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European Starlings

European Starlings were first introduced to the United States in 1890.  The story about starlings goes that one hundred starlings were released in New York's Central Park in hopes that all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works would become established in the New World.

Wish no more Shakespeare-lovers because in the case of the European starling, your wish became reality.  In the hundred years since those starlings were released the population has grown to an estimated 150-200 million birds and at certain times during the year, I would swear they are all residing in the trees around my house.

***image1***I know we are supposed to love all creatures large and small, and I also know that European starlings were supposed to have positive ecological traits. They were supposed to eat insects that bite and sting us on warm summer nights. But, for the life of me I just cannot get past the fact that I see mounds of starling-poo building up under my poor trees. Certainly, all those starling droppings cannot be a good thing.

European Starlings never achieved the insect eating greatness of a birdhouse filled with purple martins. In fact, starlings cannot seem to stay focused on the things we want them to eat. They get sidetracked eating grains from farm fields or grapes from vineyards. And, because they hang out in flocks of such tremendous number, their by-product is prodigious.

So, nowadays, most countries look upon starlings as pests more than anything else. I supposed we could change our attitude and follow the French who make starling pate (pate de sansonnet) and sell it in many stores, including airport duty free shops.

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