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NFC: Carolina Parakeet (fwd)
J. L. Wiegert
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 11:52:45 EST
From: Ellasoma at aol_com
To: nfc at actwin_com,
schmi178 at tc_umn.edu
Subject: Carolina Parakeet
OFF TOPIC BUT SAD !!
By Alan J. Garbers" writer at indy_net
North America's only native parrot was the Carolina Parakeet. Colored a
vibrant green and blue with a yellow head and red eye mask the Carolina
Parakeet stood out brightly in the woods of Indiana. These birds averaged ten
to eleven inches in length and the species was one of the few parrots that
could withstand the cold temperatures found in North America. Noisy and flock-
oriented Carolina parakeets were once common east of the Mississippi river
from New York state to Florida. These birds were hunted to extinction much
like the passenger pigeon. Their original diet consisted of cocklebur, pine,
maple, beech, and elms seeds. But as settlements advanced westward the
Carolina Parakeets took a great liking to freshly planted grain, ripe crops
and orchard fruit. Their new diet put them at odds with struggling farmers. It
wasn't long before the only good parrot was a dead parrot. Killing Carolina
Parakeets was said to be easy. Once a member of the flock was slain the others
would circle around their fallen companion and continue to do so until the
whole flock was eradicated. Certain ornithologists of the day like Coues,
Baird, Brewer and Ridgeway, cautioned that continued hunting would destroy the
population, but little concern was offered. Market hunters also played into
the extinction of Carolina Parakeets. Many were captured for the pet market.
More were killed for their plumage. Brightly colored feathers were the vogue
for women's fashions and it wasn't long before women across America were
wearing the feathering of Carolina Parakeets. As with Passenger Pigeons,
concern came too late for the plight of these once plentiful birds. By 1900 no
wild Carolina Parakeets were left and the last, named Incas, died in the
Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.
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