Year in review: The post-pigeon century | Science News

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Year in review: The post-pigeon century

Buildings, cars and cats take toll on birds

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11:00am, December 15, 2014
eastern meadowlark

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS  While eastern meadowlarks remain too abundant to classify as threatened, the population of the birds has decreased by about three percent per year since 1968, a 2014 report found.

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News of bird troubles received an eerie emphasis in 2014 when biologists marked the 100th anniversary of the death of the last known passenger pigeon.

For the occasion, the slim, coffee-and-cream-colored taxidermy mount of that final pigeon, named Martha, came out of storage at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (SN: 8/23/14, p. 28). Visitors puzzled anew at how a species once numbering several billion birds vanished in decades.

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