| Male Golden Oriole / RGalea|
Across Europe and the world, birds are part of our shared global heritage. They move freely between countries and have no respect for lines on maps or international boundaries. What happens in one country can have enormous impacts on the conservation efforts of another.
Studying aspects of bird ecology and biology is crucial in terms of ensuring their conservation and long-term survival. But why does that matter?
Here are just some of the reasons why Ornithology (the study of birds) is important for us and for them:
- Birds have a key role to play within the environment and their removal can have catastrophic results. For example, the collapse of bird of prey populations, often due to human persecution, often results in population explosions of pest species (such as rats and mice). This can result in outbreaks of human disease or crop failures.
Birds are “key indicator species” to the overall health of the environment. In other words, they warn us of the onset of environmental problems that might go on to affect other species including humans.
They are a key factor in terms of ecotourism, with birdwatching being a major source of income to local economies.
Many species are now rare, endangered or declining (often due to human interactions). We have a legal obligation to protect them under European and national law, and a moral obligation to protect them for our children.
Throughout human history, birds have been an integral part of our interaction with nature, featuring prominently in art and literature from ancient times right up to modern day. They form an important part of our heritage and play an important part in our enjoyment of nature.