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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Starlings came to NYC 129 years ago today.

Today marks the 129th anniversary of the arrival of Sturnus vulgaris AKA European starlings in NYC. A few photographs of "solo"  starlings visiting my garden at various times over the years are posted atop this entry.

And images of them visiting my place with their comrades or children can be seen in the next set of pictures.

An eccentric known as Mr. Eugene Schieffelin released them to Central Park on March 16th of 1890, after bringing them across the pond (from England).

Evidently Schieffelin loved the birds of Shakespeare and starlings fall into this category. I've written about Schieffelin and his motives for bringing these birds to Central Park in prior entries here on Blogger (including one which you may reference by clicking here).

As I stated in a posting for hometalk (in 2014): "Starlings were 'supposed' to shout, 'Mortimer! Mortimer! Mortimer! Mortimer!,' (at Hotspur's urging) in King Henry the Fourth, but 'Hotspur never has a chance to carry out his project, and Shakespeare never mentioned starlings again . . . 

" . . . There are 725 references to birds in his plays and many others in his poems. Nightingales, swans, eagles, doves and crows are mentioned often. The starling ranks with the loon and the osprey in being mentioned only once. Nevertheless, in the spring of 1890, almost 300 years after Shakespeare wrote King Henry IV, 60 starlings were released in New York's Central Park as a direct result of Hotspur's speech, and from these, and another shipment the following spring, all the starlings in North America are descended.

"The man who released the birds was Eugene Schieffelin, an elegant and eccentric figure in New York high society. The date was March 16, a cold and disagreeable Sunday, with the early morning temperature at 25. Schieffelin hoped to bring into the U.S. all the birds Shakespeare mentioned that were not native to North America. If he could have foreseen the results he might very well have made an exception in the case of the starling. For there are now more starlings in the U.S. than almost any other species, and all the evidence indicates they will soon be the most numerous birds in the land."

In any event, if you'd like to know more about European starlings, they are featured in volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:
book culture On Columbus (a bookstore on the UWS in NYC):

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:

Volume Three: ISBN: 978099637853
Now available on Amazon @ and can be ordered from any place selling books by giving them the title and/or ISBN which is 978099637853.

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