Passenger Pigeon Observations

This resource allows students to read historical quotes to get an idea of how the population of passenger pigeons changed so dramatically over a short period of time. As a class, students can share their thoughts and generate questions that can lead to more discovery and learning. This resource can be used at the beginning of a unit on migration, extinction or human impact.

By completing this activity, your students will be able to:

  • Analyze observations to draw conclusions about population change over time.
  • Ask questions related to population decline and extinction.

More About this Lesson Plan

According to the Arizona Department of Education, phenomena are observable events that can be explained or explored using scientific practices, ideas and concepts. Through science investigations and discussions, students try to explain the phenomena. They are a key part of science instruction in the state.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been collecting examples of wildlife-related phenomena that can be used in the classroom. Each phenomenon includes suggested ways to use it as well as potential standards that can be addressed by using it. Links for additional information are provided for teachers wishing to learn even more about each phenomenon.

This specific phenomena can be used as the start of a migration unit or on one that looks at the impacts of humans on wildlife populations and biodiversity. The reading includes real quotes that look at the population of passenger pigeons through history as seen through the eyes of real people. After reading, the students should share their thoughts and any questions, specifically related to how the change in passenger pigeon population size.


  • Eric Proctor, Wildlife Education Coordinator,
    Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)

Standards Correlation

This lesson has been correlated to the following Arizona Department of Education academic standards:

  • 4th Grade

    1. 4.L4U1.11
  • 5th Grade

    1. 5.L4U3.11
  • 6th Grade

    1. 6.L2U3.11
  • 7th Grade

    1. 7.L1U1.11
  • 8th Grade

    1. 8.L4U1.12
  • High School

    1. HS.L2U3.18
    2. HS+B.L4U1.2

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The goal of the AZGFD education program is to promote awareness, appreciation and stewardship of the state’s wildlife resources by using wildlife as a context for learning.

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