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Martha Was The Last Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • migrate: to move from one region to another
  • primarily: mainly
  • extinct: no longer alive as a species
  • infectious: spreadable
  • preserved: kept intact; cared for in order to last a long time
  • remains: the physical parts that are left after death
  • Smithsonian: a large group of museums

Martha Was The Last Passenger Pigeon

Before the 1900s, passenger pigeons made up about 40 percent of the total bird in the US. These birds migrated in massive colonies, and there were so many of them that they could actually the sun. Passenger pigeons were over-hunted primarily because their nesting made them an easy target. Hunters in North America wouldn’t have believed that the species was in danger of becoming extinct. A single tree could over 100 nests. This also made it easy for infectious diseases to spread through the colonies. By the late nineteenth century it was rare to come across a passenger pigeon. Some attempts were made to save the passenger pigeon , but it was too late. The last remaining passenger pigeon was named “Martha” after George Washington’s wife. Her preserved remains are in the Smithsonian collection.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What is the reading mainly about?
  2. Why wouldn’t hunters have suspected that passenger pigeons could go extinct?
  3. Who was the last pigeon named after?

Discussion Questions: What animal or plant species are you currently most worried about, and why?

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