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Birds Watching
Concept and history of Ornithology

Ornithology is the part of biological science that studies the birds, and an ornithologist, a person is skilled or studies ornithology. This practice is as old as the earth and goes back to when it was primitive cavemen scratched on rocks and cliffs, rock traits of animals and birds they saw, watched and hunted. Even in the Holy Bible it is possible to find reports of sightings of birds by Abraham, Moses, Job, Solomon, David, Amos, and even Christ.
Nowadays, bird watching is the fastest growing activity in America: 63 million people watch birds. These pleople travel about 3,000 miles a year to several countries just to observe and learn about the bird fauna of these places.
The supporters formed a large network of volunteers who provide invaluable service to science in these countries actively participating in conservation initiatives and programs.
Watching birds is fun in the midst of nature, because it stimulates interest in looking for birds. This ensures satisfaction and relaxation without harm and capturing the birds. Walking, climbing or descending hills watching, physical strength is gained without effort, because the focus is on birds. The activity provides integration of the family, because, frequently, parents, children and close relatives remain united for generations, through this habit. The elders can encourage and stimulate young people to care about wildlife and nature conservation.

The origin of birds

200 million years ago, according to science, birds evolved from reptiles, using waste from fur of the upper limbs as a kind of parachute, began to jump and with a continuous exercise, began to fly. Hence, giant and winged reptiles were developed, the "pterosaurs". The feathers followed, and the oldest member cataloged was the "Archaeopterix", 150 million years ago.
The lithographica Archaeopteryx specimen was discovered in 1861, studied and identified by the English anatomist Richard Owen. It is a confusing mix of modern birds and primitive reptiles known as Arcosauros. The skull was similar of bird, but the jaws had teeth, a feature of reptiles, wasn't found in any modern bird. It also had a long bony tail, similar to that of some reptiles, differing from the birds, which have the caudal vertebrae fused into a short projection, being made ​​up exclusively of the tail feathers. In fact the skeleton was more like that of Arcosauros than that of modern birds, with wings like a bird and the body covered on feathers. It could be argued to be classified as reptile or a bird, but, taking the presence of feathers as a hallmark of diagnosis, paleontologists have classified it as a bird....
For some scientists, this is exactly what is expected of a "missing link": is so perfectly intermediate between two groups that generates questions about which of them should be placed. Those who defend the authenticity of this fossil, say the gypsy (Opisthocomus hoazin) is the ancestor of modern Archaeopterix, is alive and jumping along the rivers of the Amazon and Brazil. On the other hand, the assertion that birds descended from this ancestor that exist today, is hotly contested by renowned scientists who doubt it: for them, morphologically Archaeopteryx is more akin to the dinosaurs, "Was it really able to fly like birds? ". This is an issue that continues to provoke curiosity and debate for a long time.

IMPORTANCE OF BIRDS

Birds play an important role in nature, acting decisively in ecological processes, spreading seeds, pollinating flowers, ensuring adequate conditions for maintaining natural biodiversity. They act as pollinators, biological controllers of insects (reducing the spread of diseases caused by them), reptiles and other animals, and as seed dispersers.

WAYS TO WATCH BIRDS

You can do bird watching in two ways:
Hold observation, in which the viewer stands in a certain place, listening and watching the movement of birds in the canopy and lower strata of the forest, on the shores of a lake or the edge of the woods. In some cases, the use of tents, natural blankets camouflage or hiding places may be important for a useful observation!
In conclusion: it is an observation in which the observer makes his observations carefully walking or driving thru a trail, or by canoe or sailing.

HOW TO IDENTIFY A BIRD

Here are some important tips. The main part that you need to see to identify a bird, is usually located in the head. Look for lines, bands, shape, color of the beak and the eyes, neck, throat, forehead and crown. Check to see if it has drawings, spots on the wings or a ring around the eye.
The colors of a bird can play tricks on you and may look different when it is at the top of a tree at noon or at sunset. Check the main color of each part of its body (head, back, wings, tail, legs). Compare the bird seen by the illustrations of your existing boards in the Field Guide. Sometimes just the color of the legs can help you distinguish one specie from another.
Make comparisons: How big is it?. Is it as small as a canary, or large as a pigeon, a duck or a turkey? Is it fat or thin, long or short? Look at every part of it. Are their wings long or short, thick or thin, curved or straight? And it tail? What is the format? Is it forked, straight or curved?
With practice, you can narrow your identification mark to reach the correct family. Unidentified species should be described in the book field.

WATCH THE BEHAVIOR

After you do all this, then observe the behavior. Is it alone, in pairs or in groups? Does it forages on the ground, in bushes in the understory, in the intermediate stratum or in the kitchen? What is it eating? Hoe does it stand on the perch, bent or straight, morbid or restless? Is it flight horizontal, right or up and down like a roller coaster? Is it beaten, glider, or a combination of both? - With continued practice, you will recognize many species of birds by their silhouette.

WHERE ARE YOU AND THE BIRD?

Finally, take a look around you. Are you and the bird in a forest, a poultry house, a clearing inside the forest, grasslands on the shores of a lake or in the river? Each bird likes a certain environment - habitat: the edge of the forest, lake, "igapó", lowland primary forest. On the ground, in bushes, in the pantry, swimming or diving.
Identify the habitat of the bird!
We can find birds almost everywhere! You will be startled to learn that birds live in the back yard or from your own site. To do so, keep your eyes and ears open.
If you can answer many of these questions, you will have good chances to find the bird you are looking for in your Field Guide.

