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The Passenger Pigeon was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. They lived in enormous flocks and during migration it was possible to see flocks of them a mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long, taking several days to pass and containing up to a billion birds.

Some estimate that there were as many as five billion passenger pigeons in the United States at the time Europeans arrived in North America

During the 19th century, the species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction. At the time, passenger pigeons had one of the largest groups or flocks of any animal, second only to the desert locust.

Some reduction in numbers occurred as a result of loss of habitat when the Europeans started settling further inland. The primary factor emerged when pigeon meat was commercialized as a cheap food for slaves and the poor in the 19th century, resulting in hunting on a massive scale.

"Martha", thought to be the world’s last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Because people refused to change and conserve the Passenger Pigeon, the pigeons are now extinct.

As we enter the New Year, we must not forget that Jesus changed the way His followers engaged life. Jesus launched a movement that unleashed untapped potential in those who believed in him.

(From a sermon by Ray Ellis, "Change, Who Said Anything About Change?")

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