Carolina Parakeet - Conuropsis carolinensis
It's a busy time right now, with the holidays and all, and I am sure that you can relate. I wasn't able to go in to the museum last week due to a bad cold, and have been catching up on various illustration work. I don't have much right now but can share some more photos from the collections.
The two photos above are of a Carolina Parakeet Conuropsis carolinensis specimen from the Field's collection. As you can see from the tags it's from 1893. The Carolina Parakeet was extinct in the wild by 1905. When I looked at this specimen it's roughly the size of a Monk Parakeet. Monks, also known as Quaker Parrots, are a species of parrot that have been introduced in the wild here. They have established several feral populations in various U.S. cities like Chicago and Austin. I've seen Monks in both of those cities, and every time I spot one, I think of the Carolina even though they are two very different species of parrot.
Monks are from the genus Myiopsitta and is native to South America. Conuropsis carolinensis is from the genus Conuropsis and was native to North America. Carolinas could be found from the Ohio Valley down to the Gulf of Mexico. They needed old growth forests as they were tree cavity nesters, and they feasted on plants such as thistle and cockleburs. They also loved to dine on fruit and corn. For this they were considered an agricultural pest, and were killed by the thousands by farmers.
The next time you take a hike and come home with cockleburs stuck to your clothing, or the next time you have to brush them out of your dog's fur, give a thought to what was our only indigenous parrot here in the States.