amari_z: (orange trees. bamboo 3)
Since today is traditionally celebrated as Shakespeare's birthday (if you believe that Shakespeare was in fact Shakespeare (or Shakspere, Shake-speare, Shakspeare, Shakespere but apparently maybe not Shakspear), I thought this bit from The NY Times Magazine was amusing:

European starlings have a way of appearing in unexpected places — the United States, for example, where they are not native but owe their origin to a brief reference in Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 1.” In 1890, a drug manufacturer who wanted every bird found in Shakespeare to live in America released 60 starlings in Central Park. After spending a few years nesting modestly under the eaves of the American Museum of Natural History, they went from a poetic fancy to a menacing majority; there are now upward of 200 million birds across North America, where they thrive at the expense of other cavity nesters like bluebirds and woodpeckers, eat an abundance of grain — as well as harmful insects — and occasionally bring down airplanes.

So, perhaps the pen is mightier than, etc.--or it at least can influence weirdos into geeky actions with far reaching consequences. So next time you see a starling in the U.S. be sure to thank Mr. Howeveryouspellhisname. And there is my birthday gift. ;)

If you're curious, the full article is located here and is also pasted below the cut. )

ETA: I forgot to add that as fun as it is to assign the Bard a birthday, and despite the tradition of April 23 (and it's also the day he died, by the way), if anything, he was more likely born around April 20. But, oh well.

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