The Purple Martin
August 21, 1967: Governor Hearnes had complained about the starlings at the Governor’s Mansion. On this day, five men shot and killed 2,000 birds on and around the mansion's grounds. It turned out that the birds were not starlings at all but purple martins—a valuable species protected by state and federal law. Oops!
This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.