Challenging Landscape

Birds aren’t furry and cuddly. But in many ways, they’re more similar to us than mammals are. Some build homes and raise families in them. Some take long winter vacations in warm places.

Yet, there is one thing humans can do that birds cannot. Birds cannot control their environment. They have only instincts to help them solve any problems they encounter.

The Malayan crested serpent eagle’s strong wings help it fly fast.

Birds’ instincts have served them well. They’ve been here 150 million years longer than humans. But now humans are changing the planet. And change is coming too quickly for many birds to adapt. Their future depends on our promise to protect them. Are they valuable enough to make the effort?

Many birds, like the Malayan crested serpent eagle, have eyes on the sides of their heads. That helps them scan the skies for predators and for prey.

The bare-faced go-away-bird was given its funny name for its featherless face.

The Value of Birds

Certainly, many types of birds are valuable to us because we eat them. Some birds are valuable because they eat pests such as insects and rodents. Many birds pollinate plants and spread seeds.

Why do birds matter? I believe they matter because birds are our last, best connection to the natural world.

The rainbow bunting’s bright colors attract mates.

A few years ago, I was in a forest in northeast India. Suddenly, I heard a deep whooshing. It was the wingbeats of a pair of great hornbills. They were flying to a tree with fruit. They had massive, yellow bills. As they climbed around in the tree, I cried out with joy. I felt joy just by being near them!

Birds do matter. And we should do all we can to protect them and the places they live.