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Other types of birds, such as sparrows and swallows, live with us in cities. The destruction of bird habitats, through the excessive exploitation of natural resources, is one of the main causes of bird extinctions. 82 HUMANS AND BIRDS Birds and Human Culture irds fly, sing, dance, and have showy plumage. Because of these qualities, they have fascinated human beings throughout history. Some species, such as eagles, have played an important role in world literature because of their aggressiveness and beauty.

OVENBIRDS AND THEIR RELATIVES Their nests are completely covered structures, similar to ovens. Other members of this family build nests with leaves and straw, weaving interesting baskets. Still others dig tunnels in the ground. Humans and Birds ROBIN CHICKS (Erithacus rubecula) Although their natural habitats are humid groves, they usually seek shelter in cities, always close to water. BIRDS AND HUMAN CULTURE 82-83 BIRD DOMESTICATORS 88-89 HOW TO GET TO KNOW BIRDS 84-85 ENDANGERED SPECIES 90-91 AMONG US 86-87 H uman beings have long taken an interest in studying these high-flying creatures.

Ancient peoples grouped birds according to practical traits and mystical beliefs. They used birds as food or considered them to be bad omens or symbols of good luck. The people who developed scientific thought created a classification system that took into consideration the external form as well as the behavior of these vertebrates; hence, the denominations predator, wading bird, and songbird were developed, among others. The most recent system of classification, which is based on genetic and evolutionary criteria, has generated a hierarchical organization of names that is constantly being updated.

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