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Starlings are in Tenn. because of NY idea

2:06 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee biology professor says the noisy gatherings of European starlings in cities across Tennessee can be traced to an idea that seemed charming at the time.

The thick, loud roosting flocks prefer urban settings and have become a nuisance. Their feces can carry histoplasmosis, which is a respiratory disease.

East Tennessee State University professor Fred Alsop told the Johnson City Press the starlings found in Tennessee spring from a species found in western Europe.

Alsop said a society studying the sonnets of William Shakespeare in New York City in 1890 thought it would be fun to have some of the birds the bard wrote about.

By 1920, the 100 starlings released in New York had become large flocks and migrated as far south as Tennessee.

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