The exploitation of populations: The exploitation of birds
- Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury
In comparison with fish or mammals, birds offer little scope for large-scale exploitation. Although for centuries they have provided food, feathers, oil, nitrogen-rich guano and sport for man's use and enjoyment, the volume of products obtainable by periodic harvesting from even large populations of birds has seldom attracted more than local interest. Attempts to satisfy wider markets, e.g., to provide plumage for millinery, have invariably led to disaster; primitive and civilised man alike have frequently been misled by the apparent abundance and stability of breeding colonies and migrating flocks. Even when the need for conservation has been fully recognised, the temptation to over-exploit has seldom been resisted, and the history of man's exploitation of birds is a sorry and almost consistent record of devastation.