American Starling Research Paper

1006 Words3 Pages

The term “European Starling” is a misnomer; the birds are currently found worldwide. However, the name was not always an incorrect designation; humans, not Mother Nature, moved these birds from their native Eurasia. In 1890 and 1891, fifty pairs of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were released in New York City. Several pairs reproduced, resulting in approximately 200 million of their descendants now living in North America. Although the man who released the birds in honor of Shakespeare could never have predicted the drastic population growth, this release marked the beginning of the non-native birds’ future as a detrimental invasive species. From coast to coast, European Starlings are now ubiquitous: in farms transmitting diseases to …show more content…

S. vulgaris are known as opportunistic feeders -- they eat whatever is available, but favor fruit crops. In 1992, starlings were one of the major bird species to damage a minimum of $4.4 million worth of grapes in the United States.(Linz, Homan, Gaulker, Penry, & Bleier, 2007) In order to reduce crop consumption, the United States Department of Agriculture has been conducting studies to test the efficacy of various deterrents placed on crops and pellets. These deterrents took advantage of the starlings’ lack of sucrase, an enzyme that is needed to break down sucrose. Adding anthraquinone-based repellents to sweet corn and blueberry among other foods was indicated to have been increasingly effective at repellency as the dosages increased.(Tupper, et al., 2014) European Starlings are voracious consumers of all crops, but additives may provide a method to reduce loss of developing …show more content…

Wintering flocks of starlings -- which can reach hundreds of thousands of birds in size -- have been known to roost in urban areas for warmth. These large groups are very noisy and messy; a roost in Omaha cost the city $200,000 in cleanup and reduction of the population. Furthermore, starlings are unwelcome because their corrosive droppings deteriorate infrastructure.(Linz, Homan, Gaulker, Penry, & Bleier, 2007) As mentioned previously, European Starlings can transmit a plethora of illnesses, so people prefer to limit interaction with the species. Wild bird feeding is a common practice throughout the United States. Although these birds are usually not the target audience, the free food increases starling populations and attracts them to reside nearby.(Galbraith, Beggs, Jones, & Stanley, 2015) Additionally, European Starling flocks are dangerous near populated areas because they interfere with aircraft. One notable incident occurred in 1960 when starlings collided with an airplane engine in Boston, killing 62 people.(Linz, Homan, Gaulker, Penry, & Bleier, 2007) European Starlings have easily adapted to living with humans; however, humans cannot seem to adapt to these bothersome

More about American Starling Research Paper

Open Document