The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings


From left to right: the Carolina parakeet as drawn by John J. Audubon, Martha the last passenger pigeon, and Lonesome George the last Pinta Island tortoise. Public domain, public domain, AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We examine the stories of this endling and two others to see how abundant species can quickly become extinct.

Tracy's Research:

  • Nijhuis, Michelle. “What Do You Call the Last of a Species?” The New Yorker. 3/2/2017. https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/what-do-you-call-the-last-of-a-species
  • Audubon. “The last Carolina Parakeet.” John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. http://johnjames.audubon.org/last-carolina-parakeet
  • Audubon, John J. “Plate 26: Carolina Parrot.” John J. Audubon’s Birds of America. http://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/carolina-parrot
  • Colvin, Thagard. “The Extinct Carolina Parakeet.” Outdoor Alabama. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. http://www.outdooralabama.com/extinct-carolina-parakeet
  • Powell, William S. “Carolina Parakeet.” NCPedia. 2006. https://www.ncpedia.org/carolina-parakeet
  • Rosen, Jonathan. “What a little bird told us.” Los Angeles Times. 2/24/2008. http://www.latimes.com/la-op-rosen24feb24-story.html
  • Marshall, Tom. “The Carolina Parakeet Mystery.” The AFA Watchbird. March/April 1988. https://journals.tdl.org/watchbird/index.php/watchbird/article/view/1281/1260
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “Explore Our Collections: ‘Martha,’ The Last Passenger Pigeon.” https://naturalhistory.si.edu/onehundredyears/featured_objects/martha2.html
  • Smithsonian. “The Passenger Pigeon.” https://www.si.edu/spotlight/passenger-pigeon
  • Souder, William. “100 Years After Her Death, Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon, Still Resonates.” Smithsonian. 9/2014. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/100-years-after-death-martha-last-passenger-pigeon-still-resonates-180952445/
  • Calamur, Krishnadev. “The Flight Of The Passenger Pigeon, Now 100 Years Extinct.” NPR. 9/1/2014. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/09/01/345007027/it-has-been-100-years-since-the-passenger-pigeon-became-extinct
  • Galapagos Conservancy. “Lonesome George.” https://www.galapagos.org/about_galapagos/about-galapagos/lonesome-george/
  • Galapagos Conservancy. “Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation: Project Isabela.” https://www.galapagos.org/conservation/conservation/project-areas/ecosystem-restoration/project-isabela/
  • The Telegraph. “Could Lonesome George Return from Extinction?” 12/15/2015 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/galapagos/12052147/Could-Lonesome-George-return-from-extinction.html
  • American Museum of Natural History. “Galapagos Tortoises and Evolution” https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/lonesome-george/galapagos-tortoises-and-evolution
  • American Museum of Natural History. “Lonesome George.” https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/lonesome-george/lonesome-george2/
  • Geiling, Natasha. “Lonesome George, the Last Tortoise of His Kind, Is on Posthumous Display in NYC.” Smithsonian. September 26, 2014. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/lonesome-george-last-tortoise-his-kind-posthumous-display-nyc-180952833/
  • St. Fleur, Nicholas. “Lonesome George, the Last of His Kind, Strikes His Final Pose.” 10/27/2014. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lonesome-george-the-last-of-his-kind-strikes-his-final-pose/
  • Burgio, Kevin R. et al. “Lazarus ecology: Recovering the distribution and migratory patterns of the extinct Carolina parakeet.” Ecology and Evolution. 6/12/2017. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.3135/full
  • Deane, Ruthven. “The Passenger Pigeon: Only One Bird Left.” American Ornithological Society. The Auk, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Apr., 1911) Via JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4071452
  • Saikku, Mikko. “The Extinction of the Carolina Parakeet.” Environmental History Review, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn, 1990). Via JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3984724
  • Galapagos Conservancy. “Pinta.” https://www.galapagos.org/about_galapagos/about-galapagos/the-islands/pinta/

Topics in this Podcast: 19th century, 20th century, conservation, ecology, extinction, birds, Animals, John James Audubon, U.S. history, South American history