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#108 Newton's Parakeet


If I had not seen the photo of the specimens at Cambridge University Museum (they are very helpful btw) I would have painted this bird much closer to a denim blue almost. The ones they have were a green-blue. I also would have had it with a black beak most likely. This is a break from what I've done so far, and is what they think was a young male. I'm going with it though. I also am painting it with a not quite as blue but not quite as green version of the two versions. In the late 1600's they were common on their island of Mascarene. It was said these parakeets were tasty too unfortunately. They also said that they were quite capable of speech, one was known to speak in both Dutch (Flemish) and French. By the mid 1700's they had become fairly rare. Most likely they were gone shortly after 1875. That was when the last specimen was collected. Some think they were still there until 1967, which is why I've included them, but that is unlikely.

I am not the best at searching the internet. I grew up mostly in the 80's after all. At first all I had seen was two colour paintings and one black and white drawing. I learned that Cambridge University's Museum had the only specimens available. I did not expect to hear back from them, but decided it was worth it to ask them if they would be able to send me a photograph or a link to one so I could see the colouring of the birds they had. I've become so skeptical of trusting the drawings and paintings done by people even if they actually saw the animal before it went extinct. They so often look nothing like the real animal. I much prefer to see a photograph of a real one, even if it is dead. Amazingly the university got back to me that same day. I was shocked and very pleased. Hopefully I have done the bird justice. I tried to give it a look as if it is about to get up to a whole lot of mischief, and maybe it isn't exactly pleased with humanity and wants to get a bit even with people for driving it to extinction.

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