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And Environment for the Americas.


Eagles and Hawks, known as Thunderbirds,' were believed ... Harpy Eagle. ... What does the Bald Eagle symbolize in the United States? Photo by ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: And Environment for the Americas.

Presented by Nashville Zoo
  • And Environment for the Americas.

Birds have always been important to Native People
  • They are found in
  • Storytelling
  • Art
  • Music Dance
  • Spirituality
  • Food
  • Conservation

Peace Pipe
Storytelling Tribes share their beliefs through
  • Why is the American Crow Black?
  • The Crow brought fire to Earth from the Great
    Spirit turning the crows feathers black and its
    voice hoarse.

The Rainbow Crow is a story of the Lanape tribe
of the Eastern United States.
Cave ArtBirds are in the earliest art left by
native people
  • Cave art gives us a look at the lives of early

This rock art is from a Caribbean cave. Notice
the long legs and billit most likely represents
a crane or other waterbird.
Pottery Weaving Birds are often found on
everyday items
This pot was made by the Acoma Tribe in the
Southwestern, United States.
This Navajo Tree of Life was woven in Cortex,
Feathers Add beauty and meaning in the creation
of ceremonial objects, hunting tools, and dress
Peace Pipe
Bird Masks Give life to the qualities of birds
native people admire
  • Tribes of the South, East, and Midwest in the
    United States believed that warriors who wore a
    Falcon mask during a hunt ceremony would gain
    speed and agility.

MusicNative People continue to use music in
Haida Bird Rattle from British Columbia, Canada.
(From the University of Michigan Stearns
Collection of Musical Instruments.)
Bird whistle from the Guaymi Native People of
Chiriqui, Panama.
SpiritualityBirds make the connection
  • Native People believed birds carried messages
    to the spirits.

Because of its speed, the Peregrine Falcon was a
special messenger to the spirits.
Hummingbirds Sacred Pollinators
  • The Native People of the Caribbean believed
    that hummingbirds were the pollinators of life on

Embera Tribe of Panama and the Hopi, Zuni, and
Pueblo Tribes in the United States performed
hummingbird dances.
Eagles Hawks Divine Spirits
  • Eagles and Hawks, known as Thunderbirds, were
    believed to have special powers in the upper
  • Shamen of some tribes used Eagle feathers to heal
    the sick.

Native People carried or wore bird of prey
feathers to call upon the Thunderbird spirit.
WoodpeckersSacred Life Force
  • Woodpeckers were associated with the sun
  • a life sustaining element.

Woodpeckers were considered sacred because of
their fire-colored head feathers.
Ducks Help on the Path to Afterlife
  • Some Tribes believed that ducks aided the dead
    on their journey to the afterworld.

Photo By USFWS
Burial sites often contained pottery and other
items with ducks on them. This pottery is from a
tribe in Peru.
FoodBirds provide important food even now
  • A young boy of the Aleut Tribe at St. Pauls
    Islands, Alaska helps with the seabird egg

Careful harvesting has little effects on seabird
Photo by USFWS
Hunting Native People Invented Decoys
  • Native People were the first to make and use
    floating decoys to hunt waterfowl.

Photo Decoys by Waaban Aki Crafting
The Cree Tribe of James Bay, Canada still makes
decoys today.
Bird Conservation
  • Many Native People are dedicated to bird
    conservation throughout the Americas.

Bringing Back Trumpeter Swans
  • The Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe in
    Montana has reintroduced Trumpeter Swans to their

Photo by Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes
Fourteen pairs have returned to nest!
Protecting Habitat Tribes in the Great Lakes
area are protecting habitat for cranes
Photo by USFWS
Native People have long copied the beautiful
dances of Sandhill Cranes.
Sandhill Cranes were thought to offer warriors
protective powers.
Preserving Wetlands for the Birds
Old Crow Flats Yukon, Canada
Photo by John Meikle
The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation of the Canadian
Yukon is working to protect 2 million acres of
Helping the Harpy Eagle
Tribes of Ecuador and Panama are helping
biologists protect the magnificent Harpy Eagle.
Photo by USFWS
The Quichuas and Confanes tribes of Ecuador are
being trained to help with research.
Celebrate Birds in Your Culture
  • What does the Bald Eagle symbolize in the
    United States?

Photo by USFWS
Celebrate Birds in Your Culture
  • What does the Turkey symbolize in the United

Consider Birds in Your Culture
  • Are birds mascots of your school or favorite
    sports team?
  • Do you enjoy bird art in your home or jewelry?
  • Do birds have particular meaning in your
  • What birds represent the seasons of the year to

Conserving BirdsAwareness to Action!
  • Take the next step in your community.
  • CommunityHelp at a local nature center or visit
    the Zoo thereby supporting the Nashville Zoo
    Feather Project.
  • BackyardPlant for birds Clean your feeders
    Keep cats indoors
  • International Migratory Bird DayParticipate in a
    conservation activity today

The Nashville Zoo Feather Project
  • Many native cultures use feathers in their
    headdress, pipes, and customary garb. Some of the
    feathers traditionally used belong to birds that
    are now endangered.
  • The Nashville Zoo aides in conservation while
    helping preserve native cultures by sending the
    naturally shed feathers of our birds to various
    indigenous tribes.

Thank You!
  • Thank you for visiting us today and learning how
    you can help the plight of migratory birds and
    what amazing impacts they have had on all aspects
    of our lives.
  • For more information and to access helpful
    worksheets please visit the education resources
    page at