"That I had never heard of such a bird did not surprise me.... But others more experienced also did not know of the Carolina Parakeet. The more I spoke of the bird, the more it seemed that, somehow, its existence had been a chimera. Admittedly, my survey was small and unscientific, but intelligent people who could reel off the names of various dinosaurs and identify sparrows at epic distances could not name the forgotten parakeet. I realized, forcefully, what I suppose I knew abstractly: Histories, like species, can go extinct."