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What Would a World Without Birds Look Like?

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The other day I read the book “The Age of Miracles” by new author Karen Thompson Walker in which the Earth’s rotation inexplicably begins to slow down. The novel is quite compelling, especially in the way it shows the “slowing” through the eyes of a girl in middle school.</p><p>I’m writing about this because one of the early symptoms of the slowing of the rotation was the unexplainable (and very sad) mass die-off of birds. It made me think about what a world without birds would look like.</p><p>I’m hoping this post, which paints a birdless world, is not seen as depressing, but rather helps you develop a stronger appreciation for birds and the impact they have on your life and the overall environment.</p><p>If you woke up tomorrow morning in a world without birds, the first thing you’d notice would be the silence. They’ve become such a regular part of our mornings that most of us don’t even hear the birds’ chirps. They simply fade into the background. But without birds, the absence of vibrant singing would be notable.</p><p><img data-lazyloaded=Then, after the realization that insects are roaming free, we also have to remember about all the animals that survive from eating birds—humans included. Most animals that eat birds, like weasels, spiders, wild cats, snakes and others, will have to adapt and may struggle to thrive. Commenters at another site who were pondering this same question pointed out that places like KFC and Chick-fil-A would have to close down as a result (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

 /></p><p>Another aspect of the environment that will be rocked hard is the flora. Many species of plants depend on birds to pollinate flowers, spread seed and eat pests. Early last year, I wrote about how two species of birds heading toward extinction in New Zealand could also mean the extinction of the New Zealand Gloxinia in turn.</p><p>If you take this studied case on a remote island in New Zealand and extrapolate it to the whole world, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that countless plant species would also die off if birds suddenly disappeared. This could have unforeseeable cascading effects that significantly impact us. The loss of plant species could devastate ecosystems.</p><p>Still, other than these major world-changing consequences, there’s a whole host of minor things that would occur. For example, bird tourism would disappear and cause the loss of jobs and, in the case of the White-tailed Eagle, the loss of $12 million a year.</p><p>I guarantee I am missing some other notable aspects of what would happen in a world without birds, so please feel free to share your thoughts about what you think the world would be like.</p><p>And, to end on a positive note, you can rest assured that birds will likely be around for a very long time. However, that doesn’t mean you should take birds for granted. So grab your binoculars, head outside and appreciate them!</p></div><aside class=

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

39 Comments

  1. National Geographic reported 50 years ago that world insect populations had declined by 70%. Some of you may not believe that. I remember as a child, my Dad stopping regularly at a gas station to have the bugs cleaned from the windshield. Not so today. I can’t remember the last time I had to clean bugs from the windshield. You do the math.

  2. i did’t aderstand?

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