Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Shakepearean birds

Q. I heard that a man who loved Shakespeare introduced the House Sparrow (English Sparrow) and the European Starling into the USA. Is that true?

A. It is partially true. In 1890 and again in 1891 Eugene Schieffelin released European Starlings into Central Park in NYC. His ambition was to introduce every bird mentioned in Shakespeare's writings into the U.S. He also attempted to introduce the bullfinch, chaffinch and nightingale, but was unsuccessful. The English Sparrow had already been introduced into this country in the1850's in a well-meaning but misguided attempt to control insect pests.

Sources: www.nycgovparks.org/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wik/Eugene Schieffelin, http://www.birds.edu/BOW/HOUSPA/

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