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Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
(Courtesy NEBRASKAland Magazine/NGPC)

Birds have fascinated humans since the first time one of us heard a strange noise and looked up to see a creature that could leave Earth behind and glide through the skies on its own power.

The relationship between birds and humans has ranged from simple curiosity and interested observation to outright exploitation. Birds can be fun, bothersome, intriguing, exasperating, beautiful, or scary. Your view of a bird depends on where you find it, what you're hoping to do, and what the bird is "up" to.

Sometimes birds just become part of the scenery around you, and their sounds blend into the background noises that fill your ears.

But sometimes, the sight of a bird can lift your spirits. (Have you ever watched geese fly overhead on a fall evening in their amazing "V" formations?)

Sometimes, the song of a bird can calm your mind. (Maybe you've gone for a walk to get over the blues and you hear a familiar, "Bring cheer! Bring cheer! Cheer, cheer, cheer!" Even if you don't recognize that it's a cardinal calling, maybe you appreciate the sound and feel a little better.)

Click on the links in the Birds & People menu to explore some of the ways humans have interacted with, learned from, and come to respect and value our fine feathered friends.


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