Science: Starlings in Distress

The starlings that make a noisy nuisance of themselves in many a U.S. town have been attacked with everything from stuffed owls to roman candles. They generally return to their roosts, loud and sassy, as soon as the crisis has passed. The current Science tells of a subtler tactic, using starling psychology.

Zoologists Hubert Frings and Joseph Jumber of Pennsylvania State College observed that starlings have a special "distress call." Sneaking into a barn one winter night, the researchers caught a starling that was sheltering there and held it up by its feet. The bird gave a piercing shriek, and the other...

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