Miller's Fact Versus Fiction Research Around Starlings Published in NYT

John MacNeill Miller '02, an assistant professor of English at Allegheny College, was recently featured in a New York Times article exploring the alleged introduction of the European Starling to the United States. A longtime folktale has held that the birds — which, today, are often regarded as a nuisance — were introduced to the country and continent in 1890 by Eugene Schieffelin, who desired to bring every bird mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to the U.S. 

"In all the places that I had seen this story before, I never saw a single reliable source from the time period when this supposedly happened," said Miller, who, before the publication of the Times article, co-authored an article on the subject, "Shakespeare’s Starlings: Literary History and the Fictions of Invasiveness," which was published in the academic journal Environmental Humanities in 2021. "Long story short, we concluded that this commonplace story is mostly fiction." 

Read the full New York Times article here (subscription required).