Let’s swap?

My Republican friend in Washington DC (whose name must be kept a closely guarded secret because if his colleagues knew he had been meeting with an effete, European, pinko-liberal like me he would be doomed) and I came up with a great deal.  It’s going to change your life.  It’s coming soon.  And it goes like this – we swap President Obama for David Cameron. MRfiWDC will be happy and so will I – done, sorted!

Having cracked this one I have been trying to engineer another swap but I can’t find anyone, even after a few drinks, who will go for this.  How about if the USA takes back all those grey squirrels and Canada Geese and we take back our House Sparrows and Starlings?

Nobody will say yes to this one.

If you haven’t seen for yourself, you may find it difficult to believe how common these two introduced species are in the USA.  Starlings were, you may remember, the first species I saw in the USA on arrival.  And I have seen both species every day since.

I would guess that the only species I have seen every day since leaving Washington DC and starting birding are: Starling, House Sparrow, Common Grackle, American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch and American Crow.

It was a strange love of Shakespeare that may have persuaded Americans to introduce these two species to the continent.  And Starlings were released in Central Park – just a few blocks from where I am now in New York City.

Both species flourished, as non-native species sometimes do, and are spread right across the USA.  I wonder whether I’ll see them both every day – including in the Rockies?  And their success here is in contrast to their current status back home where, although quite numerous, both species have declined a lot in recent decades.

It certainly won’t be the weather that puts them off here – it’s still raining in a very British way (this is Day 5 of rain) – although I gather from home that you need more rain.  I’ll get Pres Obama to bring some with him when I send him over.