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Message Subject Common Starling Fledgling Being Fed - Juvenile Bird Being Fed
Poster Handle 2012Portal
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The Common Starling and human culture -

"The Common Starling's gift for mimicry has long been recognised. In the medieval Welsh Mabinogion, Branwen tamed a Common Starling, "taught it words", and sent it across the Irish Sea with a message to her brothers, Bran and Manawydan, who then sailed from Wales to Ireland to rescue her.[116] Pliny the Elder claimed that these birds could be taught to speak whole sentences in Latin and Greek, and in Henry IV, William Shakespeare had Hotspur declare The king forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer. But I will find him when he is asleep, and in his ear I'll holler 'Mortimer!' Nay I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer, and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion.

Mozart's "starling song"
Mozart had a pet Common Starling which could sing part of his Piano Concerto in G Major (KV. 453).[106] He had bought it from a shop after hearing it sing a phrase from a work he wrote six weeks previously, which had not yet been performed in public. He became very attached to the bird and arranged an elaborate funeral for it when it died three years later. It has been suggested that his A Musical Joke (K. 522) might be written in the comical, inconsequential style of a Starling's vocalisation.[33] Other people who have owned Common Starlings report how adept they are at picking up phrases and expressions. The words have no meaning for the Starling, so they often mix them up or use them on what to humans are inappropriate occasions in their songs.[117] Their ability at mimicry is so great that strangers have looked in vain for the human they think they have just heard speak.[33]"
[link to en.wikipedia.org]
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