HISTORY OF THE CAROLINA PARAKEET
IN ITS SOUTHWESTERN RANGE
by Daniel McKinley 1964
THE Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carohensis) is extinct, but so sketchy is knowledge as recorded in ornithological accounts, so widespread are the memories of the bird preserved in diaries and journals of America’s frontier days, that a synthesis of the two streams of evidence seems desirable. This union is a fitting tribute to the bird as well as to the travelers who faithfully recorded its vivid beauty.
This report covers references to the parakeet in the region that now comprises the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. It is proposed to divide the range of the species into four additional regions for similar treatments. The parakeet in the state of Missouri has already been treated (McKinley, 1960). The present account is not meant to be an integrated life history of the species; a monograph now in preparation will attempt that. I shall be grateful to anyone willing to share information on the habits or distribution of the parakeet, and in no place do I need more help than in searching the historical records of America’s pioneer period.
General literature.-The first Check-list of the American Ornithologists’ Union (1886:206) merely listed the Carolina Parakeet as appearing formerly in Texas. Check-list compilers were probably guided by the very general statement of S. W. Woodhouse that parakeets were “quite numerous in eastern Texas.” Just when is not clear and upon whose evidence is not known, for the exploratory report to which the statement is attached did not concern eastern Texas (Sitgreaves, 1853 [also 1854189). Coues (1874:296) merely cited Woodhouse; and Hasbrouck (1891:376) noted the vagueness of the reference, but on the basis of it, placed the boundary line “between the Brazos and Trinity rivers. . . .” Strecker (1912:30) followed Woodhouse (or Hasbrouck) ; but it is interesting to note that Ridgway (1916:148, 149) followed Hasbrouck in placing the species’ southwestern boundary, but then went on to put a question mark after “Texas” in citing Woodhouse’s original record. I cannot claim to have read nearly all accounts of travel in early Texas, but many good narratives at least do not mention the parakeet in Texas. The first evidence that the bird was to be found in Texas appeared in a book (Anon., 1840:195) that sounds authentic but merely listed “Paroquets” in the text, giving no information on them. W i 11ia m Kennedy (1841, 1:131) about the same time included in an ordinary list of birds that emphasized game species .... . . the gay, clamorous, and pilfering paroquet.” He was an Englishman who went to Texas in 1839, and most of his book seems to have resulted from a thorough study of other books. J. G. Burr (1938:22) has quoted Kennedy’s bird list.
An anonymous author (1874) included “paroquets” in a motley list that seems unreliable; and 0. M. Roberts, then governor of Texas, treated only four birds besides game, one of which was the “parrakeet of south-eastern Texas” which “gives a harsh: grating squall in its rapid flight, always seen in small numbers, but never singly, dashing through and around the tops of trees, . . . a bird of beautiful colors of green and yellow or pale red”
(Roberts, 1881:89). I likewise have assurance from Hubert Loomis Smith (letter, 19 January 1960) that an elderly friend from Texas said that the species was “still abundant in that state when he left it about 1889 or l890.” Eastern Texas. -There is little concrete information to back up Woodhouse’s statement concerning eastern Texas even though there is no reason to doubt its general accuracy. An anonymous writer, now presumed to be F. B. Page (1846:63), who traveled on the San Antonio road in Angelina County, found “. . . a flock of parroquets filling the air with their noisy cries” on the Neches River. The account refers to the spring season of probably the year 1845 and describes the area as already scantily settled and under cultivation.
R. H. Baker (1956:357), while interviewing old-timers in Angelina, Nacogdoches, Polk, and Tyler Counties, between the Sabine and Trinity Rivers in eastern Texas, in 194&42, found the parakeet “unknown to most persons interviewed. One or two informants said they had heard older people tell of paraquets in eastern Texas; only two people could remember actually seeing the birds. M. B. Hickman said that paraquets were plentiful in eastern Texas before the Civil War. No one knew from where the birds came; some thought they were from Mexico. Hickman said flocks of these fast-flying paraquets came to Polk County in midsummer and remained until autumn. He saw none after 1875. The birds were partial to corn in the milk stage and damaged fields severely. People would kill the birds on sight and erect scarecrows to drive them away. Floyd Pope remembered that as a small boy he saw a flock of several hundred paraquets and that his parents told him that these birds were more abundant in earlier days. He remarked also on their destructiveness to corn. Pope thought that they were most abundant at the time when corn began to ripen but also thought that the birds nested in Tyler County.”
It is of interest that even before 1875 the birds were erratic enough in appearance to be considered possibly of exotic origin; their alleged damage to corn is likewise noteworthy, for certain writers have said that corn was not much used by parakeets.
Although I have not been able to find any substantiating evidence, J. F. Combs has written to me (letter, 4 May 1960) that he was told that “Mr. Atwater [H. P. Attwater?], noted naturalist, was scouting in this region, and . . . that he and a Mr. Weiss of Beaumont saw a Carolina Parakeet on the Neches River, less than a mile from Beaumont. That must have been some time after 1910.”
Red River Valley.-Rather satisfactory sight records exist for the parakeet in this section of Texas, although for a relatively late period only. In the file of the old Bureau of Biological Survey in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices at Patuxent, Maryland, there is an undated note stating that an observer named Peters had found the parakeet to be a “common resident on Red River,” presumably at Bonham, Fannin County, where the report originated. (It seems likely that Peters was one of W. W. Cook’s migration observers of the 1880’s.)
This vague report is backed up a little more substantially by a note from E. C. Davis (18S7) written from Gainesville, just to the west of Fannin County. Doubting a report that parakeets were resident and breeding in large numbers on the Red River fifty miles to the east of his home (and therefore surely within the bounds of Fannin County), he had written to S. E. Watson who resided in that area and got in reply a letter stating that “there are a great many Parakeets in this section of country. They are exactly like the large green parrot, except smaller, have some yellow about the wings and head. They are very destructive to orchards, and it is almost impossible to keep them away from here in the fall.” Watson had kept them in cages frequently and found that they were fond of cockleburs.
It is interesting that H. C. Oberholser of the U.S. Biological Survey reported (Fish and Wildlife Service files-cited hereafter as FWS file) in 1902 from Boston, Texas, that the species “until within a few years was of regular though not very common occurrence in the Red River bottoms north of this place. The last one of which I was able to obtain trace was killed there about five or six years ago.” Boston is in central Bowie County, extreme northeastern Texas, bordering Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Gulf coast.-Records for the coastal region of Texas are in an uncertain condition and seem likely to remain so. Vernon Bailey (FWS file) reported in 1900 during his work in the region from Corpus Christi to Brownsville that he had seen at Mr. Priour’s a mounted specimen “said to be one of a number that appeared in the neighborhood a few years ago.” Much later, Bailey appears to have received from the owner of the specimen, John M. Priour, a letter (9 November 1914; FWS file) that his collection had been dispersed and that he did not then know who had the parakeet specimen. His son had shot it from a flock of the birds in the Ebony Woods, five miles east of Corpus Christi. Priour’s letter unfortunately engaged in a good deal of gossipy speculation about the status and migratory habits of the species that makes the whole story somewhat open to doubt, although there can be no question about the specimen, whatever its origin. Hagar and Packard (1952: 9) and Wolfe (1956335) have accepted this record.
William Lloyd reported to the Biological Survey (FWS file), after field work during the summer of 1891 in Cameron County, the lower Rio Grande, and adjacent Mexican Territory, that the parakeet was said to occur as an accidental visitor in the palmetto ranches south of Brownsville. Griscom and Crosby (1926:34) in a study of the birds of Cameron County, however, put the species on their hypothetical list, noting that a specimen in Jonathan Dwight’s collection labeled “Brownsville” was not regarded by Dwight as properly labeled. (See note under “Specimens and Summary” at end of Texas account.)
There is no reason to doubt that the parakeet was capable of wandering up rivers wherever timberlands made the countryside inviting to them. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are scattered reports of the species in central Texas. Th ere are, however, no records from early days, not even from the great marches of the Pacific Railroad Survey.
