Birds have always fascinated man, mostly because they can fly. Because of this, birds are common in art
and mythology, and are often used as symbols of power and authority. For example, what's the symbol of the United States?
And, what's the highest rank in Scouting?
Birds are also important economically. I'm sure you've probably enjoyed
eating chicken, turkey and eggs. You might have even tasted duck, pheasant or grouse.
Bird study is important because
there are lots of things still to be discovered. For example, "How do they find their way when migrating?" "What do all those
calls mean?" Also, did you know that a new species of bird was discovered in the United States in 2000? The Gunnison Sage
Grouse, found in Colorado, is that bird.
Birders like you have helped scientists by banding birds and recording populations
in surveys, Christmas Bird Counts and through such programs as Project Feederwatch, sponsored by the Cornell Laboratory of
Birds are an important indicator of environmental quality. Because birds can fly, they are the most mobile
of creatures. As a result, they're often the first to leave a polluted area and the first to return when it's clean. We then
can use birds to tell us about environmental problems.
The decline of the Peregrine Falcon was a clue to the danger of powerful pesticides like DDT.