Passenger Pigeon and splats

The last record of a wild Passenger Pigeon was March 24, 1900. In fact, rewards were offered by the American Ornithologists’ Union for finding a nest. The effort was futile. A captive bird named Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoological Garden on September 1, 1914. She was 29 years old.

Billions of the Passenger Pigeons would turn the sky black in early years of North America. The witnesses said the pigeons passing by would extend for miles. Even trees would break from the weight of pigeons. Truly, it must have been quite the sight. In 1878, the pigeons were killed at a rate of 50,000 a day. This continued for nearly five months. By the early 1890’s the passenger pigeon had almost completely disappeared. They could not sustain a population with so few in numbers. “The one valuable result of the extinction of the passenger pigeon was that it aroused public interest in the need for strong conservation laws.” Source: The Passenger Pigeon

Now you are wondering why I brought this up? Yesterday’s post featured the butterflies. What I did not tell you about this small little area on the roadside, the majority were the Horace’s Duskywings. However, their numbers were less than a dozen. So all the others only had one or two of each species at most. Furthermore, I must (unhappily) report this is most I have seen in one place in a long while. Numbers of all insects are way down in my observations. Now I must warn you from this point on in the post, it is all about splats and the splat photos.

Moreover, here is my proof. Our car’s insect splatters on the front. This is an accumulation of 2700 miles. Thus, not much at all. What got me thinking about those splats on the windshield and the front of the car was article I read, A Car ‘Splatometer’ Study Finds Huge Insect Die-Off. Here is another more recent article, Car number plate ‘splatometer’ survey shows ‘terrifying decline’ in number of flying insects.

Next, a closer look at the splats. So here you can see some winged insects among the splats. Plus lots of different colors too.

In this example, it is a red splat. That means the insect ate a blood meal. So red means a vertebrate’s blood!

In this example, a yellow splat! So it could be a butterfly a moth, a grasshopper, or a hoverfly. Where did I find this out? Well I read there was an app for it, of course! On iOS, it is called That Gunk. Sorry Android users, no app.

A metallic colored fly!

Perhaps a firefly.

Interesting wings!

A grasshopper nymph?

Additionally, the app author also wrote this in 1997. Of course like it says on the cover, it has interesting bug facts. Besides, this is Android accessible LOL.

Furthermore, maybe like after the Passenger Pigeon disappearance, humans will wake up to be conservation-minded for the insects before it is too late. Optimistically, fingers and toes crossed that the message gets out! Stop monoculture yards! Help an insect, plant natives!

White-margined Burrower Bug (Sehirus cinctus) has a descriptive common name. One more bug, but not smashed. And new for me!

Monarch butterflies saw a resurgence in Mexico

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


  1. I saw the app for splats but didnt get it. Interesting what you found on your car. Many different kinds. Ive certainly noticed there are fewer bugs in my yard. Sad.

  2. I too have sadly noted a huge reduction in flying insects on my car’s splat-o-meter. I remember how frequently I used to have to clean my windshield in the summer. Hopeful news about monarchs though!

    1. Interesting to note in one of the articles that modern cars catch more splats than an older car. Yep is hopeful about monarchs!

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