Inspiring Endangered Birds – Biomimicry and Biodiversity

Why is biodiversity important? How to increase biodiversity using BIOMIMICRY?

In the film, The Birds produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock the focus is on a series of sudden and unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California. A classic horror film, however, the true horror is perhaps a world without birds.

My newest resource for Google Classroom uses endangered birds as inspiration. This is not the first time that I have used endangered animals or plants as inspiration for ideas. Using endangered animals or plants as inspiration for ideas highlights the importance of protecting nature.

Bird diversity is important. Biodiversity is the total variety of all life on Earth. Why is greater biodiversity a good thing? The more biodiversity the more secure is all life on Earth including ourselves.

“The total biodiversity on our planet is immense.” David Attenborough

Yet, many species are endangered.

“Over 1,450 bird species are considered globally threatened because they have small and declining populations or ranges. Of these, 222 are Critically Endangered and face an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future. Threatened birds are found throughout the world, but are concentrated in the tropics and especially in forests. Population declines may be quick and catastrophic, but even small increases in mortality can threaten the survival of some species.” Bird Life International

Even if biodiversity is seen as a solution and every species is a source of potentially untapped information, we still need to use a creative as well as a critical approach to thinking and creative tools to tap into the knowledge of nature. There is no ready solution that will lead to an instant solution.

Some biomimicry solutions have not been sustainable, for example, the velcro has contributed to the environment mostly in the form of non-biodegradable landfills.

The story of the magnificent flightless fat parrot, Kakapo, offers hope. The bird is critically endangered but intense intervention in every stage of the bird’s life has to lead to an increase in numbers. It was on the brink of extinction in the min 1990s when there were only around 50 birds.

The bird is nocturnal and exploring the way kakapos move around in the darkness can lead to some interesting ideas. They have a jog-like gait and they parachute to the ground from high trees using their wings (they cannot fly). Kiwi, another flightless bird, lacks wings, but the kakapos have wings. The feathers are softer than the feathers of other parrots as they do not need to be strong for flying.

What cool things can you invent inspired by Kakapos? Can you make sure that the invention is sustainable?

Project Based Learning GOOGLE Classroom™, Endangered Birds, Biomimicry


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