Saturday, May 10, 2014

Reaction Papers: Bird Watching and The Life of Mammals

De Vera, Jasmin J.
2011 50980

Bird Watching In the Science Complex

It has been three years of college, three years of ignoring the tree canopies in the university.

I frequently hear about a course called bird watching but never paid attention to it. I was told that were about fifty to eighty bird species roaming around the campus, yet, I only noticed the common species called maya in the past three years. I was never fond of birds anyway. "Was."

A session in my STS class gave an opportunity to bird watch explaining that not only it can be a healthy practice but also, it can provide environmental information. Birds are said to coexist with humans. Birds are everywhere so they are frequently unnoticed. They are a taxon which can be easily observed because of their diurnal activities.However, due to human activities, giant infrastructures and industrialization, the birds's natural habitat is badly influenced and so does their population.

A study about the birds in the University of the Philippines Diliman was conducted. The study site was divided into plots of twenty to twenty five hectares each. These plots were observed almost everyday through random walking around the area. The spotted birds were recorded noting their number and species. The result showed that although different species including endemic and migratory are still evident in the area, the bird population had greatly decreased throughout the years.

Bird watching is a very interesting and refreshing activity. It is amazing to discover and witness species that we aren't seeing just everywhere like the orions, the woodpeckers, shrikes, and many more. Some seems to be territorial and have a certain place to hangout. Some, instead of trees, learned to live at rooftops; some are also capable of interacting with the people in the campus. However, it is saddening and alarming to learn that the bird population is already depleting. Since birds can be an effective environmental indicator, the depletion may be associated with the disturbance in nature mostly caused by human. The cutting of trees in the campus due to the building of new infrastructures affects their supposed to be habitats and food source. Human activities may have disturbed them enormously.

We may not be aware yet, but this disturbed balance of nature will soon reflect not only on these bird species but also to humankind. Fewer trees will eventually produce limited oxygen and food source for our kind. Global warming will be fortified. Air pollution will aggravate and will soon envade the human body.

Gladly, there are people who envision this possible future and are currently conducting projects and advocacies not only to protect the birds in the campus but also to restore the balance of nature. Landscape architectures are planting trees that can attract the birds. Rules and regulations to protect them were set. The only missing piece is everyone’s cooperation.

Life of Mammals – The Social Climbers and Food for Thought

Life of Mammals is an interesting documentary that tackles the evolutionary pattern of some mammals, their way of living and their survival.

There are only two out of the ten subprogramms that we were able to watch -- The Social Climbers and the Food for Thought. The two is closely related as they both tackle the evolution of mankind from the monkeys to the human form of today that is capable of walking on two feet and being able to rationalize idea in order to survive.

There are different kinds of monkeys, from the smallest pygmy mormoset which utilizes its size to climb the top of the trees. The competition in the lower portion of the trees may hinder the survival of this species, but due to its size,it has conquered its own territory above the trees and be able to feed on insects. The other species of monkeys, even being different from each other learns to form alliance for their own advantage. It is seen in the monkeys of the African jungle where the creatures create a systematic community that warns each member if a danger is seen.

Monkeys have good vision that they use to distinguish different plant species and to defend themselves from toxic plants. They also know how to use herbs as insect repellants.

Orangutans were featured in the video as species having a higher intellectual capacity than the other species. They have the instinct to imitate the things that they saw. An orangutan was not only washing herself with soap but also being able to grasp saw and hammer and use the tools accordingly. The monkeys' concept of using tools is not only shown by the orangutans but also by other species that uses sticks to gather food. Technically, the first use of tools must root from the desire to gather food.

It was theorized that the size of the brain is related to the ability of the mammals [at least] to socialize. The monkeys show that the bigger kinds tend to form bigger packs. These formed groups surprisingly show social hierarchy which is also evident in human society. Macaques have class system that gives the superiors the right to gain foods from the lower class. Having intercourse was also shown to be limited to alpha males unless females gain interest on the other males and sneaking from the alpha male was possible.

Civilizations sprouted and were flourished by the ancient humans. The early civilizations, like that of the Maya showed the ability of humans to perform computations and logical thinking. Humans form complex societal hierarchy. They learn how to domesticate cattles and how to farm enabling them to settle and form larger and more complex communities. Some hunts in a more systematic way. Some had developed skills and abilities in order to hunt. Humans take advantage of their two feet and free hands in hunting. They had developed tools. It just proves that evolution and innovation is rooted from the organism’s instinct to survive.

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