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The Carolina Parakeet: Glimpses of a Vanished Bird

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691117959
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2004
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Noel F. R. Snyder is the author of four books on natural history subjects, including "The California Condor". He spent more than three decades as a researcher for independent and government conservation organizations, and before that had been Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of South Florida. He is former Director of Parrot Programs for Wildlife Preservation Trust International (1989-1998) and the recipient of several national conservation awards.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Basic characteristics of the species 6
Ch. 2 The decline and fall 12
Ch. 3 Controversial last records 32
Ch. 4 Habitat preferences and requirements 82
Ch. 5 Feeding habits and movements 86
Ch. 6 Breeding habits 96
Ch. 7 Causes of extinction 108
Ch. 8 Parakeet toxicity and other topics for research 121
Ch. 9 Postmortem of a conservation failure 126
Ch. 10 Evaluating historical data, and some general conclusions 129
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