The most widely cited record is listed in Bent (1940:11), which turns out to be an editorial notice (Anon., lSS6) referring to 1885 in an ephemeral bird journal, The Sunny South Oologist, whose life-span was just three issues in 1886. A chatty note related: “Hundreds of bright colored parrots were seen near Brownwood, Texas, last summer (supposed to have come from Central America), something which has never happened before. There were also a good many more crows than usual. Many of the superstitious people of that place consider it an omen of bad luck.”
Brown County is in north-central Texas on the Pecan River, a branch of the Colorado River of Texas. J. D. Mitchell, in a letter of 1914 (FWS file), reported the parakeet as having been reported by Chadoin, a trapper and hunter, in the early days (no date given, but Mitchell’s information seemed to go back to the 1860’s_ see below) at Colorado in Mitchell County, some 125 miles west of Brown County. Mitchell also reported that there was “1 taken several seen fall 1863” in Lavaca County (southeast-central Texas, near the Colorado River). These were identified by Mitchell’s mother. Lavaca County lies just east of Gonzales County, in whose town of Gonzales D. B. Edward, a Scotsman, taught school prior to 1836. Edward (1836:75) app arently also resided elsewhere in
Texas, SO that it is not possible to pinpoint his observations; his catalog of birds included some with British names, but the overall list sounds convincing with its “also a few flocks of the green paroquet, whose scream is any thing but pleasant.”
Specimens and summary.-Mitchell’s report of a specimen taken in Lavaca County is doubtful; Vernon Bailey saw a specimen supposedly killed at Corpus Christi in the 1890’s. The American Museum of Natural History owns the adult male collected by G. Loucke, whose labeled locality of Brownsville was doubted by Dwight. The Geneva (Switzerland) Museum d’Histoire Naturelle has two specimens from Texas acquired in l844 from M. Merle, but without further data. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia contains in its Rivoli Collection a female without information simply labeled“Texas” (De Schauensee, 1941:294).
No seasonal summary of the parakeet in Texas is warranted. Truly pioneer accounts of the presence of the bird are almost nil and the bird’s distribution in later days, with a nearly complete absence of breeding reports, can only be called erratic. There are scattered reports for the 1880’s and a final one for perhaps the mid-1890’s.
General references.-General references to the Carolina Parakeet in Oklahoma begin with S. W. Woodhouse’s vague statement that the parakeet was “quite numerous in eastern Texas and in the Indian territory, confining itself to the timber lands of the large streams” (Sitgreaves, 1853:S9). The date is not clear; Woodhouse’s report is an account of the Zuiii expedition, not referable to Oklahoma, that took place in 1851. Woodhouse accompanied Sitgreaves, however, in Oklahoma in 1849 and 1850 in surveying the Creek Boundary line from the mouth of the Red Fork of the Arkansas westward (Warren, 1859:63-64; Hume, 1942:498) ; this would correspond more or less to the northern boundaries of present Creek and Payne Counties. The Fish and Wildlife Service files indicate that a specimen was taken, but I have no evidence for the statement. The general picture is further obscured by the fact that Baird et al. (1858:67-68) did not even mention the parakeet in Indian Territory. Baird et al. (1874, 2:587) merely stated that “in Western Louisiana, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory, they are still found in considerable numbers,” but predicted their early extinction. Coues (1874:296) cited Woodhouse’s early statement.
W. W. Cooke (1588:124) alleged that “formerly immense flocks were found all over Indian Territory,” but “Indian Territory” may have been used vaguely, and it is even less clear upon what observations he based his statement. He went on to note, however, that “at present it is almost extinct in the eastern part of the Territory, though a few are still found around Caddo [Bryan County], and in the middle and western parts they are almost as numerous as ever.” Substantiating evidence for any general abundance of the species at so late a date, especially in the western part of Oklahoma, is not available at present.
Oddly enough, the first American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list (1886: 206) noted that the parakeet was formerly found in Indian Territory, but the second edition (1895:152) changed the status and included Indian Territory, “where it is only of local occurrence.” Bendire (1895 :l-2) added very appreciably to general and specific knowledge of the parakeet’s distribution and habits, particularly in the region of the Arkansas River. He saw flocks of the birds “near several of the military posts in the Indian Territory” in the year 1860 but held that the parakeet was rapidly disappearing from all its former strongholds, especially in that Territory.
In truth, by the time Bendire wrote, the species was probably already gone, but Cory (1899:360) and Chapman (1912:145) provided a fictitious existence for a good many years. In maintaining this spurious status, Hasbrouck (1891:371) is partly to blame, for he claimed in his comprehensive review that, at the time he wrote, parakeets were still found in certain inaccessible regions of the area, and his map (facing p. 369) indicated that the bird was present in roughly the southeastern quarter of the Territory, its range not reaching quite to the eastern border.
In the present century, Ridgway (1916:147-148) reviewed rather sketchily the species’ history in Oklahoma; Nice’s admirable account appeared in 1931 with a much-needed richness of detail. A later review that included the parakeet, that of Duck and Fletcher (1945:91), is short on details; their dates of 1819 for eastern and east-central Oklahoma apparently ought to read 1820, and I cannot trace any source for their record of 1838 at Goose Neck Bend of the Arkansas River.
Eastern and east-central Oklahoma.-C. B. R. Kennerly (1859:21), reporting upon birds collected by the Whipple group of the Pacific Railroad Survey along the 35th Parallel, listed a specimen collected by H. B. Mallhausen at Fort Smith, Arkansas, very close to the eastern boundary of Oklahoma. The specimen, in the U.S. National Museum, is undated, but since Lt. Whipple’s expedition did not arrive at Fort Smith until 2 July and departed in mid-July 1853, it seems probable that it can be dated fairly precisely. Kennerly’s report makes it appear that the expedition did not see the parakeet during its trek across Oklahoma: at least no specimens were taken. However, Miillhausen (1858, 1:17) himself describes idyllic camp scenes on Poteau Creek on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line near Fort Smith with “. . . the chatter of the parrots on the nearest trees”; and a few days afterwards, in late July, he described vividly his impressions of San Bois Creek, south of the Arkansas River in Haskell County, Oklahoma (ibid.:45) : to the sights and sounds of many birds “. . . the parrot, climbing from twig to twig, puts in from time to time a few careless observations.” It is worth recording that that loquacious, impressionable German naturalist made no further mention of parakeets in the trip across Oklahoma in the valley of the Canadian River (the river being at that time of year dried to a very low level). Parakeets must have been common in the Fort Smith area, for Bendire personally saw large flocks there throughout the year 1860, and he remembered that “in the vicinity of Fort Smith, Arkansas, during the fall and winter of 1860-61,” he “frequently saw flocks of these birds in osage orange trees . . . , biting off the fruit and feeding on the tender buds. . . .” Farmers commonly shot them for damaging Indian corn and fruit (Bendire, 18%: 1-2).
In the central part of eastern Oklahoma, several rivers come together, creating, as will appear from descriptions left by explorers, what must in primeval times have been ideal conditions for parakeets. Edwin James, participant in Maj. Long’s expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1819-20, recorded that Long’s group, having just descended the Canadian River the full length of Oklahoma (in the mistaken assumption that they were on the Red River), apparently first saw parakeets at the mouth of Sand (or Topofki) Creek, in present Pontotoc County. The Canadian consisted of disconnected pools, but on 1 September 1820, James (1905, 16:164) remarked that they were now surrounded by “the sycamore, the aesculus: the mistletoe, and the paroquet,” which had been so conspicuous in the deep forests of the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys. On 5 September, in Pittsburgh County, James (ibid. : 172) recorded the first Ivory-billed Woodpecker; the Pileated Woodpecker had been seen more than a hundred miles upstream; turkeys were numerous and “the paroquet, chuck-wills-widow, wood-robin, mocking bird, and many other small birds, filled the woods with life and music.” The records of Ridgway (1916:148) and of Duck and Fletcher (1945:91) for “Falls of Canadian River,” “Shawnee Hills,” and “Canadian River at Gaines Creek” [= South Fork], all listed as 1819, undoubtedly stem from a misdating of James’s Canadian River reports, which properly belong to 1820.
