For Birders of all Levels: Vanderbilt University is conducting research on visual perception and is focusing on the birding community to help them with their studies. They have created tests of visual recognition and memory to understand what makes expert perceivers experts. Birders of all levels of experience, from new beginners to renowned experts are invited to help by taking a series of tests, available online at http://expertise.psy.vanderbilt.edu/.
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Why Birds Matter...
Birds are important because of the role they play in the natural world as pollinators and seed disbursers, assisting with the balance of nature by eating insects. They also clean up things that would go unattended otherwise.
Birds are important TO ME because of the kinship that I feel with another living species, and the joy that they bring to me year around. Encountering spring migrants feels brand new every time! I feel responsibility for their well-being and take care not to disturb their nesting with unnecessary sounds, disturbance or habitat destruction. I respect the incredible work they do to bring about future generations.
Becky GrettonDOAS Co-President
Birds have always been an early warning system for our environment–the “canary in the coal mine.” It was the decline in bird species high on the food chain that tipped us off to the dangers of DDT and other chemicals. More recently, high altitude and high latitude birds are demonstrating the first definitive effects of global change. If science had been more advanced in the 1800s, the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon could have served as a warning about habitat destruction. This not just about protecting the birds–although that is a worthy goal–but all of these threats will ultimately reach the human race.
Andy MasonDOAS Co-President
In addition to being indicators for environmental health, birds matter because they allow people all over the world to enjoy and appreciate nature. Caring about birds often leads to caring about their habitats and creates a stewardship ethic to protect our natural resources. Birds connect communities.