[Oversea] Birds and people consulting the Partnership

Birds and people consulting the Partnership

News from BirdLife International


Birds and people - consulting the Partnership

The importance of birds as indicators of global change - in terms of biodiversity, the state of the environment, of climate change- is widely recognised and appreciated. Yet birds also have huge cultural significance to people, their lives and cultures.

A new website forum hopes to build-up an active discussion on the real cultural significance of birds, exploring the significance of an ever-present relationship that existed throughout human history.

The author behind the Birds and People forum, launched today in collaboration with the BirdLife Partnership, is calling on all BirdLife organisations - covering over 100 countries and territories - to come forward and submit their knowledge, findings and anecdotes, creating a "global repository" on the powerful impact birds have on human lives.

"Today birds often play the role of ambassador in our entire relationship with nature," said Mark Cocker, renowned author and person behind the Birds and People forum. "For environmentalists birds are collectively the miner canary, their populations helping us to gauge the health of natural environments from the inner-city to montane forest."

"Yet our connections with birds far exceed any simple utilitarian value. Very often at a domestic level they are cherished for their own sake, as simple companions, as aesthetic adornments and as expression of some unspoken bond between ourselves and the rest of life."

The forum aims to bring together first-hand accounts from the staff and members of BirdLife Partners, and from the wider public.  The organisers hope that people from every country and territory involved in BirdLife will put forward the view of their respective nation or territory.  It is illustrated with images taken by the award winning bird photographer, David Tipling, who is collating photographs for the project.  

"Together these accounts will help build a global chorus on why birds are important and why we must all strive to conserve them," added John Fanshawe, BirdLife Head of Strategic Development.

In the coming months, Mark Cocker will work with submitted stories and anecdotes to build a dialogue with people around the world, and all the material will contribute towards a groundbreaking book about the cultural importance of birds; a book to be published by Random House in collaboration with BirdLife in about 2012.