In the autumn of lS32, America’s urbane and gentlemanly essayist, Washington Irving, took a surprisingly long and careful look at the West in an overland tour from Independence, Missouri, traveling into Indian Territory as far as present Oklahoma City and Norman; he later went eastward by way of steamboat down the Arkansas. That lively observer not only recorded parakeets in Kansas, as will be noted, but also saw them among what were obviously to him the romantic scenes of the vicinity of Fort Gibson (Muskogee County). Irving (1944:112) and his party left Fort Gibson and encamped on the Arkansas River a few miles upriver from the Fort on the night of 10 October: “Encampt of rangers in circular grove-rich bottom-high trees . . . trees tinted with autumn-tinkling of bells-men making messes at fires-some shooting at mark with rifles-parrots flying chattering through trees.”
On 11 October (ibid. :115) they were beyond the last settler on the Arkansas near Choska, Wagoner County: “. . . Stopped about noon in rich bottom, tall trees, fine range of Pea vines, for the horses to repose and feed for an hour-flock of paroquets-beautiful transparency of the varied autumnal leaves with the sun shining through them. . . .” There is unfortunately more of the autumnal haze than of parakeets in the finished “Tour” that came from these vivid notes. Irving’s party journeyed farther to the westward before returning to Fort Gibson, but notes covering the crucial period of late October, when Irving was in central Oklahoma, have not survived. Very raw weather began in early November and, despite very good descriptions of birds and scenery, Irving’s notes recorded nothing more on parakeets.
More than ten years later, J. W. Abert, a remarkable naturalist engaged with the Topographical Engineers of the U.S. Army, descended the valley of the Canadian River. He first recorded parakeets in Muskogee County, in the angle between the Canadian and Arkansas Rivers on 19 October 1845 (Abert, X%46:72) : “After a long march through misty low lands, where sycamore trees seemed to arch the heavens, and gaudy paroquets were circling round with rapid flight and screaming loudly among their lofty branches, we forced our way through the tangled undergrowth of spice-wood and smilax, and at length reached the banks of the Canadian just as the last rays of the sun were disappearing” (on the west side of the stream, some 18 miles from its mouth). The next day, the party was at Webber’s Falls, on the west bank of the Arkansas, Muskogee County (ibid.:73) : “The paroquets . . . , were very abundant, and numerous flocks of them were constantly darting round, describing large circles through the topmost branches of the tall trees. . . . Mr. Riely [a Cherokee Indian settled there] tells me that their flesh is very pleasant to taste, and is frequently sought for by the inhabitants of the neighborhood.”
Eliza Johnston (1957:480) noted in her diary that an officer had sent to her young daughter a “paroquet” which he shot at their camp on Gaines Creek, a tributary of the Canadian River in Pittsburgh County. The date was 6 December 1855; in their long trek from near St. Louis, overland to Texas, that was the only mention of parakeets.
Although a precise date cannot be supplied (perhaps the record may be referred to the 1850’s), Mrs. Ella Robinson, a Cherokee Indian born on the Arkansas River near Muskogee in 1847, reported that many varieties of fruit trees (apples, pears, plums, and cherries) flourished after being brought from the East. Although orchards were said to have escaped pests that later proved so troublesome, the apple crop was sometimes bothered by parakeets (Foreman, 1929:367, 369) : “. . . In the autumn small green and red parrakeets came in huge flocks, making a deafening noise with their raucous voices.
They would settle down for the night on the apple trees and literally strip the trees of every bit of fruit. They generally departed the next morning although a few sometimes lingered a short time before going further south.”
Except for Mrs. Robinson’s undated record just cited, I know of no records in the period of 1856 to 1874 for this area, but there were once two parakeet specimens in the Goss collection of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, that Nathaniel Goss collected (according to Nice, 1931:lOl) on the Neosho (= Grand) River (therefore, likely Muskogee County or vicinity), 21 October 1875. (Of these specimens, a male and a female, the male has now disappeared.)
Dramatic events occurred in the late winter of 1582 as Daniel Hector Talbot, adventurer and erratic naturalist of Sioux City, Iowa, descended the Arkansas River by boat. Talbot left Sioux City 10 February and returned there on 5 April. He and his companions went from the region of present Muskogee to Little Rock, Arkansas (T. C. Stephens, 1944; letter of J. H. Ennis, 23 November 1962). The greatest slaughter of western parakeets on record occurred, and the whole affair was hounded by misfortune. Talbot apparently took few notes on the parakeets; his diary cannot now be located, although it was available to T. C. Stephens for his biographical study just cited; Talbot left his bird collection which contained at least 25 parakeets (I’. A. DuMont, letter, 1 November 1962) to the State University of Iowa, and that institution later allowed much of the collection (the parakeets at least) to be dispersed, without keeping records of the recipients or of the specimens disposed of; secondary recipients in some cases later lost the data, if they had ever received them.
A catalog of the Talbot specimens is attempted here, complicated though it is. It must be kept in mind that labels may have been added later in some instances; at any rate, it is certain that “the mouth of Grand River,” “Fort Gibson,” “Gibson,” ‘Cherokee Nation,” and “Verdigris River” probably all mean about the same thing in this instance; Muskogee County is probably meant.
It is not clear precisely when Talbot’s party reached Indian Territory, but at least four specimens are known that bear the label “Mouth of Grand River,” and the date of 17 February (The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology has three specimens, two unsexed and one female; the Davenport (Iowa) Museum of Natural History has one, sex unknown, that has been reported, without doubt incorrectly, as state of Missouri). To this it may be possible to add one female at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, without date; the total figure tallies, at least, with the note copied by T. C. Stephens from Talbot’s diary (Ennis, letter) : “Feb. 17. Friday. After breakfast Talbot took gun and went on a bird collecting trip. Collected about 30 specimens of birds during day, including five Carolina Parakeets on Verdigris River.” Obviously, the labels were written with a free hand, as far, as locality is concerned. Another specimen, a female at the Chicago Natural History Museum, is dated 20 February but is indicated to have come from the mouth of the Grand River, a total of six from that locality. On 18 February (according to the notes now held by Ennis) one of Talbot’s companions, Miller, shot three parakeets. There is no record that any of these survived to become skins. It is not quite clear where the party was, but if the specimen of 20 February is properly dated, they must have been in the same area as on 17 February.
At any rate, there are records alleged for nearby Fort Gibson (or just Gibson), Muskogee County, as follows: the Museum of Comparative Zoology has one male and one female dated 21 February; the State University of Iowa has one female dated 20 February; and the American Museum of Natural History has two males dated 20 and 21 February. In addition to these, M. M. Nice (letter, 8 July 1961) has furnished me with data on two males taken at Fort Gibson, 20 and 21 February, and these I have been unable to trace. The Fort Gibson total: seven specimens. In addition to these specimens, the Talbot collection originally included birds collected on dates that could not have applied to Talbot’s trip, although they were probably collected for him, perhaps by someone with whom he had become acquainted on his tour. To 31 May 1882 are assigned three specimens: one male in the Koelz collection at The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology; one female at the Denver Natural History Museum; and one male (Nice, letter, 8 July 1961) which I have not yet been able to locate. As to locality, they are said to be from the Choctaw Nation: an area of considerable extent that could mean any part of present Oklahoma south of the Arkansas-- Canadian Rivers and west approximately to the eastern borders of Pontotoc and Johnston Counties. It seems more likely that they came from that part of the Nation bordering the Arkansas River: that is, Sequoyah or Haskell and Le Flare Counties.
