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Non-native Birds

Rock Pigeon (picture by Beth Graham)

Rock Pigeon (picture by Beth Graham)

Because pigeons are considered food in Europe, explorers and settlers brought them to the colonies in North America in the 1600's.  They nest on buildings and window ledges, and have become very used to living in cities.  Normally they eat seeds and insects, but in cities they will eat many things.  Their tails are round but their wings are pointy.  They fly in flocks.

European Starling

Starling

Sturnus Vulgaris The starling was brought from England in the late 1800's by a group who were fans of the playwright William Shakespeare!  They wanted to bring all the birds mentioned in the man's plays, and the starlings quickly spread across the country.  This one is announcing his territory; they are loud and can imitate anything from hawks' hunting calls to car alarms.  Sometimes they will dump another kind of bird's eggs out of the nest to make sure it's own babies will have enough food.  They eat insects, berries, seeds, and sometimes garbage.  They live in North America, the North part of Mexico, and Canada.

House Sparrow (image by Raymond Bellhumeur)

House Sparrow (image by Raymond Bellhumeur)

The House Sparrow was, like the Starling, brought to the United States in around 1851.  They became one of the most common birds here.  They eat seeds.  The males have obvious stripes on their heads and the females are plainer.  Many are now found in cities and towns instead of in forests and fields.