Most Americans don't realize that a lot of birds they see every day — starlings, house sparrows, and most swans — are not native to North America, but were brought here by well-meaning dunces a century ago. Scientific American tells the story:
The Acclimatization Society released some hundred starlings in New York City’s Central Park in 1890 and 1891. By 1950 starlings could be found coast to coast, north past Hudson Bay and south into Mexico. Their North American numbers today top 200 million. As bird-watcher Jeffrey Rosen put it in a 2007 New York Times article, “It isn’t their fault that they treated an open continent much as we ourselves did.”
In Maine, we might now be facing a red deer invasion thanks (or no thanks) to a careless venison farmer. The red deer are unlikely to do to white-tails what starlings did to bluebirds, but the clueless Levant farmer who unwittingly let them loose should be held financially responsible for the renegade round-up.
As an aside: It tells you something about my home state that this story is currently the most read article in the weekend edition of the Bangor Daily News.