The second date, still later in the year, is that of 1 July. Here belong a total of eight specimens: one skin of unknown sex at The University of Michigan; one male at the Museum of Comparative Zoology; two males at the Denver Natural History Museum; one female and two of unknown sex at the State University of Iowa; and one male and one female (Mrs. Nice’s letter) that I have not yet traced.
It must he pointed out that there are two specimens (one at the Davenport Natural History Museum; one at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa-formerly two at the latter place, but one has vanished) for which the present owners have no information: for various reasons, they are assumed to be from the Talbot collection. The American Museum of Natural History has also one specimen, sex unknown, merely labeled 1882, Talbot collection.
In summary, I have 31 specimens that may be attributed to the Talbot collection, supposing there to be no overlap of references; the weak point is my supposition that four specimens with full data listed by Mrs. Nice are different from the specimens without full data that I have variously listed.
A field report of Loring (J. Alden?) from Redland, Sequoyah County, April 1897 had it that there the parakeet “was very common at one time, but I was told that none have been seen in 15 years. Said to have fed extensively on ‘cockleburs’ ” (FWS file). Th e suggested date of 1882 for a last sighting is a reasonable one, since it matches that of Talbot’s raid. Talbot apparently did not, however, get all the parakeets. H. K. Coale (1894:222), during what he called a flying trip through Oklahoma and Texas, was told by Capt. Vinton, then stationed in Texas, that he had seen “a flock of green Parrots with yellow heads at Fort Gibson, Ind. Terr., in 1886. They lit in a grove near the fort and staid fully twenty minutes. NO shot gun being handy they were not molested.”
Note that the date here is 1886, but Hasbrouck (1891:377) had just earlier reported what appears to have been the same information, relayed to him by A. W. Butler, who got it from Coale: “an army officer stationed at Fort Gibson, saw and recognized a flock in 1889, which alighted in a tree directly over the spot in which he and his men were encamed. This gentlemen [sic] was acquainted with the birds in their Florida haunts, . . .” I have no way of knowing which is the correct date, but Ridgway (1916:148), in following Hasbrouck, set the fashion of considering 1889 as the last sight record for Oklahoma.
Northern Oklahoma.-It may be of interest to look at central-northern Oklahoma as a region somewhat separate from the more central and eastern part of the state, even though the great rivers of the two areas eventually merge. The earliest report that I find is that of Thomas Say, naturalist in Captain Bell’s part of the Long expedition; Bell had descended the Arkansas from La Junta, Colorado, in the summer of 1820, and the first mention of parakeets was in western Osage County, Oklahoma (James, 1905, 16:254) : the party sought refuge from the midday heat of 24 August in a strip of timberland on the banks that rose steep and high near the mouth of a large, clear stream (apparently they had just crossed Bitter Apple Creek). “A flock of paroquets flew over our heads, uttering their loud note, with their usual loquacity.” A few miles farther east on 25 August (ibid.:256), they saw another flock of parakeets. It seems pretty obvious that parakeets were common there on the Arkansas, and it is surprising that they had not been seen and commented upon farther upstream; the bias of journalists may be to blame.
The status of the parakeets over the years that followed the Long expedition is not clear, but it was noted early in the present century (Barde, 1912:112) that however hard it was to believe that the “parrot” had once been found in Oklahoma, it “was seen on Hominy Creek, in the Osage country, as late as the early 70’s.” This is present Osage County, and I have been assured by J. J. Mathews, historian of the Osage Tribe (letter, 7 September 1961)) that he long ago saw parakeet feathers decorating pieces “like ancient bandeaus, worn by self-fancying chieftains, but havin g no religious significance, I feel sure. ”
“The paroquets, . . . were indigenous,” Mathews continues. “I know this, since my father saw them some time between 1872 and perhaps 1890. They came to the old fields and ate cockleburs.” It is interesting to note that Ihe Osages (who were removed to northern Oklahoma after being forced from southwestern Missouri and adjacent areas of Kansas during the first half of the last century) have words, apparently nearly identical, for both parrot and parakeet (La Flesche, 1932:211, 302).
Red River and the south.-There are several records for this area, one a female specimen in the U.S. National Museum collected by Edward Palmer at Boggy Depot, Atoka County, 1 July 1867. Boggy Depot was in the old Choctaw Nation, and Miss Muriel H. Wright, editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma, reports to me (letter, 8 January 1963) that her father, the late Dr. E. N. Wright, told her of the parakeets that “came in large flocks and ate apples and pears in the orchard at his home [at Boggy Depot]. This must have been about 1870 because the orchard was planted about 1867. . . . The bird was described to me as a comparatively small bird with green feathers and long tail, and looked like a parrot. Their cry was shrill and screechy like a scream.”
A little to the eastward, in Choctaw County, D. C. Harrison of the Geological Survey was stationed at Spencer Academy in 1880; according to Hasbrouck (1891:377), “he found the birds very abundant, describing them as appearing in large flocks like Blackbirds, and on his return brought six specimens with him as mementos of the trip.” (His specimens are not now extant.)
The parakeet appears to have survived at least a few years past Harrison’s date of 1880 in the Caddo district of Bryan County, in the Red River valley just north of Denison, Texas. W. W. Cooke (1914:480) spent the period August 1883 to April 1884 at Caddo and of parakeets wrote that a “sharp lookout was kept for it every time that the timbered districts were visited, but none were seen. A stuffed one was still preserved that had been shot near Caddo several years previous. In 1882 a large flock was seen about 18 miles from Caddo; other smaller flocks were reported from time to time, the last being January 15, 1884 on the Blue River about eight miles from Caddo. They were, of course, resident.” C oo k e’s migration report (18883124) merely stated that a “few are still found around Caddo”; and his notes summarized in Fish and Wildlife Service files list only the flocks of 1882 and January 1884: and with the information is the notation “both reported,” which I interpret as meaning that he never saw the species personally while at Caddo. The references for Bowie and Fannin Counties, Texas, already cited, are of significance to this region.
Western Oklahoma.-The term “west” refers to the western half of the state, exclusive of the Panhandle. Cooke’s vague statement (1888:124) that “in the middle and western parts they are almost as numerous as ever” stands unconfirmed for the most part. Duck and Fletcher (1945:91) state that the species was recorded in Roger Mills County in 1853; whether this is the date of a publication unkown to me or whether it may refer to some published diary, as yet unchecked, of a member of the Whipple expedition of 1853 is not yet clarified.
Edward Palmer, who sent a specimen from Boggy Depot (see above), apparently did not take the species at the Kiowa Agency, 17 miles southwest of Fort Cobb, Caddo County, 14 March to 27 June 1867 (Nice, 1931:41, 101)) although the U. S. National Museum has a specimen collected by C. S. McCarthy or his companion at Fort Cobb 26 April 1660. (This was one of four taken by McCarthy’s party [Nice, ibid.:40, 1021; the other three were apparently exchanged by the National Museum-one was once in the collection of Canon H. B. Tristram  of Durham University, Newcastle upon Tyne, mislabeled as from Fort “Colt,” but Tristram’s collection cannot now be traced.) While Palmer did not take specimens at the Kiowa Agency, it may be noted that the Kiowa Indians do have a word for parrot (Harrington, 1928: 224) ; whether this refers to imported parrots or to parakeets cannot be said, although the latter is not an impossibility, for the Kiowas were found originally in contiguous parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado, and they went to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma in 1868 (Swanton, 1952:295).
One remaining ethnozoological item may be cited. Miss Muriel N. Wright writes describing a beautiful fan of Cheyenne Indian origin (in the Wickmiller Collection in the Oklahoma State Historical Museum) that appears to be made of parakeet feathers. The Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation, Miss Wright informs me, was in the midwestern part of Oklahoma, in the region extending south to the Washita River and east to the city of Kingfisher. Nice (1931: 102) records that Army surgeon Rodney Glisan did not include the parakeet in his list of birds of the vicinity of Fort Arbuckle, on Wild Horse Creek in Murray County, where he was stationed in 185656. As Mrs. Nice reports, the specimens from Fort Cobb in 1860 remain the most conclusive evidence for the bird’s presence in the western half of Oklahoma.
