Birds are unique living beings with their ability to fly.
There are many types of birds and we see only a few of them around the place of human residence.
The importance of birds seems minimal due to technological advancement and current lifestyle.
Many of us do not get time even to see them on a daily basis or at least once in a week.
Some of the birds are reared for humans use while others are indirectly helpful to humans.
They form a part of the food chain in the ecosystem and are a part of nature.
Importance of birds to human:
Birds are useful to human in the following ways like
1. Food: Birds are the prime source of food for humans. They produce eggs and also meat. There are many types of birds used for meat purposes like turkey, hen, ducks, geese, quails, etc.
The meat of birds is consumed as daily food in many countries depending on the type of bird available.
Their meat is called white meat and unlike red meat (beef or mutton) it is said to be healthier for the heart. Since it has less fat content, it is little safer to eat for even those with the risk of obesity and cardiac problems.
Further, the eggs are part of daily meals, cakes, ice creams even among vegetarian countries. Unlike vegetarians, some eggetarians refrain from eating meat but eat eggs.
Eggs are rich in protein and hence advised for consumption by patients suffering from debilitating diseases.
2. Economy: Birds are grown to make monetary gains. They are grown by men for business. The meat and eggs from birds are called poultry. These birds are reared in large numbers to meet the demand in markets. They are economically very viable for poultry farmers. Since they are contributing to food, the poultry business seems to be evergreen without loses unless affected by diseases.
3. In agriculture: Birds are not directly employed by man in agriculture. But they naturally serve some benefits like
a) Pollination: Birds help in cross-pollination. They carry male gametes of one plant and drop them on to female gametes of another plant. Thus they help in sexual reproduction plants. Besides birds, even the insects and wind serve the purpose. But birds play a prominent role. Cross-pollination helps in the formation of healthy seeds.
b) Fertility: Birds excreta is rich in uric acid which can readily convert to ammonia which is fertile manure to plants. The birds around the farm may contribute less to the manure. But the waste from poultry if added to the soil, it dramatically enhances the fertility.
c) Pest control: Birds rely on insects and their larva to feed themselves and their babies. So during crop season, there is the wide growth of insect population due to favorable conditions. Birds keep the growth under control and help the crop from pest attack.
d) Rodent control: Unlike insects, rodents are a big problem to crops. Rodents eat away the yield of the crop. Birds like eagles keep an eye on these rodents and carry away for consumption. Thus they keep the rodent growth under control which in-turn helps the farmers.
4. Communication: This is currently not relied upon. But in the past due to lack of technology like mobiles and emails, birds were used for communication. Pet birds like pigeons, parrots were used for communication. They were used to deliver small letters tied around their neck to nearby villages and towns. This was a swift, reliable and inexpensive method. Since the family had some birds, they could communicate with their relatives by use of birds.
5. Company: Birds are grown as pets by many. They help one avoid loneliness and provide a company. Even we come across many stories where the birds help in tracking the culprits of mischief and some birds also speak etc.
6. Games: These are banned in most parts of the world. Here hens especially male are allowed to fight for fun and gambling. This is a cause of violence to the birds. So many governments banned the bird fights.
Importance of birds in Nature:
Birds are part of nature. They contribute to the ecosystem and environment. They are helpful in following ways to nature.
1. Food chain: Birds are part of food chain. They are carnivores here. They keep a check on the overpopulation of rodents, insects and even snakes. Small birds, in general, eat up insects and their larva. While large ones like eagles hunt and kill rodents and snakes (reptiles) for food.
2. Scavengers: We might have come across birds circled a corpse of animals. Even in a forest, once an animal is left out by lions and tigers, the rest is consumed by birds. Birds are natural scavengers. They help keep the nature clean of dead and decay matter. Even they do not leave out grains or fruits which are thrown out into open places.
3. Seed propagation: Birds are the key in seed propagation. Hence we see plants growing spontaneously at different locations on the soil. The birds eat the fruit or seeds of the plants. Some of them remain undigested and get excreted as such. When these seeds reach the ground, they can germinate in favorable conditions. Thus birds help in natural seed dispersal and plant propagation.
4. Beauty to nature: Birds are the some of the creatures which add charm to the environment. Hence we see much painting with birds and even photographs of birds to reflect beauty.
Thus birds are greatly helpful to humans and nature. Due to pollution, excess use of pesticides, modernization and widespread radiation many birds are getting extinct. We need to protect them and minimize the hazards of technology on them.