Monday, November 14, 2011


In 1890 a fellow named Eugene Schieffelin released 60 European starlings in New York's Central Park. For some odd reason he thought it important to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to America. He wasn't sure the introduction would take, so a year later he released 60 more. 

Today this invasive creature hovers precariously at around 200 million! They are opportunistic and aggressive. They are destructive of crops and some native bird populations. They will attack smaller birds to take over their nesting sites.

However, they are on occasion also amazing to watch. I saw several hundred of them today over Great Falls in an aerial display called murmuration. An incredibly large flock swirling and swooping, diving and climbing... a great mass of black birds in beautiful, graceful choreography. Awesome to witness.

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