|Here's what the intruders looked like. Not very pretty.|
I recently learned that starlings are not native the to U.S. Eugene Schieffelin brought them here. Actually, he brought about one hundred of them from Europe and released them in Central Park. He had this obsession to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works to America, no easy task as Shakespeare mentions over 60 different birds. His experiment with starlings was wildly successful in one sense - they spread like crazy, leaving the U.S. with over 200 million of these pests. Our feeder visitors are included in that number. His attempts to introduce bullfinches, chaffinches, nightingales, skylarks, and song thrushes failed.
"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."
I read this story about Mr. Schieffelin and his plan in an excerpt from Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. And that excerpt is from this book, which I recommend snuggling up with on cold winter mornings.
|edited by Gary Schmidt and Susan M. Felch|
So, if you're still reading this, you might be interested to know that a group of starlings is called a "murmuration" AND if you've ever witnessed a starling mumuration, you know that it is a spectacular sight. I have seen this here in SW MN while driving out on the prairie. This 5 minute video captures it nicely.
From joy to joy,