European Starling - AP Environmental Science at Seton

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Devon Denman
Mrs. Valentine
AP Environmental Science
19 January 2012
European Starling
Hi! My name is Sturnus vulgaris, well at least that’s my scientific name. You can just call
me a European Starling-that’s what everyone usually calls me (Invasive Species: European
Starling). You’ve probably seen me around before, or at least seen one of my kind. It’s kind of
hard to miss us. We tend to draw attention to ourselves, seeing as our flocks can number to the
thousands (Adeney). Personally, I think our mass of thousands of black, small birds like me all
moving together in unity is beautiful, but the humans tend to disagree. I would be surprised if
you said you’d never seen one of our flocks before; we live all spread throughout the entire
United States (Invasive Species: European Starling). We didn’t always live here, though. My
ancestors came all the way from Europe(European Starling). Since we are such an attractive
species-sorry if I’m coming across as conceited, but it’s true-we were introduced to America for
aesthetic purposes. In 1890, one hundred of my ancestors were brought over from Europe and
released in Central Park (Adeney). The humans were inspired by the words describing us
Starlings in Shakespeare’s play “Henry IV”, and we were brought over as part of an effort to
populate America with all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works (European Starling).
Like I said before, the humans usually seem to get annoyed by our presence. Pretty ironic, since
they were so excited to bring us into their land, but I’m not complaining. Life in America is
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great! It wasn’t hard for my ancestors to get acclimated, either, because we are habitat
generalists. We eat basically everything that seems edible, like seeds, fruit, and insects (Adeney,
European Starling). It also helps us find food when the humans have fields full of yummy food
just waiting for us! I sure do love farms. When we go to farms, we get to eat the food from their
fields, pull up new grain fields to eat the seeds, and eat any extra food left out that the cattle and
poultry didn’t eat. The humans complain about us damaging their crops and eating the cattle and
poultry feed, but if they don’t want us eating it, they shouldn’t leave it out (Adeney). I guess
such a large flock of birds like us causes damage to fields. Damaging crops isn’t the only thing
the humans complain about. They say that we contaminate food and water sources with our
droppings-but you know what health freaks humans can be (Wildlife Damage Management,
Adeney). They really seem to get angry about our droppings. Sorry, but it’s a natural process; I
can’t help it! I do feel bad, though, because sometimes when our flock is roosting in a tree, all
our droppings kill mature trees, since the accumulation of droppings are phytotoxic (Wildlife
Damage Management). Humans also get really annoyed by the fact that we help contribute to
the spread of diseases, such as the transmissible gastroenteritis virus (Adeney, Wildlife Damage
Management). Not even to mention all the times I’ve heard them complain about our noise!
They’re one species to talk-all their fancy machines make so much noise! They say our flocks
create so much noise it disturbs them (European Starling). I’ll admit that we aren’t a very wellliked species. Everyone makes it seem like we cause America so many problems. We compete
with native birds to survive. We are especially detrimental to the bluebird and woodpecker
populations, since we are cavity-nesting birds, and are taking away their habitats (Wildlife
Damage Management). We aren’t completely bad, however. I’m not a bad bird! Thanks to all the
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fruit and insects we eat, we help to disperse seeds and keep insect populations that threaten
agriculture down (Adeney).
The humans have turned to some pretty mean ways to try to control our populations.
They have numerous ideas that all seem barbaric and cruel to me! They have thought to put nets
over all their crops, trapping us, as well as to frighten us from their fields with lights, exploders,
and recorded distress calls (Adeney, Wildlife Damage Management). Some even have tried to
poison us! That has seemed to affect our population the most. Other people try to shoot us, but
that really just scares us more than anything. Imagine if you were sitting down eating your
dinner, when suddenly I decided I wanted to come and shoot you! It is terrifying, let me tell you.
I personally think that the kindest way to control our populations is to provide us with nest
boxes, so that we won’t have to take the native bird’s habitats (Adeney).
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Works Cited
Adeney, Jennifer M. "Introduced Species Summary Project." Columbia University in the City of
New York. Columbia University, 18 Oct. 2001. Web. 18 Jan. 2012.
"European Starling." Nature Alley by Nature Ali. Nature Ali, 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.
"Invasive Species: European Starling." National Invasive Species Information Center. United
States Department of Agriculture, 21 July 2011. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.
"Wildlife Damage Management." Libraries | Colorado State University. Colorado State
University. Web. 16 Jan. 2012. <>.