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Birds as Food

Birds are an important food source for humans. The most commonly eaten species is the domestic chicken and its eggs, although geese, pheasants, turkeys, and ducks are also widely eaten. Other birds that have been utilized for food include emus, ostriches, pigeons, grouse, quails, doves, woodcocks, songbirds, and others, including small passerines such as finches. Birds grown for human consumption are referred to as Poultry.

At one time swans and flamingos were delicacies of the rich and powerful, although these are generally protected now.

Many species have become extinct through over-hunting, such as the Passenger Pigeon, and many others have become endangered or extinct through habitat destruction, deforestation and intensive agriculture being common causes for declines.

Birds such as chickens and turkeys are regularly farm-raised for slaughter and commercial sale, although in the early days of farming and domestication, the poultry population was carefully monitored. A human family depended upon eggs and fowl not just as a staple of their daily diet (both for meat and eggs), but for their feathers (to fill mattresses and pillows) and for trade of the same with other farmers and settlers.

Although we rely on birds as food just as much today, commercial farmers raise the birds in far greater numbers than was once possible, and finding eggs or poultry is never any further than the closest grocery store.

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