"See, Cousin Bess! see, ‘Duke, the pigeon-roosts of the south have broken up! They are growing more thick every instant, Here is a flock that the eye cannot see the end of. There is food enough in it to keep the army of Xerxes for a month, and feathers enough to make beds for the whole country. Xerxes, Mr. Edwards, was a Grecian king, who— no, he was a Turk, or a Persian, who wanted to conquer Greece, just the same as these rascals will overrun our wheat fields, when they come back in the fall..."
(From James Fenimore Cooper's The Pioneers.)
You might be wondering why I have this little quote about passenger pigeons. That's quite simple: I was strongly reminded of them early this afternoon.
You see, there are often large flocks of birds where I live (northwestern Ohio, near the Lake Erie shore). Birds like it here (although not in my backyard, as we harbor many cats).
Today, I saw the biggest freaking flock of birds I have ever seen.
It was no passenger pigeon sun-blotting swarm, but it was a pretty big flock. Out of every window which we looked while they dimmed the skies, there were easily hundreds of them, sitting, making brief flights, and chirping incessantly. (Our cats were busy at the daily meal we give them; they were so intent on the dead food they didn't notice this flock.)
Then, they all took off at once, and those of us who briefly stepped outside counted ourselves lucky that multiple stains in numerous colors of bird excrement didn't suddenly appear on us. It was a borderline miracle.
I love nature, but I hate birds.