Backyard Naturalists

(Photo 1, Photo 2, Map)

Spring has arrived after an unusually short and mild winter. Temperatures in Kingston this week are pushing 20°C, and you can dawn chorus loud and clear every morning. Starling flocks are becoming prominent and active around the city, especially noticeable parks like downtown’s City Park.

Like the rock pigeon, common starlings, also known as European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris) were introduced to North America by Europeans. Almost 100 starlings were released in Central Park in New York City in 1890 as part of the American Acclimatization Society, which planned to introduce every bird species from William Shakespeare’s works to the continent. From Central Park the starlings spread to much of North America. On the map above lighter colours represent the exotic range of the starlings, where they are found now but were not found prior to being brought over by people.