Towards avian conservation and more...

Towards avian conservation and more...

In the animal kingdom, birds occupy an important position. These warm-blooded vertebrates are very beneficial to human in various ways. Birds are the potential umbrella group of species for biodiversity conservation. 

They are the common denizens of the ecosystems and an indicator species of inhabited areas. They are an important tool to monitor the fate of biodiversity with changing ecological conditions.

The birds are charismatic and the most beautiful organisms. They are better known than any other taxonomic groups. Hence, they are suitable subjects for the study of community response to disturbance and for research study. Owing to their attractiveness and omnipresence, they have acquired a niche in the prose and poetry of various cultures. These winged wonders inspire great awe, especially for their ability to fly, their ability to build extraordinarily intricate nests, and the brilliant colours of their plumage.

Birds exercise biological control over injurious crop pests, thus they are good friends of farmers. They are the symbol of freedom, especially the terrestrial birds. Wings of many brightly coloured birds are used in variety of ornaments. Tail feathers of rheas are used as feather dusters in Brazil and Argentina. Many decoration pieces are made from dead specimens of birds. 

Carrion-eating birds like hawks, vultures, crows and eagles and others feed upon the carcass and decaying organic substances, thus, they are of great sanitary value. They help in creating a healthy environment and check the spread of disease. 

A number of carnivorous birds like eagles, kites and peacock act as predators.

In addition, the faecal matter of birds called guano contains nitrogen, phosphate, calcium and iron, which is extensively used as fertilisers.

The number of bird species in the world is nearly 10,000. In India, 1,250 species of birds have been reported. Karnataka alone has about 513 varieties.The common bird communities occurring in various landscapes of the Bangalore city are important species that should be protected to conserve the biodiversity. Giving more protection to birds is more beneficial compared to any other group of organisms as they play a major role in pollination of various flowering plants in the city.

India is ranked one of the 12 mega diversity countries in the tropics.But due to unscientific management of natural resources, much of our native birds are fast disappearing.Habitat quality and destruction, forest fragmentation, fire, grass cutting, speeding urbanisation, various kinds of pollution, habitat alteration, lake encroachment, extensive fishing, livestock grazing and scarcity of food sources — all are affecting the bird population in Bangalore.

About 132 Indian bird species are listed as critically endangered in the red data book. Several conservation measures, including habitat management strategies such as restoration of riparian vegetation, wetlands and check dams, increasing plant and tree diversity will help sustain the variety of bird species in Bangalore. 

Different species of fruiting and nectar plant/trees should be planted. Establishment of bird parks and sanctuaries helps to maximise the bird diversity. Periodic surveys are also helpful. Further, high anthropogenic activities should be avoided in the city landscapes to conserve these flagship species.

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