When was the last time that you came across a bird? And which was that bird? A parrot? A crow? A pigeon? Or was it a sparrow?
Ever saw a Red Velvet Bulbul or Oriental Magpie Robin or White-throated kingfisher or White-breasted Waterhen? Try identifying these using the below picture
The birds are an incredible species having a unique ability to make feathers! There are over 18,000 species of birds existing on this Earth and they differ in their colour, size, characteristics and the food that they consume. India alone has 1301 species of birds.
Birds have indeed conquered the world without any fight with the humans. From the Penguins living in Artic to the Crested Lark which live in the hottest deserts, there are various types that have adapted to various climatic conditions of the world. Birds resemble the humans in many ways, they also build homes, love and date. They have been adopted as National Emblems for many countries like Peacock for India and Bald Eagle for the United States.
Role of Birds
With so many fascinating things about birds, they ought to play a vital role in keeping the eco-system balanced (ecological balance).
1. Cleaners: Birds like the crow, vultures, kite, etc. help clean the environment by digesting the carcass of animals and the disease-causing pathogens. They also feed on the household waste thus avoiding bad smells caused by organic wastes.
2. Maintain a balance of species: Birds like owl feed on the rodents and help maintain a balance in their numbers.
3. Pollinators: Apart from Bees and some insects, birds also play the role of the pollinators. They help spread the seeds which are essential as fruits and vegetables in our day-to-day life.
But recent years have observed a decline in the bird population. Every 1 out of 8 birds is listed as threatened species. And some are even extinct like the Dodos. A recent report states the nearly 867 Indian bird species are in an alarming overall decline rate. While another report states that a drastic decline of 80% loss among several common birds especially sparrows in cities and urban areas have been observed.
Reason for their decline
So, there must be some reason for their decline. Well, the obvious threat is humans.
1. Habitat loss: Forest is the homes after many kinds of birds. But during recent years, the requirement of wood & timber for paper & construction activities, fuel uses and land clearance for urban expansion or agricultural activities have resulted in birds losing their homes.
2. Reduced food availability: Industrialized farming methods and use of pesticides have affected the birds with problems like bioaccumulation and fevering or weakening the eggs. They also affect the prey and plants on which they feed on.
3. Hunting and poaching: Poaching of birds especially the migratory species, have resulted in a decline in the population of these species.
4. Poisoning: The sea and the fishes on which the birds (especially migratory) rely on for food are being poisoned with oil spills, plastics and microplastics. The penguins are also affected by the oil spills.
5. Climate change: Climate change has also affected the birds by changing their breeding and migratory seasons. They are also forced to move to better breeding and feeding places as they previously used to live is no longer habitable and adaptable.
6. Some other reasons:
Power grids: They electrocute the birds causing it to die
Wind farms: They are responsible for slicing of birds (especially the migratory) when unknowingly pass through the blades.
Fishing activities: While the birds dive into the sea or water bodies to catch fish, they unknowingly get harmed or caught by the hooks of long-line deployment.
Glass building and fast vehicles: There are many birds that die either because of hitting hard on glass or due to speeding vehicles while they are flying low.
Some small steps to save the birds
Beginning an individual, you can contribute and bring a change.
- The simplest thing that one can do is to provide food and water in a container which can help them overcome the heat.
- Dispose of the household waste responsibly especially the plastics
- Plant and grow native plants and trees at and near your houses. This will provide them with food and shelter.
As it is well said – “If you want to listen to Bird song, then don’t buy cages. Plant trees”
- Be aware of the products that you buy, like the notebooks, furniture, etc. and check whether they are being sourced legally and sustainably.
- Educate your friends, family and the person from whom you buy fishes about the problem the migratory birds face.
- Buy the fruits, vegetables, pulses, etc. which are grown organic. This will not only help the birds but also you from the harmful pesticides.
- If you know that an area where either the birds or migratory birds come then drive carefully at such places.
- Go out for a bird watching or trekking along with friends and family, know about endangered species and help save them.
So, a quick quiz before we end!
Try and identify these birds. Do let me know in the comments!
Only YOU can change yourself and change the WORLD!
Do read other blogs written by the same author