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Birds and their importance in the functioning of ecosystems

Posted in 09/18/2020

Of the more than 11 thousand species of birds that exist in the world, several of them draw attention for their colorful, showy and exuberant plumage.Also, they are easy to observe, as they emit corners and calls, and most of them have a daytime habit. Besides bringing us benefits with their contemplation, the birds perform relevant environmental services, which are essential to our life.

Among the important functions that birds perform in the functioning of ecosystems are the pollination of plants, being responsible for 5% of the pollination of plants used for our food and medicine; the dispersion of seeds, through the ingestion of them and their elimination by feces, which helps in the restoration of degraded environments; the control of pests, feeding on several insects that are considered pests for agriculture; the cleanliness of nature, because necrophagous birds like vultures eliminate waste and carcasses of dead animals; the help in the cycling of nutrients and helps in the maintenance of coral reefs; and the rapid response to environmental changes, being therefore bioindicators of the quality of environments and warning us about such changes. In addition, birds serve as inspiration for the creation of technologies that make our lives easier, such as aircraft models, bullet train optimization, and noise-free environments.

Turkey Buzzard (Cathartes aura). Photo: Thaiane Weinert da Silva.

In this way, it is clear how much we need birds in order to live in a healthier environment and for many essential resources for our survival to be maintained. We depend on the conservation not only of birds, but of biodiversity as a whole, and thus we will also avoid facing new pandemics, like the one we are currently experiencing.

Dra. Thaiane Weinert da Silva

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