George and Mary Cooper – pictured in their 80s when they were long settled in New Zealand – originally sailed out with six children in 1850–51. Their descendant Anthony Carrell wrote of how the Coopers’ young son was intrigued by the birds on the ship:
Six-year-old Robert took great interest in the starlings that were onboard. It was hoped these would last the voyage and be the start of the starling colony in New Zealand. Unfortunately only four survived the tribulations of the Bay [of Biscay]. Three of these later died and the fourth escaped. It would be another 11 years before starlings were successfully introduced.
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