Seasonal summary for Oklahoma.-There is little information on primeval numbers of the parakeet in Oklahoma. Breeding has not been recorded, and by far most convincing records of considerable flocks of birds are from the eastern parts of the Red, Canadian, and Arkansas river valleys. I find no specific citations of the parakeet in March, June, and November, although Bendire said they were present throughout the year. For December, January, and February, there is one “flock-sighting” report each, but I here lump all of Talbot’s February specimens into one sighting. April and May have one sighting each. Besides certain reports of damage to orchards (indicating the presence of the birds in late summer and autumn), there are reports for July, August, September, and October of three, two, two, and five birds. Whether this merely reflects a greater prevalence of recorders at that season is not known. The last sight record seems to be 1886.
General observations.-N. S. Goss (1891:315-316)) a pioneer Kansas ornithologist, gave the history of the parakeet as “Formerly quite a common resident in the eastern portion of the State, but as the settlements increased along the timbered streams-their natural home-they rapidly disappeared, and for several years have ceased to be a resident, or even a visitant.” GOSS had apparently kept parakeets as pets, and mentioned their powerful bills with which they bit furniture; they would not eat corn except when forced to do so (cf. Bendire’s observations, earlier mentioned; perhaps Goss only tried dried corn). The source of his pets is not known, but he never saw the eggs in nature.
The later status of the parakeet, however, is still uncertain, despite GOSS’S statement that it was completely extirpated. Major Shufeldt (1900:254) saw a single individual “in a cornfield in the eastern part of the State of Kansas,” in the 1880’s. (It was about 1834, according to a later report by Shufeldt [1920?].) Snow (1872:5) considered the species as “formerly abundant in the woods of Eastern Kansas; now seen occasionally in districts thinly settled.”
By the turn of the century, David Lantz (1899:257) listed the species as extinct; later ornithologists followed suit (Bunker, 1913:148; Long, 1940: 444; Tordoff, 1956:329) without adding to general knowledge.
The Missouri Valley of Kansas.-The details of references to the parakeet in the Missouri River valley have been given in the account of the species in Missouri (McKinley, 1960:277-281) ; observations include those of Lewis and Clark in June 1804; Prince Paul Wilhelm, July 1823; Prince Maximilian of Wied, April 1833; Count Arese, August 1837; J. K. Townsend, April 1834; Sir C. A. Murray, summer 1834; and Audubon and E. Harris in May 1843. J. T. Irvings’ account (1955:25) of early August 1833 leaves no doubt that parakeets were common at Fort Leavenworth; as his group strolled through the forest which skirted the garrison and overhung the Missouri, their eyes “would be caught by the dazzling plumage of the little parroquets, as they whirled through the branches of the trees.” Audubon, also, found them still plentiful a decade later, and in his ascent of the Missouri in a steamboat in 1843 killed a substantial number of specimens, of which six unsexed individuals still exist (one in the American Museum of Natural History and five in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia) (de Schauensee, 1941:294; Street, 1948 : 170, 182)
Lt. J. H. Carleton (1943:34) evidently saw parakeets along the Missouri in August 1843, for he mentioned that other birds began to enliven the scene as his party reached the broken prairie region of the Big Blue. A little over a decade later, F. V. Hayden (1862:154) alleged that the parakeet was “Very abundant . . . along the thickly wooded bottoms as far up the Missouri as Fort Leavenworth, possibly as high as the mouth of the Platte,” but preserved no specimens or precise observations to prove his point, except for several birds collected at what was then called Bald Island, Nebraska, north of Kansas. Coues (1874:296) added significantly that Hayden found the parakeet higher up the Missouri than he (Coues) had ever been able to see it; Coues, a great traveler in the West, had never seen it on the Missouri River at all nor anywhere in Kansas. However, Coues failed to cite some evidence that was surely available to him, and E. L. Berthoud ( 1887: 10) recalled that in 1855-56 he had found parakeets “by no means uncommon” near Fort Leavenworth.
Otto Widmann (1907:115) related that H. C. Masters, an early settler, found “hundreds of Paroquets in the Missouri River bottom” when he settled at Iatan, Platte County, Missouri, in the early fifties; and, Widmann continued, J. R. Meade, a great Kansas pioneer, found “the beautiful scenery was varied by flocks of gaily-feathered Paroquets, chattering in the tree-tops,” as he rode the wagon trail from Leavenworth to Lawrence in the spring of 1859. H. Harris (1919:270) recorded a specimen that Bryant had taken near Kansas City in 1894 (this specimen has been stolen and no precise data exist for it) ; and in August 1904 a specimen was shot-but was too badly damaged to be preserved-by Wirt Remshurg near Atchison, Kansas (Widmann, 1907:116). The Remsburgs appear to have been interested in natural history, so theirs may be an acceptable record. Harris also recorded an observation by naturalist B. F. Bush of a lone parakeet that he watched for a time in the Courtney Bottoms near Kansas City in 1912, perhaps an escaped cage bird (American Ornithologists’ Union, 1957:267). It is interesting to note that St. Benedict’s College, Atchison, Kansas, has in its Department of Biology an unlabeled specimen of the parakeet that is reputed to have come from Platte County, Missouri, about the turn of the century (E. W. Dehner, letter, 22 September 1960).
The Southeast and the Arkansas drainage in Kansas.-When Washington Irving was on his journey to the Indian Nations (see above) in the fall of1832, he traveled overland from Independence through southeastern Kansas.On 3 October, when his party was probably on Labette Creek, Neosho County,near the present site of St. Paul, Irving noted (Irving, 1944:lOO) : “. . . arrivedat a grove on the banks of stream & encamp- . . . -wood entangledwith rich underwood-grape vines-pea vines, &c. Fine trees-flights of Perroquets-” And he mentioned (ibid.:102) “screaming of flights ofparrots” the next day, when probably on Bachelor Creek, not far from Parsons.
In May 1840, Tixier had seen parakeets in Bates County, Missouri; there, in the “prairie points”-strips of woodland following streams into prairie he had seen (Tixier, I94O:lO6) : “In the woods huge flocks of parrots . . . , uttering discordant cries.” In more central parts of Kansas, but still in the Arkansas River basin, J. W. Abert saw parakeets on the Cottonwood Fork at Council Grove, Morris County. It was 24 February 1847 and “there was much snow on the ground, and the Kansas river was blocked with ice” (Abert, 1882:59). The party had come up the Arkansas on the Santa Fe Trail, having been battered for many days by a fearful storm; mules, oxen, wild animals froze to death. In that hard weather, the party pressed on to Council Grove (Abert, 1848:128) : “Here we found grateful shelter in that noble grove whose huge walnut trees raise their limbs aloft, . . . , while their lower boughs were stretched over us to shield us from the pitiless peltin g of the storm. Paroquettes were sweeping rapidly in large circuits among the topmost branches of the ancient denizens of the forest, and their screams shrill and grating echoed through the lofty arches of boughs, . . .”
The next reference to the parakeet in this region is the significant nesting report of Goss (1886:28), who stated that “in the spring of 1858 a small flock reared their young in a large hollow limb of a giant sycamore tree, on the banks of the Neosho River, near Neosho Falls” (Woodson County). There is in the Museum of State Teachers College of Emporia, a specimen of parrot-like bird supposedly collected in Lyon County in 1890, once considered to be a parakeet (and so listed by Clarke et al., 1958:180, and by Johnston, 1960:29) ; the exact history of this specimen is not known to me, but it is not a native Carolina parakeet (D. F. Parmelee: various letters).
