Reflecting on a Lost Treasure

Carolina Parakeet – Conuropsis  Carolinensis (Linne’)

The Carolina Parakeet was the only native parakeet in North America. Its range covered the entire eastern United States.

Sadly, the last known specimen died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918. The complete story of the Carolina Parakeet’s extinction may never be known but there is little doubt that man and his effect on the environment was responsible. Audubon, in his journals, described one contributing factor to the loss of this beautiful native bird. He says that Carolina Parakeets loved the fruit in the first settlers’ orchards. Consequently, to protect their crops the settlers would kill as many parakeets as they could. Audubon noted that during these attacks the uninjured birds would go to the aid of those that had been shot – making them easy targets for more carnage.  

Now they are all gone. Maybe we can learn from this sad story in order to protect other endangered species.

One surprising fact about the Carolina Parakeet is that it did not migrate to warmer climates in winter. Can you imagine the spectacular sight of one of these colorful birds in the snow?

18 x 24 Oil