The last passenger pigeon, Ectopistes Migratoius, to be on this earth, was a female, Martha. Martha died on September 1, 1941 in the Cincinnati Zoo. The reason these once common birds went extinct is because of humans. Passenger pigeons were a popular food in New York (Yuck!). One method of killing the pigeons was to fire a canon full of pellets into a tree loaded with them. Hundreds would drop dead and then people would come around collecting them in ice boxes. Next they would be shipped off to New York.
Passenger Pigeons usually ate acorns, chestnuts, and beach nuts. They could be found in the American midwest. The sky could turn black for days when they were in search of food or breeding grounds. Once, in Kentucky, there was an estimated 2 billion birds!
Typically, the male's head is blue, the neck is either bronze, green, or purple, depending on the light. The rump (the bottom) is bluish, the legs and feet are red, and the belly is white. The female is quite similar to the male, but the legs are paler, the tail is shorter, and her colors are much duller. They are very pretty birds, but sadly, no one will ever see a live one again.
Fuller, Errol Extinct Birds. New York: Facts on File, 1987.
Lessman, Don Dinosaurs to Dodos; An Encyclopedia of Extinct Animals. New York: Scholastic Inc.
Images of passenger pigeons from "ArtToday.com" <http://members.clipart.com/en/index> (2003).