Tuesday, February 07, 2006


European Starling, in breeding plumage
Sturnus vulgaris

“The king forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer. But I will find him when he is asleep, and in his ear I’ll holler ‘Mortimer!’ Nay I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer, and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion.”

--- from Henry IV, William Shakespeare

European starlings are said to have a population of over 200 million in North America today. They are considered pests which have taken over the nests of many native birds. Awww, so pretty, but what aggressive creatures, and relentless! Removal of their nests does not deter them from building it in the same spot the next day, and so on.

Whadda `ya know, it's Shakespeare's fault! Or, more accurately, his fan's. In the 1890s, a fan of the bard resolved to introduce to North America all the birds mentioned in his works. Today's European starlings descended from 100 individuals released in Central Park, New York. All because of that single mention in Henry IV. (More info for bird lovers here.)

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(Special thanks to isa for help in identifying this birdie. Didn't even know where to begin, whew!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a birdie!
do you know that when they com eto my house these birds invade my grass? I mean, a whole flock of them?