A European Starling in New Zealand made the news this week. This particular species is not native to New Zealand (similar to its status in North America). The woman in the video found it as a chick at a few days old and hand reared it. The bird is now bonded to humans and an ambassador to her class and the bird has quite the vocabulary.
In areas where starlings are introduced, the laws for keeping them as pets are relaxed. So if you do a bit of searching on YouTube, you can find all sorts of talking European Starlings.These birds have momentarily fooled many a birder with their ability to mimic other bird sounds (here’s a wild starling mimicking a red-tailed hawk) so it’s no surprise that these relatives of the myna family can pick up human speech when raised as young birds among humans.
This is not the first talking European Starling on YouTube. For years there was Weewoo:
And then there’s Pepper the talking starling:
Are there other talking starling videos that you like?
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped. She loves birds - it’s just the way she’s wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. She runs the popular birding blog, Birdchick.com, and has been in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities’ TV and radio stations. She’s a professional speaker and story-teller and her writing can be found in several publications including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, and Birding Business. She wrote the books 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know, Disapproving Rabbits and City Birds/Country Birds. When she’s not digiscoping, tweeting or banding birds, she’s a part-time park ranger and award-winning beekeeper.
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