Our avian friends are not only essential members of our complex biodiversity, they play a mixture of different roles which are vital to us in ways most of us don't realise.
Each species of bird has its own way of maintaining the natural balance, both as prey and predator in the "pecking order".
Some are migratory; some are nomadic; some are permanent residents; some are waders or water-birds; others inhabit dry bushland or tropical forest environments - but each has a unique place in the total ecosystem, connected like a cobweb to species both above and below them in the food chain.
Which is the obvious reason why it is that human behaviour is putting them increasingly in danger of losing their natural habitats. The other sad result is that we're starting to lose creatures of amazing skill and beauty.
For example, the bar-tailed godwit, a small-to-medium migratory bird that has been travelling between the east coast of Australia and the arctic regions in and around Alaska since ancestral times.
It leaves our eastern shores in autumn, flies via Taiwan to the rich mudflats around the Yellow Sea in China to fatten up, then heads to the arctic north to breed, before returning to Australia.
The distance involved is vast: a record migratory round trip of a tagged bird is an incomprehensible 26,700 kilometres!
Their young undertake their first flight unaccompanied, charting their immense flight path all the way to eastern Australia guided by imprinted genetic knowledge.
An ingenious aerodynamic design enables them to shrink the weight of their organs (except for the brain), concentrating their weight in the stoked-up breast for energy supply.
This pattern has remained through time immemorial, the birds obviously capable of adapting to gradual changes in wind and temperature variations, even retracing their course through glacial periods.
But all this is changing, attributable largely to human behaviour.
Numbers of this elusive species have fallen by an estimated 80 per cent over three generations, and of Australia's 828 species, it is now classified as under "extreme warning status", in danger of imminent extinction.
The dredging of the wetlands around the Yellow Sea in China for human development could alone could spell the end of their ancient history.
Like all living creatures, they function in the ecosystem as both prey and predator, so their loss will disturb that delicate balance.
They are also remarkable in their sophisticated design-for-purpose, in ways we could possibly learn from. But we will have to act quickly.
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