Passenger pigeon dung: A cure for what ailed you?

“In the eyes of some, passenger pigeon parts [beyond the feathers used for stuffing pillows and beds] held one more valuable property: medicinal.

“Dr. John Brickell, writing on the natural history of North Carolina in 1737, stated that the blood was effective in the treatment of the eyes and, when swallowed, ‘cures bloody fluxes.’

“He also had a good word for the dung, saying it could relieve most anything that ails, including headaches, pleurisy, apoplexy and lethargy. How the physician administered the dung is left obscure.”

— From “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction” by Joel Greenberg (2014)

For everything you could ever imagine wanting to know about the passenger pigeon in North Carolina, check out Greenberg’s Project Passenger Pigeon.

 

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