Special Article – Birds Around Us

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There are around Ten thousand different species of birds worldwide and they are spread over the whole planet, from the poles to the equator. They are warm vertebrates characterised by feathers, size, colours having an exceptional streamlined body covered by feathers. Apart from a few exceptions all birds can fly hind limbs, have four toes. In most cases, jaws are covered by a horny beak. Their digestive and respiratory systems are also uniquely adapted for flight. There are some giant birds like ostrich the largest among birds (weighs up to 150 kg) the hummingbird is the tiniest bird (weighs from 1.6 g). Some of our birds are well adapted to life around human settlements and indeed many can be found only in jungles or around habitations. 

There are birds around us everywhere, some living in parks and gardens near our homes and some even sharing space with us in the heart of the city. 

We have approximately 1350 species of birds in India out of these 78 are endemic to the country rest make either short or long migrations. India has some spectacular and colourful types of birds. Indian peafowl (peacock) is an Indian national bird. 

We are bringing in a new series on birds in which we will provide you information and some fascinating facts linked to the birds and their species which we see every day around us, but just overlook due to lack of knowledge. We aim to bring awareness and create sensitivity amongst people for these little magical creatures. it will help readers in identifying beautiful birds around us which we usually presume ordinary sparrows or pigeons. It just takes a little curiosity to identify and know a little more about these direct decedents of the dinosaurs and develop a green hobby that can give you a lifetime of pleasure for free. 

Birds have a full range of senses, as well as eyesight. They can hear, smell and feel the world around them – and some have a few special tricks of their own. But a bird relies most on its vision to survive.

  • Eyesight is a bird’s most critical sense and the one it relies on the most for flight, evading predators, and finding food.
  • Hearing is birds’ second most important sense and their ears are funnel-shaped to focus sound.
  • Ears are covered with soft feathers called auricular for protection. Birds have a keen sense of vision and hearing but a poor sense of smell and taste, the majority of birds don’t distinguish smells. 

Many birds have evolved extensive camouflage techniques concealing coloration allows birds to blend into their environment which helps keep them safe from predators. 

Birds have a complex nervous system and a well-developed brain. Many birds are known to be highly teachable and intelligent. The birds’ bones are hollow inside, to lower the overall weight of the body and their lungs actually extend oxygen into their bones It’s because they need so much oxygen to fly. 

Birds have special organs air sacs in addition to lungs, as they lose lots of energy in flying and it requires a great amount of oxygen for the organism of the bird. Air sacs serve as internal compartments that hold air and facilitate internal air passage to allow birds to have a continuous flow of large volumes of air through the lungs. It enables maximum oxygenation of the blood. 

Birds play an essential role in the functioning of the world’s ecosystems, in a way that directly impacts human health, economy and food production – as well as millions of other species. 

#Birds help maintain sustainable populations level of their prey and predator species. insectivorous birds play a vital role in consuming insects that would otherwise destroy forests or crops. A recent study has shown that birds eat 400-500 million tons of insects a year. 

#Birds move seeds and pollen around and that helps in plant reproduction. Their role as pollinators benefits us directly around 5% of the plants humans use for food or medicine are pollinated by birds and when they disappear, the results can be drastic 31 species of Hawaiian bellflowers appear to have gone extinct along with the birds that pollinated them. 

# Birds help maintaining the habitats like forests, marshes and grasslands which store carbon, keep the climate stable, oxygenate the air and transform pollutants into nutrients. Seabirds play a key role in cycling nutrients and helping to fertilize marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. Seabirds travel hundreds of kilometers to feed out in the ocean and when they return, they deposit layers of droppings at their colonies. This guano leaches into the ocean and fertilizes nearby communities such as coral reefs. 

#Birds clean up when a wild animal falls anywhere in a field or forest. The sight of scavenger birds circling overhead may look foreboding, but it is both their speed of arrival and their thoroughness that makes them so valuable. It could be days before other less efficient scavengers, such as feral dogs or rats, arrive to pick at the remains. Over its lifetime, a single vulture provides waste disposal services worth around  8 lakh(approx.). Following the collapse of the population in India’s vultures, India’s feral dog population surged by 5.5 million, spreading rabies and leading to an estimated 47,300 human deaths

Mr. Manish Ahuja – Bird Lover 
Ferozpur Punjab INDIA 
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