Tree Note

Tree Note:
Passenger Pigeons
by Dylan McKeon

​Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.

In partnership with educator Joshua Block, students from Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy are creating and publishing their Philadelphia Field Notes. Dylan McKeon shares a poem on passenger pigeons.


Every day the same birds pass me by,

Sparrows and pigeons, their grey and brown,

melding into the urban landscape.

I think of their evolution,

learning how to cope with the grimy air,

of the city and living on the crumbs,

dropped by the uncaring crowds.

The rare cardinal or robin,

flying by the city, stopping in green,

knowing to avoid the grey.

Though not all knew how to evolve,

the passenger pigeons learned too late,

to avoid the human domain,

unable to adapt to the bullets that cut them down.

As hunters ignored the quiet law of protection,

continued to fire their guns for an easy meal,

no care for the $25 fine.

Was this our evolution,

learned too late,

and yet we still forget to care,

about the smallest lives that fall for our greed.


Tree Notes
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