Hand-colored print, 1860
Illinois State Museum Collection
Gift of R. Magoon Barnes
The Carolina parakeet had a green body, yellow head, and an orange mask around its eyes. It lived in flocks of 50-60 birds and was once very common in Illinois. It roosted and built nests in large hollow trees, particularly the American sycamore.
Cockleburs were the Carolina parakeet's preferred food, but it also ate hackberries and other fruits. Farmers considered it to be an orchard pest and shot it at will, causing its extinction.