Personally I have no doubts about the importance of birds, but the truth is that I have no doubts because I have been researching birds for a while now, and all the important information about how crucial they are has been shown to me in one way or another. So today I would like to do the same for you.
I’m dividing the reasons why birds are important in 3 categories: Environmental, Health, Economical. Keep in mind that sometimes, two or more categories are connected, which makes it even more awesome I would say.
- Birds are great at pest control. They can eat up to 400 to 500 tons of insects per year. Some studies say that birds reduce corn insect pests by 34 to 98%, and some reports mention how birds reduce 20 to 26% of grasshoppers in crops. These pests could destroy agricultural crops, gardens and other vegetation.
- Birds spread plant seeds into new areas, helping with flora biodiversity.
- Some birds, like the hummingbirds, are also pollinators, helping plants and even fruits to reproduce.
- Bird poop also helps fertilise our soil.
- Birds help spread spores that keep our forests healthy.
- Seabirds keep coral reefs alive and healthy by cycling nutrients and helping fertilise marine ecosystems.
- Bird construction creates necessary habitats for other animals.
- Some birds are the ultimate animal sanitations workers (like the vultures). They help clean and recycle dead waste and fertilise it afterwards.
- Birds help protect important habitats like wetlands by managing the grazing species like snails. Without birds, these species would turn the wetlands into mudflats.
- Birds like crows and vultures keep diseases like rabies and distemper at bay, by eating carcasses.
- Birds are great environmental warning signs as they are sensitive to toxins and pollutants. So by checking bird populations you can detect these issues before they start affecting humans and other animals.
- The mouse population is also kept in check by birds like hawks and owls. No more Black Plague for us.
- Eaten alive in the summer by mosquitos? Birds are here to help. Birds eat millions of mosquitos and other biting insects each year. Yes, spiders too.
- Bird songs (and calls) have been shown to help with mental health, making people happy and calmer.
- Birds inspire science. From flying to zippers.
- Birds are lucrative! Wildlife watchers spend more than $75 billion dollars on travel, equipment and other expenses. In the USA alone, bird lovers have helped create more than 600,000 jobs. And don’t forget birdseed and bird feeders! Personally I spend more than I’m willing to admit on these (Yes I just found out that birding is one of the most expensive hobbies there is…)
- Remember all those pests they eat? Yeah, birds help us save millions by protecting our crops in environmentally friendly ways.
In such a biodivers world as our own, every species should be important. It’s what makes our world beautiful and livable.
We often think of humans as the top of the food chain, which I agree with if we include tools and weapons. Leaves naked and empty handed and I bet we would not be in the top 5. But as the top of the food chain, the most intelligent of them all (again let's define intelligence to begin with and we shall see), we have the moral and ethical responsibility to protect our world and what makes it unique. We all can do something, no matter how big or small, and in most cases we have more impact that we could even imagine.
So join me on the spread of awareness of these amazing creatures, pass on some information and let others know how important birds are. Besides absolutely stunning and awesome. And let me know in the comments what is your favourite fact of the list above (or others that you may know and might want to share with me).