Valley of the Kamm River.-In October-November 1833, J. T. Irving camped in the valley of the Kansas River near Topeka (J. T. Irving, 1955: 231) : “. . . a flock of screaming parroquets came whirling through the trees; . . . They . . . alighted upon a dead tree directly above, casting side-looks down upon my roast, and from the joyous chattering that they kept up, no doubt were congratulating each other, upon having called, just in time to be invited to breakfast.” He fired at them, and “the flock whirled off, though I could hear their voices raised in a clamorous outcry . . . long after they had disappeared among the trees.”
Lt. Abert (Emory, 18483389-390) saw flocks of parakeets “circling over head, screaming and darting amid the tall walnut and sycamore trees” at the mouth of Wakaroosa River, northeastern Douglas County, on the night of 29-30 June 1846. The situation was, despite the mosquitoes, almost unbelievably congenial compared to what they met in the same region (on the north bank of the Kansas, Leavenworth County) 1 March 1847 (Abert, 1848: 130, 1882:59). On the latter date, on their way toward Fort Leavenworth, with their rations short and the river packed with ice, they saw the sun rise with a cheering brightness that they had not seen during many weeks of hard travel : “There was a majesty in the lofty groves which now surrounded us, . . . ; and there was music even in the scream of the parroquette that swept over our heads; there was a charm in everythin g, for we now really felt that our trials were at an end.”
Probably in the year 1848 Dr. W. A. Hammond, then stationed with the Army at Fort Riley (Geary County), sent to the Smithsonian Institution bird specimens that included the parakeet (Hume, 1942:178). Ridgway (1916: 148) apparently referred to this record when he listed Fort Riley “1857” as one of the definite localities for the species in Kansas-in this, he merely followed Baird et al. (1858:68), who listed a specimen which was sent to W. Couper in 1860 (P. S. Humphrey, letter, 14 May 1963). S. D. Dyer’s daughter, who arrived on the Big Blue River in Riley County in 1853, reported later that in addition to game of all kinds there were “ . . . lots of wild parroquets when we first went there, but they soon left” (Anon., 1929:24).
In the period of September-October 1854 the Rev. C. B. Boynton and T. B. Mason rode from Fort Riley to Council Grove, crossing the Kansas River on a ferry (they called it the “Smoky Hill River”). After crossing the river, presumably in Geary County (Boynton and Mason, 1855:1113-115)) “we entered at once the fine grove of timber on its eastern bank, about two miles in width, as we thought, . . . It was the merriest and finest woodland scene that we had found in Kansas. The trees were of great size, tall and thrifty, while rank vines and shrubbery of various kinds showed the exuberant fertility of the soil.” One can see the calculating fingers rubbed together! But a finer side showed also and the diarist mused about the New England countryside and its Blue Jays: “. . . while a flock of paroquets, chattering above us, reminded me that I was not in New England.”
Max Greene (1856: 105-106)) mail carrier on the overland trip toward Santa Fe, recorded that (as must commonly have occurred) as they passed up the brimming, clear Wakaroosa (Douglas-Osage Counties), amid the grovesof walnut and cottonwood trees, the kingfisher added his alto to “the concertof chattering paroquets,” while the fairest bird of the prairies, the Swallowtailed Kite, swept the high sky in graceful circles. E. L. Berthoud (1887:lO)apparently found parakeets to be common on the Kansas River as far west as Ellsworth (Ellsworth County) in 1855-56 and recalled that “As late as 1865 I saw a flock on the Smoky Hill three miles above Ft. Ellsworth”-this central Kansas record for what is essentially the Great Plains branch of the Kansas River being seemingly the westernmost report of this species for the state. (Note that Berthoud had reported [ Coues, 18771 that the species “was abundant in Kansas in 1865567, since which year I have seen but few, on Smoky Hill and Republican Forks,” but this rather inexact statement is not entirely substantiated in his more formal account just quoted.)
Yet, so far had things changed that J. A. Allen could find no late reports of the parakeet in the Leavenworth and Topeka areas in 1871 (Allen, 1872:130). David Lantz, who was a resident at Manhattan 1878 to 1904, had apparently never seen the parakeet at all, although he had been told they were formerly “common in the heavy timber along the Blue and Kansas rivers” (FWS file). Doubtless, reports of the parakeet in northern Kansas are to birds seen along tributaries of the Kansas River that flow from the northward. Heinrich Lienhard, marching for California in May 1846, saw parakeets on Big Blue River in northern Kansas (Lienhard, 1961:21). Lienhard was attracted by the loud screaming of green birds in the rather wide wooded strip that bordered the stream : “They were green parrots, the first I had ever seen wild, and the only ones I have ever come across in the United States.” In what must have been the same area (but definitely assignable to Marshall County in this case), William Kelly’s party shot and ate the abundant wild ducks and parakeets in late April 1%9 (Kelly, 1851, 1:78).
There seem to be no reports on the bird’s possible presence in western and northwestern Kansas generally. By the time of J. A. Allen’s visit in 1871, at least, there was no information extant on it at Fort Hays. Seasonal summary for Kansas.-That parakeets did not shun cold is indicated by Abert’s observations of late February and early March; there are, however, no reports for the species in Kansas during November, December,
January, and early February. For the “spring” season and the spring months of April, May, and June, there are ten records; for “summer” and July and August, six records; I find no records specifically mentioning September, but one record is for October and two are for “autumn.” Whether one ought to consider the parakeet permanently resident in Kansas or, rather, a very hardy and erratic visitant (with one nestin g report), cannot be settled from present evidence.
The checkered history of the parakeet in Colorado, undocumented by a single specimen of the species, began with what seems an acceptable report by E. L. Berthoud of Golden, Colorado, to Elliott Coues in 1876 (Coues, 1.877) that: “I saw the Carolina Parrot, at this place (lat. 39” 45’; long. 105” 8’) and at Denver, on the S. Platte, in 1860-61, and on the Little Thompson River, Col., in 1862. . . . I have also seen it near old Fort Lyon, on the Arkansas River.” Berthoud (1887:lO) later expanded this account somewhat and added what seems to be a very late date of 1877: “In 1860-61 it was seen by me in Jefferson County, repeatedly, in small flocks along Vasquez Fork of Platte river, on Bear creek, St. Vrain [a creek that runs into the South Platte River after crossing Boulder County, just north of Jefferson County], etc. In 18634 it was not uncommon on the Arkansas and Huerfano. A few years later it seems to have disappeared, and we did not see one until 1877, when two or three were noticed near Longmont [Boulder County] in a wheat field. Since that time not one has been seen by us in Central Colorado.”
Fort Lyon is in Bent County, southeastern Colorado, and on the great Arkansas River which, as has been seen, had many parakeets farther downstream, although there are no reports for the species in adjoining western and southwestern parts of Kansas. Berthoud indicates that the species was found along the Arkansas as far west as the Huerfano River, which flows into the Arkansas in Pueblo County in south-central Colorado.
Golden, however, is in Jefferson County, far into the north-central part of the state; Denver lies just to the eastward; and the Little Thompson, which originates in Rocky Mountain National Park and traverses most of Larimer County to flow into the South Platte, is even more northerly and westerly than Golden. One presumes that the birds must have reached that region by ascending the Platte River, which, of course, does not seem impossible, as there are records of the birds a considerable distance up the Platte.
Drew (1885:17), in a paper on altitudes and birds, merely cited Coues and gave no altitudes on the parakeet; Morrison (1589:67) said that the species was “formerly found in eastern part of the state, but there are no late records,” without citing authority; Hasbrouck (1891:378) gave the Coues-Berthoud records of 1877 as the only ones known from Colorado (he obviously had not seen Berthoud’s booklet of 1887), and as “the most western record for the species.”
