Animals aren't extremely ambitious. Sometimes, however, all they need is a little helpful prodding in the right direction to start conquering everything around them like warlords.
As we first pointed out a couple of weeks ago, human stupidity is always there to give them a helping hand. And where those animals threaten us with their downright creepy intelligence, it's sheer numbers and destructive power that makes us fear the ...
In the late 19th century, a group called the American Acclimatization Society released about a hundred starlings in New York City's Central Park as part of a project to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays into America. Even knowing nothing about starlings, you may recognize this as an idea that is both baffling and terrible.
"I have no idea why I'm doing this."
But if you do know something about starlings, you know they're considered a nuisance because of their habit of roosting in flocks of several million, and then tearing through crops like locusts. The starling is one of the most deeply resented birds in the avian community.
Next to Woody Woodpecker.
"MY GOD ... WHAT HAVE WE DONE?"
The released birds went on to reproduce like mad, increasing their numbers to somewhere around 200 million. By all accounts, starlings are natural terrors. They will force other birds out of their nests and eat their eggs. They swarm in those massive flocks, just eating absolutely everything they can fit in their beaks, stealing food from other species and wreaking havoc on agriculture.
And God help you if you have food left out in the open -- one feedlot in the U.S. had over 200,000 starlings lining almost every spare surface at one time, leading us to wonder why the National Guard wasn't contacted.
This is nothing a flame thrower can't fix.
In 1960, a Lockheed Electra crashed into Boston Harbor seconds after takeoff when 20,000 starlings flew into its engine, killing 62 people on board and proving that the starling's lust for seed is matched only by its thirst for blood.
"Next, we'll introduce all of Christopher Marlowe's venereal diseases to America."