Carolina Parakeet

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Facts

Scientific Name: Conuropsis carolinensis
Habitat: Old, bottomland forests along large rivers. Ranged from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico.
Color: Green body feathers and a yellow head with a flaming scarlet mask around the bill.
Foods: Grapes, cockleburs, and the fruits of hackberry, beech, oak, sycamore, and other trees.

Notes

The Carolina parakeet is an extinct species.

History

Pre-Settlement

Images of the Carolina parakeet have been found in prehistoric art. It is assumed that people used them for food and their feathers for ornamentation.

19th Century

The Carolina parakeet was the only native parrot in eastern North America. Ohio populations centered in the Cincinnati area. Occasionally small numbers were found in the central, northern and southeastern parts of the state. As the old forests were cut down to make way for agriculture, their numbers decreased. Several early accounts mention entire flocks dying during severe winters.

Large numbers were killed so their colorful feathers could be used in ladies' hats. They were also hunted for food, captured and sold as pets, and thousands were killed because of the damage that they did to both corn and fruit trees.

By 1831, ornithologist John James Audubon stated that numbers in Cincinnati had "markedly decreased." The resident population disappeared between 1835 and 1840.

William Sullivant, in 1862, watched a flock of twenty-five to thirty birds fly over Columbus. This was one of the last recorded sightings of this now extinct bird.

20th Century

The last wild parakeet was killed in Florida in 1913. The last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.

See Also

References

  1. Peterjohn, John. The Birds of Ohio; Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN; 1989.