Who cares about birds - Re: [Birding-Aus] An e-mail not endorsing The Gr

To: "Lorne Johnson" <>, <>
Subject: Who cares about birds - Re: [Birding-Aus] An e-mail not endorsing The Greens
From: "michael norris" <>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2007 19:09:20 +1000
I've sent Lorne some info. about Emus and crops, written by Ian Temby, author of "Wild Neighbours".

But the question about "Who cares about birds?" when talking about environmental protection is important.

Basically I see birds as often simply epiphenomena: something that are around but not connected to environmental sustainability. It's great to see a rarity - Grey-headed Lapwing is an example - but it does not tell you much about the environment, except that it provides some habitat.

Interactions between birds and environment however is important. Think what they do they signalise (from my local point of view):

- seed dispersal e.g. Mistletoebird
- plant fertilisation, e.g. many honeyeaters
- tree pest reduction, e.g. Spotted Pardalotes
- insect and spider control: many
- snake, skink and frog control: some
- pest vertebrate control: some
- indicate human waste: Silver Gulls

They are also great warnings of climate change. Because they follow subtle processes like insect availability, soil conditions.... the increased (sometimes from zero) appearance down here of Crested Pigeons, Galahs, and - it seems - black-backed magpie hybrids are the most obvious signs of deeper change to our climate.

Comments welcome

Michael Norris
Bayside, SE Melbourne


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