Birds have long delighted people all over the world because of their beauty and their power of flight. Birds are everywhere, and everywhere they are different. Birds are mysterious, beautiful, and sometimes wonderfully elusive.
Historically, they used to be considered omens. The ancient Romans believed that the flights and calls of birds could foretell the future.
Today, modern science still uses birds as a kind of oracle. Changes in bird populations can reflect the health of the environment.
Birding also fulfills another basic instinct—the quest for knowledge. Birding is about acquiring knowledge. Not just about birds' names, but also about their songs, their behavior, and how they relate to the rest of nature. It's a perfect opportunity to enjoy a unique human pleasure—the successful exercise of lore.
In fact, amateur birders often get to make real contributions to scientific knowledge. Today, much of what ornithology knows about birds has come from the observations of ordinary but dedicated birders.
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