Shakespear, shaking the ecosystem with the invasion of Starling birds.

“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.”

-William Shakespear, HENRY IV, ACT 1.



It only took Shakespeare a few poetic lines and the mere mention of the ‘starling’ bird species to shake the ecological balance of North America. In the 1800’s a wealthy admirer of Shakespeare’s work released 60 of these beautifully iridescent migrants in New York with the intention of surrounding himself with the wildlife in  Shakespeare’s writing. Without a clear projection of the imbalance that would be created from the introduction of an alien species, he is costing the agriculture industry $800 million dollars annually. He brought in what is now considered one of the most damaging non-native species in the United States. Starlings are known as a bio-invasion for damaging fields, carrying diseases that infect humans and livestock, and stealing the nesting site of other birds.


It’s a shame though; these beautiful birds have a dreadful reputation when we are to blame. Farmers curse these speckled migrants, kill, trap, and hire abatement services to scare them off. I understand that they do not belong here, and that they are damaging. But take a step back and admirer these warriors. Since, from an evolutionary standpoint they have been so adapting and have created such a dominating role in our ecosystem. I think they are striking Aves specimen, I have personally mounted this deceased starling to be admired for its attractive plumage as natures gift, earth’s art.

Kirsten BrophyComment