Despite much present-day attention on recently extinct North American birds species, little contemporary research has focused on the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinesis). While the last captive Carolina parakeet died 100 years ago this year, the Carolina parakeet was officially declared extinct in 1920, but they likely persisted in small, isolated populations until at least the 1930s, and perhaps longer. How this once wide-ranging and plentiful species went extinct remains a mystery. Here, we present a georeferenced dataset of Carolina parakeet sightings spanning nearly 400 years by combining both written observations and specimen data.
Because we include both observations and specimen data, the Carolina parakeet occurrence dataset presented here is the most comprehensive and rigorous datsetset on this species available. The dataset includes 861 sightings from 1564 to 1944. Each datapoint includes geographic coordinates, a measurement of uncertainty, detailed information about each sighting, and an assessment of the sighting's validity. Given that this species is so poorly understood, we make these data freely available to facilitate more research on this colorful and charismatic species.