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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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Passenger pigeons not extinct!

The English science magazine New Scientist has received numerous letters from persons confirming this assertion. For example, J. Howlett wrote:

"In my experience, the sight of pigeons hitching a lift on the underground is nothing unusual. I too have often travelled from Paddington, westwards in my case -- not in frequently in the company of a pigeon, sometimes even two.

"It raises fascinating questions. Do they just fly across the line and get the next train back? How many round trips a day do they make? Do they decide in advance how far to travel? Do they study the timetables?"

(Howlett, Jack, et al; "Passenger Pigeons," New Scientist, p. 66, September 30, 1995)

Comment. Birds frequently alight on ships at sea and even ride on the backs of animals, but these subway pigeons seem to be more than opportunistic!

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss