An excerpt from my book, Larger than Life: Living in the Shadows of Elephants:
As Doug and Sandi prepare for our morning walk, a nearby Cape mourning dove begins its chanting call: hoo-HOO-hoo, hoo-HOO-hoo. The dove is the same shape and color of the pigeons strutting the streets of my hometown, and belongs to the same family as pigeons, Columbidae. Doves are generally smaller birds and pigeons are larger.
One member of Columbidae, the American Passenger Pigeon, was once the most abundant land bird in the world. It’s been estimated that nine billion passenger pigeons were in the United States before colonization – more than twice the number of all birds alive in the U.S. today. Up to a foot-and-a-half in length, the passenger pigeon had distinctive, even iridescent, coloration.
In the early 1800s a flock of passenger pigeons that numbered 2.2 billion birds flew between Kentucky…
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