Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is revered as an 18th century genius who composed some of the most sublime music ever written. The fact that a starling became his beloved pet during one of the most creative and productive periods of his short life has perplexed historians and music lovers for years. Yet the unlikely story of the great composer and his common bird is a true one, and today’s guest, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, explores it in detail in her new book, titled “Mozart’s Starling.”
Starlings are native to Europe, where Mozart lived, but they are an invasive species in North America and are widely despised for their many bad habits. But as Ms. Haupt writes, starlings are also smart, curious and beautiful – something she discovered firsthand when she adopted a starling chick as part of her research for the book.
Ms. Haupt is a naturalist, philosopher, and author of several books, including The Urban Bestiary and Crow Planet , which won the 2010 Sigurd F. Olson Writing Award. She lives in Seattle, where she joins us by phone for this interview.