IDENTIFICATION OF BIRDS BY THE SOUNDS THEY MAKE

Experienced observers can see more birds with eyes closed that many people with their eyes open, because they know the sounds that a bird vocalizes. We must learn to listen. The bird produces a sound that can tell you "start looking for me here," since the song is a track where the bird is. Try to portray it syllabic, or associate it with a word or phrase. That way, it will be easier to assimilate. Some birds live in places in which you would never see them. But the careful observers can identify them hearing their calls and their vocalizations. By seeing and hearing the birds singing in the field, you learn to associate the song to the bird that produced it.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BIRDING E BIRDWATCHING?

Both mean the same thing: watching wild birds in nature. Birders and Birdwatchers are people who engage in this hobby, whether for scientific purposes or leisure.

IS BIRDWATCHING A SEGMENT OF ECOTOURISM?

Yes, the bird watching is rapidly expanding in the Americas, an activity that is growing every year. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife in the United States, 51.3 million Americans watch birds and over 77 million Americans, over 16 years, participated in activities related to wildlife in 1997. Of these, about 42 million observed birds near their houses, and 23.7 million people who traveled with the purpose of observing, feeding or photographing wildlife, approximately 18 million had primary interest on birds.
The American Birding Association, from 1990 to 1997, had its number of members increased from 6 000 to 20 000, an annual growth above 30%. (EcoBrasil, 1999). It is the fastest growing segment in America: about 63 million people watch birds.

WHAT DOES THIS SEGMENT OFFERS?

Fun in the midst of nature;
Satisfaction and relaxation. Observe birds stimulates demand and interest in bird hunting. This ensures satisfaction and relaxation, without hurting or capturing the animals, which can escape unscathed;
Health walking, observers gain physical strength without effort, because their attention is focus on birds;
Integration of the family. Often, parents, children and close relatives remain united for generations, through birding. The elders can encourage and stimulate the young to care about wildlife and nature conservation;
The Company. The bird watching is an activity that provides the company. Experienced bird watchers like to share their knowledge, so birdwatchers will always be welcome;
Solitude. Birding warrant special pleasure to those who wish to observe birds alone;
Birding is fun, adventure, discovery, fulfillment, in groups or alone.

WHAT DO I NEED TO WATCH BIRDS?

Any special skills. All you need is enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and physical ability.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

A binocular for your particular use is a essential equipment, a field guide, a hat and a notebook. The Field Guide is a book with lots of technical information about the birds and color plates containing illustrations of birds. This guide facilitates the identification of birds in the field. The little book is to make your observations on birds. It is very important to register all you see, so when you try to do the detailed description of a bird, you are encouraged to observe it carefully. We'll provide you a checklist consisting of the species that can be found in the region.

BIRDS CONSERVATION

Illegal trade and trafficking of wild animals

The wild animals traffic is the third largest business in the world and generates about $ 1 Billion in Brazil per year(Renctas, 2002). It is cruel, because it maintains itself at the expense of human misery, exploring people without resources to sell the animals, meanwhile the "hunters" make a lot of money in national and international markets. The value of animals is provided in accordance with their rarity or danger of extinction.
The species most sought are the exotic and colorful. Figure as the preferred Psittacidae (parrots, parakeets and parrots in general), whose unit value can cost abroad, $ 5,000.
The blue macaw for Lear (Anodorhynchus leari) endangered, of which there are only 150 animals on the planet, can cost up to $ 60,000 overseas. A single egg of that bird can reach U $ 10,000 (Estadão, 2000). An apparent solution would be to design studies to play Psittaciformes in captivity, properly regulated. Some of the birds hatched should be introduced in the wild and the other part, marketed, in order to discourage the illegal trade.
The parrot (Amazona aestiva) can cost $ 800, the toucan-peas-black (Ramphastos vitellinus) to U$ 6,000 and the blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) to $ 2,500 (Revista Caminhos da Terra, No. 9, set/2001, ed. 113, pág.37). The flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) can cost $ 5,000 and the harpy eagle (Harpy harpyja) $ 13,000 (Revista Veja, no. 42, 24/10/01, pg. 148 - 149).
Among the most sought Passeriformes include canaries, the tanagers, the tanagers, the blackbirds, the finches, the thrushes, the bluebirds, the dancers (Piprídeos), cocks-of-the-mountain, "Corrupião-do-rio-negro".
That are taken on average 12 million animals a year, only from the Brazilian forests. In 10 animals, only one reaches its destination, while nine others die for lack of adequate conditions for the capture, handling, transport boxes due to lack of sufficient air, fighting, stress and not receiving appropriate treatment, as water and food in captivity.
The most common destinations are Europe, Asia and North America.
It is a crime to trade, capture and keep wild animals in captivity! Helping to preserve the Brazilian fauna, you will be ensuring the future to new generations.
Complaints against trade and trafficking of wild animals can be done through "Linha Verde do Ibama": phone: 0800 - 61 8080 (free call)

E-mail: linhaverde@ibama.gov.br

Rede Nacional de Combate ao Tráfico de Animais Silvestres - Renctas

E-mail: renctas@renctas.org.br

EXCERPTS TAKEN FROM THE WEBSITE
http://www.birding.com.br
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