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How Do You Bond With Mozart? Adopt A Starling

Naturalist and author Lyanda Lynn Haupt took her research on Mozart to a whole new level when she invited a young starling into her home.
Source: Little Brown

When beginning a new writing project, naturalist and author Lyanda Lynn Haupt takes her research seriously. For her new book, Mozart's Starling, Haupt dutifully traveled to Austria, to see Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthplace and the famed composer's grave. But then she took one big step further.

Because her book is inspired by the little-known fact that Mozart kept a pet starling, Haupt decided to adopt one of her own. She rescued a 5-day-old nestling, named it Carmen and embarked on an adventure — the likes of which she never could have imagined.

Excerpts of our conversation below have been edited for clarity and concision.


Tom Huizenga: The book is called Mozart's Starling. I think that most people, even classical music fans, probably don't know that Mozart had a pet starling.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt: If it gets in any of the Mozart biographies at all, it's usually as a footnote. But he did have a starling. He acquired the bird in 1784, when he had just completed his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G.

We have in his notebook, recorded in his hand, the date that he finished it in April of 1784. We know the first performance was scheduled for June. So

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