The Last Carolina Parakeet
February 21, 1918 - The last known Carolina Parakeet was a male named Incas, and he died on this day at the Cincinnati Zoo. Twenty years later, after no wild specimens were found, the bird was officially declared extinct.
Bright green with an orange and yellow head, it was one of the most colorful birds living in the eastern United States. It had a range that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Ontario.
Many factors contributed to the destruction of the Carolina Parakeet. Massive tracts of the bird's forest habitat were developed as farmland. Other species including Honeybees competed with the birds for limited nesting sites.
The Carolina Parakeet was originally considered a pest by many farmers and they were exterminated in large numbers. The parrots had an unfortunate flocking tendency that made them cluster in areas where other birds were being killed. Hunters claimed that it was almost as if the birds would return to mourn their dead, which made them very easy targets.
Once their numbers were severely reduced, farmers realized that the birds had been beneficial in keeping the cocklebur weeds in check.
There have been unconfirmed sightings over the last 80 years, but orinthologists don't hold out much hope for a return of the species.