Birds Scientific Name: Aves

All about Birds

Birds – creatures we humans see and hear every day. The animal infiltrates our pop culture with cartoon characters such as Big Bird, Road Runner, Tweety and Foghorn Leghorn. Then, of course, there are eerier exploits such as Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which examines a small town infiltrated with thousands of angry birds.

House Finch Male Bird

House Finch Male Bird

The vast number of these creatures, sharing the Earth with mankind, makes it natural that birds are subject to human superstitions as well as cultural icons. Old folklore deems white birds the bringer of death, claims that a bird flying in your home carries a message and one of these creatures pooping on cars brings good luck for the driver.

There are over ten thousand known species of bird around the world. These winged, feather-adorned and egg-laying vertebrates inhabit the entire world from the Arctic to the Antarctic and every continent and climate in between. These creatures can range anywhere from the five millimeters of the scant Bee Hummingbird to the more grandiose nine foot ostrich.

Bird Habitats

Though prevalent in the skies above, most birds make their homes in trees, grasses and even telephone poles. These creatures’ habitats depend largely on their diet and the proximity to their food source. If a food source is present and ample, most birds all are able to adapt to any area. Birds usually maintain two habitats for warm and cold seasons. Most will fly south to warmer climates during the winter and summer in northern, cooler climates.

Nests are typically woven cup-like structures that are made from any number of materials local to their environment. Typically fine grass, twigs and sticks are used, and more sparsely applied are feathers, fur and even human trash. The species of bird living in a nest can typically be identified by the color of eggs sheltered within. Blue, glossy eggs would reveal the habitation of a bluebird, while large, gray eggs would indicate a sparrow nest, and small, white and glossy eggs might indicate a wren nest.

Domesticated birds make for endearing pets and live well in cages or aeries. Many birds are satisfied as companions to human beings, as they are usually provided ample sustenance as well as a perch

Life Cycle of Birds

These winged creatures begin their existence as eggs. The size, shape and design of these eggs vary dramatically from species to species. Bird eggs can be the common hard-shelled egg or the less-common soft-shelled egg. These animals will lay their eggs in nests that they have built, and all will care for the their young until hatched and ready to ‘fly the coop’.

Birds will commonly incubate their eggs, sitting above them to maximize the temperature of the nest. Incubation is common for mothers and fathers alike, and frequently the duty is split between the two. Nests vary as widely as birds, and while some species construct elaborate structures, others seem somewhat lazy, stealing from other animals’ nests to lay their offspring. These havens can be domes, cups, plates or burrows and can be built anywhere from the heights of the treetops to the ground-level bushes or caves.

Robins Feeding Baby Birds

Robins Feeding Baby Birds

Birds and Humans

Pets, pests, or simply part of the landscaping, birds have lived in close proximity with people since the beginning of human existence. Birds pollinate plants and trees and help to sustain agriculture, making their presence irreplaceable and invaluable. Essential though they are, if too many are found in one area, the animals can quickly establish themselves as pests.

These creatures are the second largest population of vectors only to rats, which means they can carry many diseases over great distances and can pose a serious threat to human health. In urban settings, city pigeons are a considerable pest. Most recently, Bird Flu has gained worldwide media coverage due to the animals’ abilities to spread a deadly virus. In addition to this disease, birds are also capable of spreading such diseases as tuberculosis, salmonellosis, psittacosis and other zoonotic diseases – many of which are contagious to the human species.

Bird Control – Pest Control for Birds

If you are reading this section on bird control then you probably already know how big of pests birds can be. While birds are very beneficial creatures and play a key role in the habitat it’s important to understand the impacts birds can have on your house, garden, trees, and your health. Please read our bird control page  and learn about bird exclusion techniques.

Bird Zoology

Bird Scientific Name: Aves

Birds belong to the Animalia kingdom and are part of the Aves or Neornithesclass. Carbon dating and fossil records have revealed that this animal evolved from the theropod dinosaurs of the Jurassic period some 160 million years ago. Scientists believe that birds are the only clade dinosaurs that survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction 65 million years ago.

Modern forms of these creatures have feathers, equipped with beaks, a high metabolism with a four-chambered heart, and a strong, ultra-light skeleton. These animals all have wings, though not all have the ability to fly.

Birds, especially corvids and parrots, also have a highly developed intelligence amongst the animal kingdom. Observations have been made of these creatures manufacturing and utilizing tools as well as exhibiting the ability to transmit knowledge across generational lines and make for wonderful, interactive pets in the home.