At the beginning of the novel Alas, Babylon, Randy Bragg uses his binoculars to look for a Carolina parakeet. He mistakes Florence Wechek's African lovebird, Anthony, for one, which is why Florence kept seeing Randy peering at her house with the binoculars. She mistakenly worries that he is a peeping-tom.
Randy's supposed sighting of a Carolina parakeet is significant and a little ironic, because the last known bird of this species died in Central Florida where the story takes place. Randy's search for the Carolina parakeet foreshadows the same way that he will search for proof of life in America after the bombs fall. Randy's search for the parakeet reveals his sense of optimism.