Fold the Flock: The Passenger Pigeon Origami Project

2014 marked the centennial anniversary of the extinction of the North American Passenger Pigeon. To help remember the Passenger Pigeon, we are folding a flock of origami pigeons to recreate the great flocks of 100 years ago. We ask that you add to the flock by folding your own origami pigeon. Add your bird(s) to our online flock counter at foldtheflock.org

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About the Passenger Pigeon

At the time of European arrival, Passenger Pigeons accounted for up to forty percent of the land birds of North America. Passenger Pigeons flew in vast flocks, numbering in the billions, sometimes eclipsing the sun from noon until nightfall. Flying sixty miles an hour, they migrated across their geographic range, which stretched from the northeastern and mid-western states and into Canada to the southern states.

In the 19th Century, as American’s urban population grew and the demand for wild meat increased, thousands of men became full-time pigeon hunters. With nesting sites holding unimaginable numbers, hunters slaughtered the birds with great efficiency.

It was inconceivable that in less than fifty years, the Passenger Pigeon would be nearly extinct. On March 24, 1900, a boy in Pike County, Ohio shot the last recorded wild Passenger Pigeon.

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Martha, the last of her kind, died on September 1, 1914 in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. She stands as a symbol of nature’s fragility and what has been lost. We can only imagine the huge flocks that darkened the skies for days. To honor the Passenger Pigeon, we have created these animations.