Since time immemorial birds are perhaps the only creatures that have captured the imagination of human beings the most. There are more than 10,000 bird species in the world today and all are amazing in their own way. They are most beautiful, widely admired, entertaining and the most studied group of animals.

Their most strong aspect is that they survive in every habitat in every continent whether it is cold desert of Antarctic or the burning sands of Sahara, vast oceans or underground galleries of cave systems, whether plains, mountains or dense forests or the open sky, birds are everywhere.

To cope up with the difficulties of their environment birds have evolved certain peculiarities which make every species different from the other. Their adaptability is great which has made them extremely widespread, but there are others which are so specialized in form and behavior that they remain localized and then often endangered. Within this great diversity of life, the specialist, unique and record-holding species are specially deserving of our attention.

Despite their most enviable mobility, birds are threatened by all the environmental evils of the day. Much of their decline is due to the loss of habitat—rivers, plains, marshlands, forests and scrubs etc.—place where they live, feed and breed. Use of chemicals for agricultural purposes is another major factor threatening bird life globally on very large scale. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring (1962) was the first scientist who established connection between the fate of birds to that of man after examining the effects of DDT, the first modern synthetic pesticide, in wide use after World War II to control mosquitoes and other insects. She found that residue of the chemicals moved up through food chains, from the insects it was designed to kill to the creatures that ate them. It accumulated inexorably in tissues, organs, and fat in top predators such as peregrine falcons, ospreys, bald eagles, and pelicans etc. causing life threatening complications. Unfortunately, for all this mess we humans are solely responsible.

Due to human activity not only the number of birds is declining dramatically but the numerous species are facing threat of becoming extinct. According to Bird Life International (BLI), a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, more than 1,300 species—one in eight worldwide—are threatened with extinction.

According to BLI since 1500 the world has lost over 150 species of birds—an extinction rate far higher than the natural background. Today 197 species are Critically Endangered, and the Red List assessment show that things are getting worse. Particularly alarming are sharp declines in many formerly common and widespread species. This is a signal of wider environmental problems, and of the erosion of biodiversity as a whole.

Now it’s time that we must realize that decline and eventual extinction of birds does not only indicate towards the loss of bird life on the planet, but it also warns the human race that it will face the same fate very soon if we do not mend our ways.



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