


E - mail me the pictures, I will post them for you Very Happy Very Happy
Cougardaville Wink
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a photobucket account I have no problem uploading pictures too it. Its when I access my pictures to try and get the properties my computer freezes up. Leaving me unable to do anything. I cannot figure out why this happens. Its pretty annoying. I have lots of pictures of wildlife that I can't share.

Thanks for trying to help me Bloodhounds.

Thanks Cougardaville for posting my pictures for me.
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Cougardaville
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe this tree is a Northern Red Oak. I looked up the average leaf lengths and they are between 8 to 10 inches. This bird cleary stands as tall as the longest leaf I can see. I mean the branch alone its standing on is atleast 3 inches in diameter. This bird is between 9 to 12 inches tall. Like I said way too big to be a mourning dove. I believe this is only a fledgling it was the only one that didn't fly off with the rest of the flock. It has the black stripe running thru the eyes like a fledgling. It also had a tail that was too short for a bird this size and this is the perfect tree for pigeon nesting right on the top of a cliff.

The flock I saw fly away almost flew directly over me. There was about 15 to 20 birds. They all were the size of adult Red Tail Hawks but looked like huge mourning doves. They had drastic color differences between the males and females. It was about a 50/50 mix of pink and blue birds. I'll surely be looking for them this year.

I read an interresting article recently it stated that cougars would follow the migration of the passenger pigeon.
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Bloodhounds
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is too bad your picture came out blurry. Mourning doves are so simmilar to pigeons I can't tell from this picture. I looked them up and looked at pictures of stuffed ones. Interesting birds. Too bad they are gone.
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty confident that I will find them in the same tree this year. I'll make sure I'm better prepared. I still think I will have the same problem with identification. They look too much like mourning doves with only size being the major difference. Unless you see the size of these birds first hand too many people are still not going to believe it. I really need a reputable bird expert or as many witnesses as I can bring along. I had two other people with me last time. They both agreed that this bird was way too big to be a mourning dove.

I'll try to get up on that mountain next week sometime. Maybe I will see something. I'm gonna try to stay away from the area while nesting is taking place. I don't want to be the reason the last of these birds didn't reproduce. Like I said I only saw about 20 birds. I'm hopeful there is more but I can only go by what I saw.

I would gladly bring along anyone that would like to see this first hand.
July would be the best time of year. Think about its not every day I give an open invite to see an extinct species. It doesn't involve any walking I can drive right up to this canyon.
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Bloodhounds
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

from looking at the pictures of stuffed ones, the big difference is the color of the breast of the males. It is rather red. Mourning doves are evenly grey with no sex differences noticable. Plus there is differences in the black spots. Interesting birds. I hope you get better pictures next time.
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't even guess at the sex of this bird. From the front it more closely ressembles a female. From the back it more ressembles a male. Its front looked opalescent pink in person. Its back looks mostly slate grey with more blue towards the end of the wings but it also had some pink in the middle of the back. Just another reason I think its a fledgling it looked like it could of been either sex. If you thought the picture of its front was out of focus you should see the picture of its back. It almost fell out of the tree when I took the picture of its back. So it was moving plus I was moving getting ready to try and switch to video. I'm pretty sure I took video of it. I got to look thru my tapes. I sure hope I didn't tape over it.

I was using my camcorder to take these pictures. I was at 20x zoom with a doubler. It was also almost dusk and a storm was blowing in. Next time I'm gonna try to sneak up on them and use a tripod. Probably just take video because I'm pretty sure the flock will fly off soon as they see me again.
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've contacted many universities, bird experts and editors of birding magazines. In the hopes that someone would take me seriously enough to come see for themselves. Since I invited so many people to come here I figured I better know exactly where this tree is. So on Monday I made this my mission. I also thought maybe I could see some nests used from last year.

I certainly did not expect to find any of these birds since historical accounts state they migrate here in April. Within 20 minutes I saw what I again first thought was an odd colored hawk. It was flying from tree to tree. I thought what is this hawk doing? This is very odd behaivor for a hawk. Well it wasn't a hawk at all turns out it was a pigeon. This bird was quite acrobatic it was hanging upside down while feeding on the buds of the oak trees. I got a good enough look at its head and its dove shaped tail to convince me this was another pigeon.

Everytime I got out of my car to start filming it flew to a further away tree. The third time this happened it flew off to the opposite side of one of the many canyons in the area. I did manage to get it on video flying off but the quality is very poor. My camera was focusing on all the tree branches between me and the bird. Next time I'm not getting out of the car.

That day I never did find that tree. I did however find our local mine fire that most people don't know about. My neighbor told me about this before and a general location of where it was. I found historical accounts of the mine fire. I believe it started in 1847. I guess a spring runs into the fire producing a good amount of steam.

The next day with the help of my fiancee we were able to find the tree I was looking for. There were no nests in it but we did find some rather large nests in the area. I can't say for sure what made these nests but I will deffinately be watching them trying to figure it out.

We also noticed that every mature oak tree had a slash mark on them with spary paint. I know what this means I have worked for a company that cleared forests. This is a sure sign that someone is planning on harvesting all of these trees. I fear if I can't prove these birds exist soon I might not ever get the chance again.
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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I forgot to make a point.

I read many articles about the death of Martha(the last living pigeon in captivity). I believe the many headlines stating this extinction was merely a ploy to sell more papers and nothing more. It was writen about so much that this was just accepted as a fact without an addequate investigation to support these claims.

In those times the more sensational the story the more copies you sold. Just another example of how the quest for bigger profits change the course of history. This species like many others was given up on too easily. If someone looked for them enough they would of found them.

Keep in mind that the news is big bussiness they don't exist to tell us the entire story. Their only goal is to sell stories and turn a profit. They are nothing more than salesmen often selling you faulty information and half truths based on their own opinions or agendas.

I however am not trying to sell you anything. I am not an author trying to sell a story. I have no interrest in telling anyone anything that isn't true. I have nothing to gain from making anything up. I am simply stating the facts and trying to save a species I am certain is not yet extinct.
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Cougardaville
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any sign of your bird with spring and nice weather here Question

I wish you luck, keep us posted Very Happy

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fngonuts
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had pretty good luck considering they are not supposed to exist. I know they are deffinately back. I have found a few individual birds on seperate occasions feeding on the budding trees. I have also seen a small group being mobbed by crows. I don't have any good proof to show for it yet but I'm a very optimistic person. I know its going to take alot of time and patience to collect enough evidence to convince the rest of the world.
Good thing I'm persistant.

Lots of interesting things to see up on these mountains never enough time. I find myself lately filming pretty much anything that hangs around long enough. Unfortunately its mating season so some of my pictures are not appropriate for children of all ages lol. I'm amazed how many different species of birds I find deep in the woods that I never see in my backyard.

I'm very dissapointed in the negative reactions I have been encountering elsewhere about the subject. People have been down right rude and tasteless. Some seem to think its some sort of conspiracy involving an Ivory Billed Woodpecker or some nonsense. Others think its a prank like I don't have better things to do then make up an elaborate hoax.

I don't understand how so many people can be so miserable and have such negative attitudes towards life. My parents gave me very good advice when I was a kid. Sometimes I would be down in the dumps or stress about stupid trivial things. The advice was getting upset isn't going to help in any way. Instead of stressing over it do something about it you will always be alot better off then when you started.

Sorry for getting off the subject. I guess I needed to vent a little. Man people can be such jerks. I'm not reffering to anyone here I genuinely like you people.

Thanks for wishing me luck I will never turn it down. Wink
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