With sizes ranging from barely larger than a bee to a weight of 344 pounds, soaring on a wingspan of eleven feet, diving 690 feet underwater and flying at 160 mph, birds are diverse, amazing animals that have a lot to teach us.
They brighten our day with their song and glorious colors. They also provide critical “services” to the ecosystem which supports our lives. They eat pests, they promote forest growth through seed dispersion, they enhance soil nutrition and formation, they pollinate, by scavenging, they diminish diseases. Their numbers and health are “bioindicators” of the health of our planet.
The impacts of habitat destruction, pesticide and chemical use, window/turbine collisions, outdoor cats, climate change, plastic refuse, poaching and the animal trade, are diminishing the numbers and geographic ranges of birds. Around the world, one in eight species of birds is now threatened with extinction.
In short, birds can use our help. How can we make a positive impact?
Feature native plants in your garden. Birds have evolved with them. Berries, fruits and seeds are important for their diets, plus insects that can be found more on natives than other plants.
Curtail pesticide and herbicide use (including neonics) and any rat poison.
Provide fresh water for bathing and drinking.
Hang out welcoming nest boxes or birdhouses.
Grow greenery where birds can forage and also take refuge.
Offer high quality birdseed (without neonics) during the winter;
be sure to keep the feeder clean.
Just click on the individual sections below for more information.
© Christine Volker