Over the weekend, local news outlets were abuzz (atwitter?) with news of thousands of dead birds showing up all over the place in Somerset County for no apparent reason. Some people, upon seeing the ubiquitous dead birds, were worried about avian flu or West Nile Virus. Who wouldnâ€™t be, when awakening to see your lawn covered with dead birds?
The birds did not die from some avian disease, but they were poisoned by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Huh? Boid Moider? Boidicide? WTF?
Yes, it was a case of boid moider. The intended victims were European Starlings, which were eating and pooping in the grain of a Princeton Township livestock farmer (Yeah, we really do have farms in Jersey). After a few non-lethal attempts to make the birds leave failed, the U.S. Government poisoned the birds.
There are about 200 million European Starlings in the U.S. They didnâ€™t live here (hence the name â€œEuropeanâ€ Starlings) until a fellow named Eugene Schieffelin released 100 of them in Central Park in New York City in 1890 and 1891. Apparently, he released the foreign birds as part of an effort by the American Acclimatization Society â€œto fill America with all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.â€ (The European Starling appeared in Shakespeare’s “Henry IV.â€) If Eugene Schieffelin were alive today, he would no doubt be a disciple of Algore and equally oblivious to the unintended consequences of douchebaggery.
The federal geniuses decided to poison the birds on a Friday, without giving proper notice to the affected towns. This resulted in weekend calls to town officials going unanswered. These are the same type folks who will run our soon-to-be nationalized healthcare system.
Yet another success story brought to you courtesy of the federal government.