On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was approximately 29 years old and suffering from a palsy that made her tremble. She never laid a fertile egg in her life.
During the course of the 19th century, the passenger pigeon went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to virtual extinction. Found across most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, the passenger pigeon was an important food source to several Native American tribes. The passenger pigeon was brought to extinction largely by the commercial exploitation of pigeon meat and by loss of habitat due to deforestation.