Ohio museum telling story of passenger pigeons

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2014 12:29 PM

CINCINNATI (AP) — An exhibit recounting the story of passenger pigeons' extinction is opening in the city where the last one died a century ago.

The new exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center runs through March 1. It uses preserved passenger pigeon specimens, hunting instruments and other animal specimens to offer insight into the species' extinction.

The population of passenger pigeons was estimated at nearly five billion in 1800, but dwindled to tens of thousands in the next 80 years due to habitat loss and overhunting. The three passenger pigeons still living by 1907 ended up at the Cincinnati Zoo.

A bird named Martha was the last survivor. She died of old age in 1914.

Museum officials say "Martha: A Story of Extinction" also offers insight into the current state of several species nearing extinction.