Skip main navigation

History of human trash and Australian bird nests

In this section you will learn about how human trash has impacted Australian birds over the last 200 years.

Birds and humans have been sharing spaces and habitats throughout history. In doing so, they interact both willingly and unwillingly with the rubbish we generate. It is well known that birds incorporate found objects from their environment into their nests, making them ideal indicators of environmental changes and human activity. It’s also well known, particularly among scientists, that museum collections can provide unique insight into environmental changes through time and space. By investigating Australian museum specimens dating back over 200 years, you will learn which bird families are more likely to incorporate human-made debris into their nest and the potential consequences of these inclusions. You will also learn how birds are natural archaeologists, with items incorporated into their nests reflecting historical changes in our society.

This article is from the free online

Life on Land: Ecology, Evolution, Challenges, and Solutions

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now