This my second book about birds got me thinking; ‘What would the world be like for humanity if birds and bees no longer existed’? My hypothesis/contention is that humanity would collapse, as our planet would be overwhelmed with rodents and non pollinating insects, the likes of which have never been experienced before. Flowers would never be pollinated by birds and bees in order to produce fruit and seeds for the continuity of species of plants and trees. Would other insects take on that role in nature? Any edible plants would probably be devastated by insects long before they became available for human consumption; unless grown in secure controlled factories. Most bird species rely on insects for their diet; untold thousands of tonnes per day are consumed by birds and micro bats the world over. Diseases of monstrous consequences could ravish the rump of civilization left on this earth. The opposite is also true; that is, what if insect populations crashed? What would insect eating birds survive on? Perhaps these scenarios can be averted by people all over the world learning about the “birds and the bees,” not just in a sexual sense but in a holistic sense of all-encompasing nature and looking after the environment. Birds, bees and a host of other insects quite obviously are essential for life on this planet. The capacity of a bird’s brain could be equated to that of a microchip in memory which can be added to and even deleted; therefore the bird’s brain isn’t “full” and incapable of absorbing more information. Birds are not automatons; they think, therefore they are. In many respects the social habits and problems of birds are mirrored in human relationships, which I have endeavoured to reflect in my free verse poems. Birds! Intelligent? Surely not an oxymoron. Birds; like volcanoes, are necessary for the continuance of life on this planet; at times destructive yet regenative and beautiful.
I am certainly not an ornithologist nor even a bird watcher; the information I have gained about birds is by experiencing at first hand while an orchardist what birds did; these ‘actions’ stuck in my subconscious mind ready to be drawn upon sometime in the future. The future is now, and what a revelation it has become. The world is awash with thousands of different species of birds of Kaleidoscopic colours and capabilities that is awe-inspiring: each species has (over time) found its niche, yet that niche can be shared by other species of bird, albeit at times with aggressive and even murderous behaviour, especially when the territorial imperative of nesting and defending ones patch where food is to be found for feeding the nestlings is concerned.
I have researched using Wikipedia yet have left out the taxonomy of each bird (weight, wingspan, etc) in order to make the reading about birds more interesting for childrenand perhaps students. Jennifer Ackerman’s book, The Genius of Birds, was and is an eye opener and mind expander as to the capabilities of birds. yet I haven’t quoted her findings only weaved them into my poems. Where Song Began, by Tim Low, is another book well worth reading for the information contained therein. Many thanks and acolades to published bird researchers should be given and acknowledged by governments all over the world, as their work is arduous and at times extremely taxing health-wise, yet to the betterment of humanity’s understanding of how the environment works.
John R. Bicknell
Poet and Author