In December 1850 George and Mary Cooper left their home in Gloucestershire and boarded the Travancore to sail to Lyttelton. Their ship carried a collection of starlings intended to begin a colony of the birds in the new country. However, it was difficult transporting birds through rough seas and extreme weather conditions. By the time the boat had left the Bay of Biscay only four starlings remained. Three of these died before the ship reached Lyttelton and the fourth escaped. It was another 11 years before starlings were successfully transported to New Zealand.
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