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European Starling Nightmare

From a hundred pairs in Central Park .... to a nightmare!

You can find European Starlings in huge flocks from coast to coast, and from Northern Canada deep into Mexico. Yet not one of these iridescent-black, yellow-billed starlings is native to the Americas. One hundred starlings were released in Central Park in New York City in 1890. From that small, misinformed beginning, starlings have now multiplied into more than 200 million birds across the country.
Support for BirdNote comes from Seattle’s Portage Bay Café & catering. Serving food raised sustainably to help preserve the soil and environment. Info at portagebaycafé.com.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

European Starling - A Nightmare?

Written by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote! 

[flock of starlings]

Mary McCann: Back in 1890, a man named Eugene Schieffelin had a dream. A resident of New York City, he wanted to be able to hear all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays.

So he brought about 100 starlings from Europe and released them into Central Park.

Today, those first 100 starlings have multiplied into more than 200 million birds. From coast to coast, from Northern Canada to deep into Mexico, you’ll find ‘em. Yet not one of these iridescent-black, yellow-billed birds is native to the Americas.

It was the starling’s ability to mimic human speech that prompted Shakespeare to mention it in his play Henry IV.

Frank Corrado: “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 taught to speak nothing but 'Mortimer', and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion."

And, although Eugene Schieffelin probably dreamt of this serenade…[one starling calling]

That dream has multiplied to this ...[loud flock of starlings]

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

Support for BirdNote comes from Seattle’s Portage Bay Café & catering. Serving food raised sustainably to help preserve the soil and environment. Info at portagebaycafé.com.

###

Call of single European Starling provided by: The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Sound recordist: G.A. Keller.
Sounds of European Starling flock provided by: Martyn Stewart at Naturesound.org
Ambient track provided by Kessler Productions.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org   March 2015/2020   Narrators: Mary McCann and Frank Corrado

ID # 031605EUSTKPLU  EUST-01b

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