Monday, March 24, 2014

Dylan Winter and the Starling Murmurations

North Americans know the Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as a pest. It was was introduced when the head of the "American Acclimatization Society", a wealthy drug manufacturer named Eugene Scheiffelin, released 60 birds he had imported from England in New York City's Central Park in 1890. He released 40 more the following year. Scheiffelin wanted to introduce all birds mentioned in William Shakespeare's works to America in order to help European immigrants feel comfortable in their new home.

Not surprisingly, the starlings didn't confine themselves to Central Park. They now inhabit North American in large numbers. Eugene Scheiffelin's name will live in infamy.

Beside being unattractive birds, they can be aggressive toward smaller species. Starlings often displace Purple Martins from their homes. They eat bird food intended for others. Large flocks leave quite a mess behind. Despite their reputation, starlings are wonderful at controlling insect pests. Furthermore, their flights can be amazing, especially in flocks of thousands.

Enjoy the following video: Dylan Winter and the Starling Murmurations.

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