It is a little strange that our knowledge of the parakeet in Colorado should rest upon the unelaborated testimony of one observer, but there the matter would doubtless have stayed if Elliott Coues had not uncritically identified a palpably unidentifiable bird from Zebulon Pike’s southwestern journals as a parakeet (Pike, 1895, 2:474). Pike (1X0:178), in a diary entry for 25 December 1806, said merely: “Caught a bird of a new species, having made a trap for him.” A footnote, presumably added later, expanded the meager information : “This bird was of a green color, almost the size of a quail, and had a small tuft on its head like a pheasant, and was of the carnivorous species; it differed from any bird we ever saw in the United States. We kept him with us in a small wicker cage, feeding him on meat until I left the interpreter on the Arkansaw, with whom I left it. We at one time, took a companion of the same species and put them in the same cage, when the first resident never ceased attacking the stranger until he killed him.” Coues simply ran the text and footnote together and supplied an identification (Pike, 1895, 2:474) ; H ar t and Hulbert (Pike, 1932:149) include the basic sentence only-not the footnote-but bracket in the word “parrakeet” to identify the species! Pike was at the time near Brown Canyon on the Arkansas River, a few miles above Salida, Chaffee County. Cooke (lS97-1900:81, 152, 162) at first k new only of the Berthoud records as given in Coues (1877), but a later installment of his study of Colorado birds added Pike’s allusion on the authority of Coues. The last edition of Coues’s great ornithology (1903 :616) cited the Pike record of 1806 but not that of Berthoud. W. L. Sclater (1912:215-216) was perceptive enough to realize that the bird of Pike was not a parakeet at all but reckless enough to guess that it might be the Long-crested Jay (a subspecies of Steller’s Jay) ; and A. M. Bailey kindly writes me (letter, 21 January 1963) that Aiken and Warren in their publication on the birds of El Paso County in 191,4 took Pike’s record to be the first reference to the Roadrunner in Colorado. Oddly, Ridgway (1916:148) accepted both the Berthoud (Coues, 1877) and the Pike reports as valid, although he dated the latter as 1807 in one place. Bergtold (1928:112) and Bent (194O:ll) d i d not credit Pikes’ account. It needs to be noted that the fifth edition of the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list (1957:267) does not credit any of the Colorado records; Berthoud’s work (1887) was not known to the persons making the decision to reverse former stands of the Check-list Committee (A. M. Bailey, recent letter, A. Wetmore, letter, 31 May 1963).
To A. H. Wright’s pioneer work (1912) I owe a debt that citations do not discharge, for I have rechecked all his many sources; G. M. Sutton deserves to be remembered for suggesting that this report be written at this time; Margaret M. Nice has my gratitude for recent aid and for having originally written so well on the parakeet in Oklahoma.
To the late Paul Hahn I cannot adequately record my personal and professional thanks. I once began a survey of extant specimens of the parakeet but soon discovered that Mr.Hahn had accumulated far more records than I should ever have been able to find.
For the opportunity to check his files, I am grateful not only to him but also to J. L. Baillie, with whom Mr. Hahn was associated at the Royal Ontario Museum. I am equally indebted to the Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund of the American Museum of Natural History for funds that made possible the visit to Toronto. The same financial aid enabled me to visit libraries in Toronto, Montreal, and Ann Arbor, and to check unpublished records at the Patuxent Research Refuge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A. O. Gross of Bowdoin College made his private library available, and I have had valuable help from the Van Tyne Memorial Library of the Wilson Ornithological Society.
A. W. Schorger read a preliminary draft of the manuscript and gave me several important references. I wish to thank a host of unnamed museum curators who have patiently searched out for me the data that in some cases they had not supplied to Mr. Hahn.
This paper summarizes information from various sources on the Carolina Parakeet in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Although the species may have persisted in Texas until the 1890’s, there are few satisfactory records for the state. The four specimens extant are either mislabeled or without precise date or locality. Parakeets were present in Oklahoma, with records of some sort assignable to eight months of the year. There are no definite breeding records but specimens are known from southwestern, southern, and eastern Oklahoma, the last being taken in 1882. The last sight record was 1886. Kansas records for the parakeet span most of the months from late February through October, with one breeding report and an abundance of sight records for the eastern half of the state. The only specimens extant are those taken along the Missouri River by Audubon in 1843. Records become scarce after the 1850’s although a parakeet was killed, but not preserved, in 1984. No specimens substantiate the presence of the parakeet in Colorado. The only possibly valid sight records of the bird in that state are those of Berthoud, who claimed to have seen the parakeet in central Colorado in the Platte watershed as late as 1877.
ABERT, J. W.
1846 Journal of Lieut. J. W. Abert from Bent’s fort to St. Louis, in 1845. U.S.
Senate Dot. 438, vol. 8, 29th Congress, 1st Sess.
1848 Report of Lieut. J. W. Abert, of his examination of New Mexico, in the years
1846-‘47. U.S. Senate Ex. Dot. 23, 30th Congress, 1st Sess.
1882 (List of birds observed on a march from Ft. Leavenworth to Santa Fe in
1846 and 1847.) .I. Cincinnati Sm. Nat. Hist., 5:57-59.
ALLEN, J. A.
1872 Notes of an ornithological reconnaissance of portions of Kansas, Colorado,
Wyoming, and Utah. Bull. Mm. Comp. Zool., 3:113-183.
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION
1886, 1895 The code of nomenclature and check-list of North American birds. First
and second editions.
1957 Check-list of North American birds. 5th ed.
1840 Texas in 1840; or, the emigrant’s guide to the new republic. W. W. Allen,
1874 (Texas natural history note.) Forest and Stream, 2(9) :135. 1886 (Parrots near Brownwood, Texas, summer of 1885.) The Sunny South Oologist, l(1) :5.
1929 Log cabin days. Riley County (Kansas) Hist. Sot.
BAIRD, S. F., T. M. BREWER, AND R. RIDGWAY
1874 A history of North American birds. Land birds. 3 ~01s. Boston, Little, Brown and Co.
BAIRD, S. F., J. CASSIN, AND G. N. LAWRENCE
1858 Birds. U.S. War Dept., Pacific Railroad Survey, vol. 9, pt. 2. Ex. DOC. 78, 33d U.S. Congress, 2nd Sess.
BAKER, R. H.
1956 Remarks on the former distribution of animals in eastern Texas. Texas .f. Sci.,
BARDE, F. S. (compiler)
1912 Field, forest and stream in Oklahoma. 1912 Annual Report of the State Game
and Fish Warden.
BENDIRE, C. E.
1895 Life histories of North American birds. Smithsonian Inst. Spec. Bull. 2.
BENT, A. C.
1940 Life histories of North American cuckoos, goatsuckers, hummingbirds and
their allies. U.S. Natl. Mu Bull. 176.
BERGTOLD, W. H.
1928 A guide to Colorado birds. Denver.
BERTHOUD, E. L.
1887 Birds, their geological history, migration and uses. Transcript Press, Golden, Cola.
BOYNTON, C. B., AND T. B. MASON
1855 A journey through Kansas; with sketches of Nebraska. Moores, Wilstach, Keys
8 Co., Cincinnati.
BUNKER, C. D.
1913 The birds of Kansas. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 7:137-158.
BURR, J. G.
1938 Texas fauna, past and present. Texas Geographical Msg., 2 (2) :19-30.
CARLETON, J. H.
1943 The prairie logbooks . . . 1844 . . . 1845. Ed. by L. Pelzer. Caxton Club, Chicago.
CHAPMAN, F. M.
1912 Color key to North American birds. Rev. ed. D. Appleton & Co., New York.
CLARKE, R. F., J. BREUKELMAN, AND T. F. ANDREWS
1958 An annotated check list of the vertebrates of Lyon County, Kansas. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci., 61:165-194.
COALE, H. K.
1894 Ornithological notes on a flyin g trip through Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Auk, 11:215-222.
COOKE, W. W.
1888 Report on bird migration in the Mississippi valley in the years 1884 and 1885.
U.S. Dept. Agri. Div. Econ. Omith., Bull. 2.
1897-1900 The birds of Colorado. Colorado Agric. Expt. Sta. Bull. 37, 44, 56
(Technical series no. 2, 4, 5), pp. l-239.
1914 Some winter birds of Oklahoma. Auk, 31:473-493.
CORY, C. B.
