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The Fascination of Birds

There is probably no place on earth that has not been darkened by the shadow of a bird. This gives us some idea as to how widespread birds are.

There are more than 8,600 different species belonging to 166 families, and some, at least, have come to occupy quite a place in our lives. We feed them, breed them. Keep them as pets, hunt them with binoculars and guns, wear their feathers, and enjoy their flesh and eggs.

Animals that move are always more fascinating than immobile ones and birds score well here because they are very restless creatures. Furthermore, birds can fly and who has not envied their freedom of the skies?

Birds as a class of animals endear themselves to us because we both share an appreciation of visual stimuli. Whereas most mammals live in a world of smells and have faces dominated by enormous noses in order to perceive smells, we, in common with higher primates, depend to a large extent upon our eyes. Our ability to appreciate forms, colour, and movements stems from this faculty and at the same time predisposes us to appreciate birds, because, like us, sight is their chief sense.

Accordingly they have evolved displays that are full of visual impact; of course they have special meaning to birds, but we nevertheless find them amusing and colourful. Birds, like ourselves, also have a sound language. We find some of their voices exceedingly pleasant and it has even been suggested that some birds with sweet melodious songs have an inventive or creative musical ability.

The Life of Birds

Even while it is still inside the egg, a bird might not be altogether unaware of the outside world. Indeed it might even learn to react to its mother's call, When hatched, most birds depend upon their parents for food, warmth and protection. Once free it must keep itself clean, find enough food and roosting places and avoid trouble with enemies. Later on it will act as mate and probably as parent itself to carry out the complex task of reproduction.

Life will never be easy. Failure usually means death and survival might depend upon the bird behaving correctly at the right moment. Those that react quickly stand a better chance of survival and leaving more progeny than the tardier individuals. Animal population must produce enough surviving young in order to compensate for the loss of adults or else the species will eventually die out.

In this regard bird breeders contribute by breeding species under controlled conditions. The techniques adopted by fanciers nowadays most often than not urge many species to breed successfully as if they were in their natural habitat.


Donated by the Birds Breeders Association Club visit BBA club website



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