How Harry The Starling Liberated Liz From A Tiresome Telephone Call

Harry is a European Starling in Badger Run Wildlife Rehab’s Animal Ambassador program.



The Animal Ambassador Program

Badger Run is dedicated to helping injured and orphaned wildlife return back to the wild, but sometimes that’s not possible. Simply the nature of their injuries can be too great, or as in Harry’s case, they may represent a threat to the environment. We use some of those animals as Animal Ambassadors.

Animal ambassadors are used in over 50 educational presentations each year to schools, science camps, and different venues where children learn about local wildlife and good stewardship of the environment.

Please help us and support The Animal Ambassador Program.

Video Transcript

Hi! I’m Liz Diver, president of Badger Run Wildlife Rehab and this is my friend Harry. He’s a European Starling.

They’re not native to North America. They were brought over several years ago by someone who thought it would be fun to have some of everything ever mentioned in a William Shakespeare work here in the new world. We believe they brought over about six of them and from those six Starlings we have the billions that we do today.

They’re very invasive. They’re wiping out our native Bluebirds and many other species. They’ll destroy nests. They’ll kill babies. They’ll take them over. So here at Badger Run Wildlife Rehab we do not rehabilitate and release Starlings, but we probably get twenty or thirty starling babies brought to us every year.

Now as cute as these little guys are… as I said we don’t want to release them. However, Starlings to make great pets.

Harry here can talk, as can most Starlings, about the same as a Parakeet or Cockateel. Harry has a unique talent and that is he has phone conversations. He will make the ring sound of the Badger Run phone, which is a coyote howl, and then he will carry on the conversation. “Hello. Uhuh. Okay. Yeah. Thanks. Bye.”

Now you may think that’s cute, but “So what?” Well it actually comes in very handy.

A few weeks ago I was out in the care center feeding and cleaning and trying to get everybody ready in a hurry so I could get off to work. When my phone rang and it was a friend of mine who shall we say… tends to be a bit long winded in conversation.

I though, “Oh no…” I said listen I’ve really gotta get ready. I’ve really gotta keep going can I put you on speaker phone and set you down?

She said “Sure.”

So I put her on speaker phone and I set the phone down and Harry was immediately intrigued by what this new shiny thing was on the counter.

So he went over to check it out and my friend said. “So… can you hear me okay?” and Harry
said, “Uh huh.”

So she proceeded to go on about her latest adventures and whether she was wearing green socks or blue socks and the entire time Harry sat by the phone saying, “Yeah. Okay. Uh huh. Okay.” and at the very end I stepped in and said, “Well it’s been great talking to ya, I’ve gotta go.”

To this day my friend has no idea that she had a thirty minute conversation with a starling.

Thank you for supporting wildlife, for supporting your local rehabilitators and for supporting Badger Run Wildlife Rehab here in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Say bye Harry.

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