“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.”
This is a quote from Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” and notable for being the reason we have so many starlings in North America today.
Eugene Schieffelin was a wealthy drug manufacturer and head of the Acclimation Society of North America. His mandate was to introduce plants and animals to the New World. Fanatical about the Bards work, he attempted to bring in every bird mentioned in his plays and poems.
Thrushes, skylarks, nightingales, house-finches, for better or worse, not all survived, but the 60 starlings released in New York’s Central Park in 1890 thrived and multiplied. And multiplied….. after only 30 years they could be found coast to coast. Being relatives of the mynah bird, starlings can be taught to whistle tunes and talk.
We do get a lot of birds where we live, so we encourage them by making sure we feed them year round.
We had the pleasure of witnessing some starlings teaching their offspring how to feed, and were lucky enough to catch a short video of the family all clamoring to be fed on the suet feeder. It was funny that here were the birds perched on the food source, and not knowing how to eat, they had to be shown. Trying to show 3 & 4 not so small young ones all at the same time, is no picnic for the poor mother. We apologize for the quality of the shoot.
Also shown in the video are Goldfinches which breed in this area and a shot of doves ~ the wife had to tap on the window to make the finches fly off like that!