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What’s your favourite bird? A car­di­nal? A chick­adee? If you pre­fer your birds with a lit­tle more pluck, then you’re go­ing to love this in­ter­view with or­nithol­o­gist, David Bird. ★e has spent his whole ca­reer work­ing with some re­ally cool rap­tors. Want to fol­low in his foot­steps? Keep read­ing! WILD: What ex­actly does an or­nithol­o­gist do?

D.B.: Ba­si­cally, an or­nithol­o­gist stud­ies birds, some­times to just know about them and other times to find ways to help con­serve them.

WILD: You’ve worked a lot with rap­tors over your ca­reer. What’s the best thing about work­ing with these birds?

D.B.: Well, in my case, I liked the fact that I made friends all over the world by at­tend­ing meet­ings about birds of prey. And I felt good do­ing re­search to help save them from ex­tinc­tion.

WILD: When did you first have an in­ter­est in rap­tors and what did you find so fas­ci­nat­ing about them?

D.B.: I had a child­hood in­ter­est in the sport of fal­conry. Plus, rap­tors are such cool birds! For in­stance, did you know that the Pere­grine Fal­con is the fastest div­ing bird in the whole world?

WILD: If you could de­bunk any myth about rap­tors, what would it be?

D.B.: Some folks think that any bird which eats meat is a rap­tor, but that is not true. There are plenty of non-rap­tor birds that eat mice, rab­bits or birds — like herons, crows and Blue Jays.

WILD: What would you say is the big­gest issue rap­tors face?

D.B.: Some birds of prey were al­most wiped out be­cause we were us­ing too many chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides to keep in­sect pop­u­la­tions in check. Luck­ily, Canada has come far where that’s con­cerned. But it’s still a prob­lem to­day in many other coun­tries.

WILD: I know a lot of peo­ple want to do some­thing to help rap­tors at risk. Is there any­thing kids can do?

D.B.: There’s plenty that kids can do! You’ll make a big dif­fer­ence by think­ing “green” and re­spect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment by ask­ing your par­ents if the fam­ily can re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle.

WILD: If any of our WILD readers want to be­come or­nithol­o­gists when they grow up, what ad­vice would you have for them?

D.B.: The best way to be­come an or­nithol­o­gist is to get good marks in school so that there are plenty of doors open to you, in­clud­ing col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. To be a pro­fes­sor like me, you’d want to stay in school for a while to earn a PhD de­gree. It is re­ally worth it though!

In the mean­time, why not take up bird­watch­ing by joining a lo­cal birding club? You’ll learn a ton about birds and you’ll be able to see for your­self just how fas­ci­nat­ing they are!

David con­duct­ing field re­search with a drone

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