Rodney Sayler
Rodney Sayler

Did you hear the police siren wailing from a nearby treetop? How about the barking dog from a power line? Chances are you heard a common starling, a bird that’s making plenty of noise this time of year – not only in the Pacific Northwest but every state in the country.

Besides mimicking other bird species, starlings imitate everything from car alarms and coyotes to human speech – a remarkable ability that’s most evident in the springtime as they attract mates and defend territories, said Washington State University wildlife ecologist Rodney Sayler, whose research includes avian behavior.

With an estimated 200 million starlings in North America, they are among the most widespread and successful wild birds on the continent, he said.

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