1899 The birds of eastern North America. Pt. II. Land birds. Field Columbian MUS.
1874 Birds of the northwest. U.S. Geol. Surv. of the Territories, U.S. Dept. of
Interior, Misc. Publ. 3.
1877 Western range of Conurus carolinensis. Bull. Nuttall Omith. Club, 2:50.
1903 Key to North American birds. Fifth ed. 2 ~01s. Dana Estes & Co., Boston.
DAVIS, E. C.
1887 The Carolina parrot in northern Texas. Omith. and Ool., 12:62.
DE SCHAUENSEE, R. M.
1941 Rare and extinct birds in the collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences
of Philadelphia. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 93:281-324.
DREW, F. M.
1885 On the vertical range of birds in Colorado. Auk, 2:11-18.
DUCK, L. G., AND J. B. FLETCHER
1945 A survey of the game and furbearing animals of Oklahoma. Oklahoma Game and Fish Comm., Pittman-Robertson ser. 2, State Bull. 3.
EDWARD, D. B.
1836 The history of Texas. J. A. James & Co., Cincinnati.
EMORY, W. H.
1848 Notes of a military reconnaissance, from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri, to
San Diego, in California. 1J.S. Senate Ex. Dot. 7, 30th Congress, 1st Sess.
FOREMAN, C. T.
1929 A Cherokee pioneer, Ella Floora Coodey Robinson. Chronicles of Oklahoma,
GOSS, N. S.
1886 A revised catalogue of the birds of Kansas. Kansas Publ. House, Topeka.
1891 History of the birds of Kansas. G. W. Crane & Co., Topeka.
1856 The Kanzas region: forest, prairie, desert, mountain, vale and river. Fowler &
Wells, New York.
GRISCOM, L., AND M. S. CROSBY
1925-1926 Birds of the Brownsville region, southern Texas. Auk, 42:432-440, 519-
HAGAR, C. N., AND F. M. PACKARD
1952 Check-list of the birds of the central coast of Texas. (n.p.)
HARRINGTON, J. P.
1928 Vocabulary of the Kiowa language. U.S. Bureau Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 84.
1919 Birds of the Kansas City region. Trans. Acad. Sci. St. Louis, 23:1-371.
HASBROUCK, E. M.
1891 The Carolina paroquet (Conurus carolinensis. ) Auk, 8:369-379.
HAYDEN, F. V.
1862 On the geology and natural history of the Upper Missouri. Trans. Amer. Philos. Sot., n.s., 12(l) :l-218.
HUME, E. E.
1942 Ornithologists of the United States Army Medical Corps. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore.
IRVING, J. T., JR.
1955 Indian sketches, taken during an expedition to the Pawnee tribes. Ed. by
J. F. McDermott. Univ. Oklahoma Press, Norman.
The western journals of Washington Irving. Ed. by J. F. McDermott. Univ.
Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Account of an expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, performed
in the years 1819, 1820. In Early western travels, ~01s. 14-17, ed. by R. G.
1957 The diary of Eliza (Mrs. Albert Sidney) Johnston; the Second Cavalry
comes to Texas, ed. by C. P. Roland and R. C. Robbins. Southwestern Hist.
JOIINSTON, R. F.
1960 Directory of the bird-life of Kansas. Univ. Kansas MU. Nat. Hist., Misc.
1851 An excursion to California over the prairie, Rocky Mountains, and great Sierra
Nevada. 2 ~01s. Chapman & Hall, London.
1841 Texas: the rise, progress, and prospects of the Republic of Texas. 2 ~01s.
R. Hastings, London.
KENNERLY, C. B. R.
1859 Report on birds collected on the route (near the 35th parallel). U. S. War Dept., Pacific Railroad Survey, vol. 10, pt. 6, Zoological Report, No. 3, PP. 19-35. U.S. Senate Ex. Dot. 78, 33d Congress, 2nd Sess.
La FLESCHE, F.
1932 A dictionary of the Osage language. U.S. Bureau Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 109.
LANTZ, D. E.
1899 A review of Kansas ornithology. Trans. Kansns Acad. Sci., 1632241276.
1961 From St. Louis to Sutter’s Fort, 1846. Transl. and ed. by E. G. and E. K. Gudde. Univ. Oklahoma Press, Norman.
LONG, W. S.
1940 Check-list of Kansas birds. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci., 43:43%456.
1960 The Carolina parakeet in pioneer Missouri. Wilson Bull., 72:274-287.
1858 Diary of a journey from the Mississippi to the coasts of the Pacific with a United States government expedition. Transl. by Mrs. P. Sinnett. 2 ~01s. Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, London.
MORRISON, C. F.
1889 A list of the birds of Colorado. Pt. 5. Omith. and Ool., 14:65-68.
NICE, M. M.
1931 The birds of Oklahoma. Rev. ed. Pub/. Univ. Oklahoma Biol. Sure., 3(l) :l-(Pact, F. B.) 1846 Prairiedom; rambles and scrambles in Texas or New EstrBmadura. 2nd ed. Paine & Burgess, New York.
PIKE, Z. M.
1810 An account of expeditions to the sources of the Mississippi and through the
western parts of Louisiana, . . . C. Pr A. Conrad & Co., Philadelphia.
1895 The expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike during the years 1805-6-7.
Ed. by E. Coues. 3 ~01s. F. P. Harper, New York.
1932 Zebulon Pike’s Arkansaw journal. Ed. by S. H. Hart and A. B. Hulbert. Stewart
Commission and Denver Public Library, Denver.
1916 Birds of North and Middle America. Pt. 7. U.S. Natl. MU. Bull. 50.
ROBERTS, O. M.
1881 A description of Texas, its advantages and resources. Gilbert Book CO., St. Louis.
SCLATER, W. L.
1912 A history of the birds of Colorado. Witherby & Co., London.
SHUFELDT, R. W.
1900 Chapters on the natural history of the United States. Studer Bros., New York. 1920 ( ?) Personal recollections of extinct and nearly extinct birds. The Conservationist, Albany, N. Y., 3(5) :74 (not seen; reviewed in Auk, 37:632, 1920).
1853 Report of an expedition down the Zuiii and Colorado rivers. U.S. Ex. Dot. 59, 32nd Congress, 2nd Sess.; also issued by 33rd Congress, 1st Sess., 1854.
SNOW, F. H.
1872 A catalogue of the birds of Kansas. 2nd ed. Bulletin Stream Book & Job
Printers & Engravers, Kansas City.
STEPHENS, T. C.
1944 The makers of ornithology in northwestern Iowa. Iowa Bird Life, 14:18-37.
STRECKER, J. K., JR.
1912 The birds of Texas; an annotated check-list. Baylor Univ. Bull., 15(l) :1-69.
STREET, P. B.
1948 The Edward Harris collection of birds. Wilson Bull., 60:167-184.
SWANTON, J. R.
1952 The Indian tribes of North America. U.S. Bureau Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 145.
1940 Tixier’s travels on the Osage prairies. Ed. by J. F. -McDermott; transl. By A. J. Salvan. Univ. Oklahoma Press, Norman.
TORDOFF, H. B.
1956 Check-list of the birds of Kansas. Univ. Kansas Publ. Mu. Nat. Hist., 8:307-359.
TRISTRAM, H. B.
1889 Catalogue of a collection of birds belonging to H. B. Tristram. Durham,
WARREN, G. K.
1859 Memoir to accompany the map of the territory of the United States from the
Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. U.S. War Dept., Pacific Railroad Survey, vol. 11, pp. T-120.
1907 A preliminary catalog of the birds of Missouri. Trans. Acad. Sci. St. Louis, 17 ( 1) : l-288.
WOLFE, L. R.
1956 Check-list of the birds of Texas. Kerrville, Tex.
WRIGIIT, A. H.
1912 Early records of the Carolina paroquet. Auk, 29:343-363.
LAKE ERIE COLLEGE, PAINESVILLE, OHIO, 7 JUNE 1963