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Mar 8, 2011

200,000,000 starlings take over

The 2011 Cornell/Aububon/Bird Studies Canada Great Backyard Bird Count has just announced that the most numerous bird counted this year was the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - a species that was entirely absent from North American before the late 19th century.   100 birds were introduced in New York's Central Park in 1890 and 1891.   The GBBC says that according to The Birds of North America Online, the descendents of these few birds now total more than 200 million are are distributed across the entire North American continent.   If the picture above is a good example of Starling behaviour, then boldness has a lot to do with their will to survive.   I  recorded only one starling on my GBBC checklist, but I suspect many more will show up soon, as winter lets go.   Below is a photo I took last spring of a Starling at one of our suet feeders.
                                                                       Photo by BarrytheBirder
This phase of the starling plumage is between winter and spring and is quite iridescent and attractive.   Starlings are described as gregarious and garrulous, and have had a substantial impact on several native species, especially for nesting habitat.   Please comment if you wish.

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