Birds, also known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates that are adapted for flight. There are an incredible variety of bird species, however they share a number of similar characteristics including feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. The diversity across this animal group is incredible: for example they range in size from the 5cm bee hummingbird to the 2,75m ostrich and they range in colour from the bright red, blue and yellow macaw to the silky black and white penguin to the pink flamingo. They can run, jump, swim and dive, too, and it is for good reason that birdwatching is such a popular pastime and tourism activity.
Birds are also incredibly impressive: they live across both the coldest and driest environments and still manage to flourish. Their beauty, strength and perseverance is something to be marvelled at, and on top of this, they are crucial to many of our ecosystems and to us. Birds add so much colour and song to nature that a world without them would be incredibly gloomy. You can volunteer with birds on several of our projects from the Kiwi in New Zealand to bird ringing at Nature’s Valley in South Africa.