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History Passenger Pigeon

New Jersey’s State Bird

In association with the Fine Feathered Friends exhibit, here’s history behind how the Eastern Goldfinch became New Jersey’s official state bird.

Anthony Kuser, who is introduced late in the video, was also a sponsor of the search for a surviving passenger pigeon. In 1909, he offered a $300 reward for proof of an undisturbed passenger pigeon nest. The ensuing search was unsuccessful (many sightings of presumed passenger pigeons turned out to be mourning doves) but the reward, and the publicity surrounding it, helped establish with certainty the extinction of passenger pigeons in the wild.