Species Profiles - Birds
Five non-native bird species (rock dove (pigeon), ring-necked pheasant, European starling, house sparrow, and mute swan) are known to reproduce in Pennsylvania, as identified by the Pennsylvania Biological Survey (Hassinger et al. 1998). Ring-necked pheasants are an example of a non-native species that are not considered invasive and in fact continue to be released into the wild to increase populations.
European starling, house sparrow and pigeons can cause considerable property, agricultural, and ecological damage. Property owners in Pennsylvania reported $89,400 in damage to the USDA Wildlife Services (USWS) from European starlings in 2006 and $26,886 was spent by farmers to hire Wildlife Services to mitigate the damage.  Multiple requests to remove pigeons from airports due to the threat to avian safety occur yearly. Starlings, pigeons and house sparrows are plentiful and widely distributed in Pennsylvania. These species may fall beyond the purview of a plan intended to prevent new introductions and limit spread of populations.
Currently, there are a few non-native invasive birds breeding in Pennsylvania that could be adequately addressed in a comprehensive invasive species management plan for Pennsylvania (undoubtedly, more will be introduced in the future). An example is the mute swan (Cygnus olor). Mute swans impact native waterfowl directly through aggressive behavior, and indirectly by consuming large amounts of native vegetation.  The native whistling swan (Cygnus columbianus) is rare in Pennsylvania and greatly impacted by the increasing dominance of its aggressive European cousin (http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/swans/18302).
Note: The table below contains examples of Birds with invasive characteristics that are of concern in the World, the Nation or in the Commonwealth. Please refer to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website for current information on the regulatory status of these species in Pennsylvania.
Not Known in PA*
Widespread Occurrences**
*   Do not survive because of cold temperature intolerance or other factors
** Do not have trouble thriving and establishing populations.
  • Species listed above are just some of the species that were mentioned in the various Council documents published in 2006 and this is not a comprehensive list of invasive species in this group for Pennsylvania.
  • Whenever possible, we have linked to a Pennsylvania specific fact sheet or a federal fact sheet.
For more information on Invasive Species of National concern visit the
National Invasive Species Information Center  website.

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