Birds can be found on almost all corners of the globe. They enrich our lives. They have been part of our everyday environment, our history and our culture for thousands of years adding colour and sound wherever we are. Many are the people who take great pleasure and inspiration from watching them and listening to their songs.
Birds also provide vital insights on the general state and quality of the natural environment. Changes in bird populations reflect changes in our environment often indicating that there is something wrong and that we need to take action. Loss of birds is a threat to other species, nature and ultimately to humankind. Every living organism, including birds, is part of a food chain so every piece of this chain is important in order to keep the ecosystem balance. A disturbance to the balance could have an effect on humans.
Barn Owl © D. Nye
Some bird species provide practical solutions to problems, such as controlling insect and rodent populations. Others disperse seeds, helping to revegetate habitats and allowing the survival of many species. Other bird species act as pollinators, ensuring the survival of many flowering plants, trees and shrubs.
The term for the many ways birds (and other animals, plants and landscapes) support and improve human life is “ecosystem services”. A healthy and diverse ecosystem means a healthy world for us now and for generations to come.