Make room for birds

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The life of birds in urban areas is not easy. They are under constant threat as their nesting sites are demolished and they are forcibly displaced. In fact, trees essential to their survival are being cut down to make way for new malls, homes, parking lots, highways and power lines.

In recent years, priority has been given to road construction and concrete paving projects without considering the effects of the loss of trees and other vegetation on the ecosystem, especially on birds. It happens everywhere, from big cities to towns and the countryside.

It is our responsibility to understand the vital importance of birds in urban settings and to ensure that they return to these areas.

Road engineers, city planners and authorities do not realize that without trees, birds are deprived of fruit, insects and nesting sites. Without trees, city birds are trapped. Since they have nowhere to go, they end up nesting on unsightly concrete buildings or under eaves, which is extremely dangerous for them. In fact, it is very likely, for example, that the baby birds die from the intense heat of the sun because they do not have natural shade.

Additionally, developers are obsessed with artificial landscaping and choose exotic and imported plants that barely provide shade.

A concrete example is the recent popularity of palm trees, which are unsuitable for migrating birds as they lack branches and are unable to provide shelter and food.

The growth of cities at the expense of the countryside has contributed to the disappearance of several species of birds, including the fantail, the bulbul, the Java mynah, the black-naped oriole (woodpecker) and the Asian koel, because their natural sources food was destroyed. .

Although birds are generally thought to fly long distances, Malaysian birds are not, which are not very good fliers. They are usually seen jumping from branch to branch or tree to tree in search of food. It is therefore essential that urban planning takes into account the needs of native and migratory birds, and that we create more suitable habitats for them.

Birds not only play an important role in the ecosystem, but are also essential to many food webs. For example, carnivorous birds naturally control the rat and squirrel population, thus mitigating the financial losses suffered by farmers. In addition, crop-friendly species such as bitterns and egrets feed on insects, parasites, fish, and crabs that thrive in fields.

These examples demonstrate that birds are great allies of farmers who typically rely on expensive – and often toxic and inhuman – pesticides to control animals considered to be pests.

In addition to the ecological benefits of a rich presence of birds, their movement, color and sound enrich the quality of human life. In fact, it has been proven time and time again that close contact with nature improves our physical and mental well-being.

Unfortunately, the public perception of birds is poor and they tend to be viewed as nuisances and disease vectors. If people were more aware of the vital role birds play in the environment as pollinators, seed dispersers, scavengers and predators of rodents and other small animals living in the fields, negative misconceptions about them would cease to exist. to exist.

The process of returning birds to urban areas begins with creating habitats as close to nature as possible, allowing them to thrive under the most favorable conditions. This means adding plant diversity to meet the different species of birds that depend on various plants and trees for food and shelter.

Unless more suitable trees are planted and tree felling is drastically reduced, city birds are doomed.

AN OBSERVER

Penang


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