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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Starling For Attention (We Have a Winner!!!)  

If you haven't figured it out already from the title, the Invasive Species Weblog is having a contest. Think up the best punny title for the post below and win a prize! The prize for this round is: A cool "Pests in your lake" decal from the Vermont DEC, plus an optional one-day Vermont park pass, if you're near Vermont and are so inclined. Post your entry (one per person) here or email it to me via invasiveblog AT

Contest ends at midnight EDT on July 11. The Invasive Species Weblog is not affiliated with the Vermont DEC, this contest is just a fun way of donating my "massive" profits from the ISW store to a good cause.


The post:

According to this story from the Berkshire Eagle, an artist has created an exhibit called "Teach the Starlings" that consists of a birdhouse and a feeder that aims to teach starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to speak the name of one of the men who first introduced the birds to the U.S. over a century ago. When a bird enters the birdhouse or visits the feeder, a motion-tripped sensor activates the recording, which repeats "Shieffelin" over and over. The artist, Brian Collier, notes that starlings can learn to mimic human sounds. He also notes "Most people think I'm a nut" :-). I think it's a pretty cool modern art exhibit - what about you?

Update: Congratulations to coco_beans for the winning contest entry "Starling for attention", which has now been installed properly at the top of this post, to be heralded by all for the life of the ISW! coco_beans chose to receive a "I've been Knotty this year" magnet as a prize. Thanks to everyone for entering, a new *Your Punny Title Here* Contest will be coming up in August.

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"His Master's Voice"

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at 7/04/2006 10:15:00 AM  

"A Starling Effort"

"S. vulgaris spawns fowl art"

By Blogger budak, at 7/05/2006 10:56:00 PM  

"What did you hear, Agent Starling?"

By Blogger John Wilkins, at 7/07/2006 12:47:00 AM  

"Quoth the starling"

Hey, can we also train them to poop on Shieffelin's grave?

By Blogger PZ Myers, at 7/07/2006 12:27:00 PM  

Talking Flying Rats

By Blogger Trish, at 7/07/2006 01:16:00 PM  

How long before someone tries to use this for advertising..."Cokeisit"..."DrinkPepsi"...

By Anonymous Avery, at 7/07/2006 01:26:00 PM  

"Pavlov’s revenge"

By Anonymous Bruce Thompson, at 7/07/2006 01:32:00 PM  


Maybe not "outsider art" strictly speaking, but it sounds good so eh.

By Blogger Matthew D Dunn, at 7/07/2006 01:36:00 PM  

Starlings Slur Shieffelin

By Anonymous Malcolm Westley, at 7/07/2006 02:23:00 PM  

"We Speak Your Name!"


"Quid Pro Quo, Clarice."


"A Little Birdie Told Me."


"And the Wind Cries.. Shieffelin."


"Birds to answer question, "Who's Your Daddy?"


"My Birdfeeder says "I tought I taw a Puddy Tat."


"Starlings to Sing for their Supper"


"Soon to come: Afflac Ducks."

(If I win, which I probably won't, email joshdobbin AT gmail dot com)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/07/2006 03:53:00 PM  

"Unholy Birdhouse Promotes Leid Shieffelin"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/07/2006 03:55:00 PM  

@avery: I would think something like that has got to have been tried in the tropics, where there are parrots (or in San Francisco for pete's sake!).

@josh and others: Loving all the entries...but it's only 1 per person! Pick your best and post it or out of fairness I will only be looking at the top one (except budak, I am liking "Fowl Art" :-)).

By Blogger Jenn, at 7/07/2006 04:09:00 PM  

Probably won't beat john wilkins, but how about

"Sing a song of Shieffelin"

By Blogger Tlazolteotl, at 7/07/2006 06:01:00 PM  

"Recordings shape the starlings' dub display"?

By Blogger MissPrism, at 7/08/2006 12:28:00 AM  

"Vocal vulgaris"


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/08/2006 09:50:00 AM  

Eagle reports on Teaching Starlings

Isn't that (or some variation thereof) the obvious, self-writing headline?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/08/2006 10:24:00 AM  

Shady chanteuses shriek "Sheiffelin"

By Blogger moioci, at 7/08/2006 10:27:00 AM  

Starling Effort

By Anonymous dc, at 7/08/2006 03:29:00 PM  

Step 2: convince the birds he is Christ

By Blogger dbpitt, at 7/08/2006 03:48:00 PM  

I pitty those birds...
Still, "Prolix, the next step for bird evolution"

By Blogger Margarida, at 7/10/2006 01:51:00 PM  

Brian Colliers Meltdown

By Blogger Dear AL, at 7/10/2006 02:35:00 PM  

"For the BIRDS" - too obvious maybe?
your humble servant,
Ancient Clown

By Blogger Ancient Clown, at 7/10/2006 04:11:00 PM  

Honeysuckle Ate My Baby

By Blogger PHSChemGuy, at 7/10/2006 05:18:00 PM  

Learn to chirp English with Mr. Sheiffelin

By Blogger captain corky, at 7/10/2006 06:13:00 PM  

"Bird-brained art gets Starling reviews"


"Starlingly Vulgar Feeder"


"the Birds and their verbs"


"Name that nut"

By Blogger Heather "Tails" Taylor, at 7/10/2006 07:54:00 PM  

"Flipping The Bird's Speech"

By Blogger Man, at 7/10/2006 08:09:00 PM  

Starling for attention

By Anonymous coco_beans, at 7/10/2006 08:36:00 PM  

StarLingo habla ici.

By Blogger CalGal, at 7/11/2006 01:00:00 AM  

"Bird Call now called Human Call"

By Blogger Mommy2Lots, at 7/11/2006 01:00:00 AM  

A Startling Effect?

By Blogger wynone, at 7/11/2006 07:44:00 AM  

SingSing Collie...

By Blogger AMINO_ONE, at 7/15/2006 02:53:00 AM  

Now would be a good time to point out that the contest ended July 11th at midnight :-)

The winner has been contacted and I will post the winning title later today.

Thanks to all for playing. A new Punny Title contest is coming soon!

By Blogger Jenn, at 7/15/2006 12:41:00 PM  

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