Friday, May 14, 2004

Nothing but Mortimer

I wanted to find something somewhat "withboots-esque" for my inaugural post. Lo--tonight I encountered mention of the American Acclimatization Society:

The "American Acclimatization Society" had the unfortunate goal of bringing all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works to North America. In 1890, after two failed attempts to establish them, the group released 60 European starlings in New York's Central Park. By 1950, starlings were spreading across the continent. Today there are over 200 million European starlings in North America.

Wing-ed rats, indeed. Well, I'm sure Eugene Scheifflin, who concocted this scheme, would have found a well-appointed home in the Bush administration with his tricksy science.

The article also delineates the far less "successful" plight of the Eurasian tree sparrow, which was introduced to St. Louis in the 1870s but hasn't made it too far out of Missouri. As far as I know "Eurasian tree sparrow" doesn't appear in any of Shakespeare's plays. Doesn't scan well, does it?


Blogger gwenda said...


I wish kudzu had been in Shakespeare, or was a bird, and that these people played a part in its attempt to conquer the continental U.S. I also love the fundamental disregard for the implications of introducting non-native species to another country. That's just awesome.

9:33 AM  

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