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After the Olive Fruit Fly and Bacterial Blight, the Dreaded Starling

After the olive fruit fly and bac­te­r­ial blight, star­lings threaten Italian olive oil oil, in Apulia in par­tic­u­lar.

Local con­gress­man Giovanni Epifani, in a note addressed to the Regional Councilor for Agriculture and the Apulian mem­bers of the European Parliament, said: I would demand a per­ma­nent deci­sion to insert the stur­nus vol­garis (com­mon star­ling) among the hunt­able bird species, in order to limit the seri­ous dam­ages that this wild bird is caus­ing to Apulian agri­cul­ture.”

Starlings are able to eat up to 5 kilos of olives per day and present a real threat to farm­ers. Their pres­ence in Italy is not new: these birds set­tle in Southern Italy (espe­cially in Apulia and Sicily), although dam­ages have been reported in Emilia-Romagna and Abruzzo where they find sus­te­nance in the farm­lands, vine­yards and olive groves.

In addi­tion to raid­ing crops, the star­lings, mov­ing in flocks of thou­sands, blem­ish veg­eta­bles and fruits with drop­pings, mak­ing them no longer mar­ketable.

Flock of Starling

Epifani explained: The ques­tion must be fore­most addressed to the EU because the goal needs to be the inclu­sion of com­mon star­lings among the hunt­able species through­out the hunt­ing sea­son. An EU Directive (79/409/EEC) actu­ally sets a gen­eral sys­tem of pro­tec­tion for all species of star­ling, by insert­ing, incor­rectly, the stur­nus vol­garis among the…

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