Join the Flock Of Folks Tracking Birds

It may seem strange that no one knows where Pink Floyd goes in the summer. But it isn't easy to keep track of birds. How do you follow a group of flying birds? You really can't fly behind them in an airplane. You have to start with what you can see from the ground.

In ancient Greece, a philosopher named Aristotle (384-322 BC) observed that certain birds were around during one season and other birds were around in another season. He thought maybe one type of bird changed into another type of bird every year. Later, people noticed that some birds flew across oceans each year. From ships far out at sea they could see flocks of birds passing overhead. They thought small birds couldn't fly that far and rode on the backs of bigger birds to get across the ocean.

Now people have learned to share information about the birds they see to help understand where birds go and how they get there. The Internet helps people track birds, and you can be a part of this world-wide network of bird watchers. Several Web pages offer students an opportunity to help observe and report the groups of birds they see.

The Wild Ones is a network of students and teachers in 25 countries. Students ages 7 to 14 can take part in projects to observe and protect animals and birds.

In the Wild Ones' migration project, classes fill out a form telling about birds they have seen migrating. When all their information is put together, it helps show patterns of where and when birds migrate. This helps experts know whether certain types of birds are shrinking or growing in number and whether humans are interfering with the birds' migration habits.

If you'd like to become one of these bird watchers, talk to your teacher about signing up with a project on the Internet. Your class can learn how to identify certain birds and how to watch for them and share your findings. And check out the Wild Ones' Web site at www.thewildones.org You can sign up for a project on their Web page.

To learn more about flamingos and other unusual animals, visit the Fort Worth Zoo at its Web site: www.rwnet.com/fwzoo (Click on the zoo map and then go to the flamingo icon.)

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