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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Here's another bird we often see here. It's the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). There are a half dozen sub-species and this is probably Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris, the Common Starling. They are not native to North America and are considered an "invasive" species. Despite that I find them attractive and they always seem to be making nice noises whenever I see them.

Although there are approximately 200 million starlings in North America, they are all descendants of approximately 60 birds (or 100) released in 1890 in Central Park, New York, by Eugene Schieffelin, who was a member of the Acclimation Society of North America reputedly trying to introduce to North America every bird species mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare.

As an introduced species, European Starlings are not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Starlings are considered a nuisance species in North America. The birds, which travel in enormous flocks, often pose dangers to air travel, disrupt cattle operations, chase off native birds, and roost on city blocks. They leave behind corrosive droppings and hundreds of millions of dollars of damage every year. In 2008, U.S. government agents poisoned, shot and trapped 1.7 million starlings, more than any other nuisance species.
(From Wikipedia)


JoJo said...

I remember the year the starlings took over my aunt & uncle's open pool cabana when they built a nest in it. Needless to say, we were dive bombed any time we got near the cabana or the diving board. And what a mess they made of the floor.

Trillian said...

Beautiful photo, it seems as if the bird is camouflaged!

Anonymous said...

Neat pic. I wrote about the "invasive" Starling on my blog some time ago. They are quite aggressive noisy birds.

Dean Lewis said...

I believe it is Starlings that can be seen sometimes at dusk flying in massive flocks in a beautifully synchronized swarm-shape that morphs and flows, circling around looking for a place to 'bed' for the night.
I can see how they could be considered a hazard to planes.
Not always a harmonious relationship with the other creatures we share this world with.

tennisjazz said...

gorgeous photo, perched on that lichen-covered oak limb