This book provides the first comprehensive account of the biology of one of North America's most enigmatic and colorful wildlife species, the Carolina Parakeet. The only parrot endemic to the United States, this species once ranged in large, noisy flocks from Florida to New York, and as far west as Colorado. But although it was still widespread and common during the time of John James Audubon (whose illustration of the species is perhaps his finest work), the parakeet was gone completely by the mid-twentieth century.
Through analyses of historical accounts and presentation of considerable new information gleaned from interviewing senior citizens with firsthand knowledge of the species, Noel Snyder develops an intriguing portrait of the parakeet that challenges long-held assumptions.
Although it has long been believed that the Carolina Parakeet was exterminated largely by shooting, Snyder argues that exotic diseases may have figured more heavily in its final disappearance. He also presents evidence that the parakeet lasted far longer into the twentieth century than generally believed, and that it may have been toxic and distasteful to predators by virtue of its frequent consumption of the cocklebur--a plant highly poisonous to many other vertebrates. Snyder proposes avenues of research that could help resolve some of the enduring mysteries about this fascinating bird, and he discusses the significance of its extinction for wildlife conservation in general.
"This is a wonderful compendium, caveated and collated with care. Snyder deserves great credit for a fascinating effort that comes as close as it is possible to get to the resurrection of what must have been a wonderful bird."--Adrian Barnett, California Wild
"Noel Snyder has now given us a well-researched epithet for North America's once and only endemic parrot."--Stanley A. Temple, Natural Areas Journal
"This book is set to be the definitive work on the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet. Not only does Noel Snyder present the only new information on the species that has come to light in decades, but he provides an enjoyable account of days gone by in the world of ornithology and an interesting look at pre-strip-mall Florida. Historians of science, those interested in the conservation of endangered species, parrot lovers (aka parrot owners), and Floridians will be especially interested in reading this well written and enjoyable account."--Donald Brightsmith, Duke University, and Research Director of Rainforest Expeditions
"The generally accepted version of the loss of the Carolina Parakeet is that it was driven to extinction by hunting, and that the last individual died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo. This fascinating account shows that neither is likely true. The interviews are revealing and entertaining, providing an insight into human history as well as the history of this enigmatic parrot."--Michael J. Parr, American Bird Conservancy, coauthor of Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World
File created: 4/26/2015