Sunday, July 15, 2012


American bird watchers disparage the Starling.  The starling we have in North America is the European Starling, part of a large family of birds that includes the Myna group so popular with those wanting to teach a bird to talk.  Their squeaks, warbles, chirps and twitters are well known across the continent.  They are gregarious and social.  They have been reviled by bird-snobs for years on the incorrect theory that they are to blame for every song bird decline in the last century.  They were brought to New York at the end of the 19th Century by fans of Shakespeare.  In Henry IV Hotspur considers training a starling to repeat the name of Henry's prisoner in hopes of driving him (Henry) crazy.  The Shakespeare fans wanted each bird specie mentioned by Shakespeare (600 of them) introduced into the New World.  No doubt today an environmental impact statement would be required, and permission denied. 

The European Starling is a scruffy fellow.  Perhaps you have seen one, or fifteen, or one hundred on a power line near you:

They may not sing like a sparrow, or dive like a hawk, or soar like an eagle, but they can do this:

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