November 15th, 2014
"Birds play a dynamic role in nature. Anywhere you go in this world, you'll see birds performing a multitude of functions that help to sustain our ecosystem. Without birds, the animal kingdom would not be the same."
You may wonder how a simple bird house can benefit our environment. First, let's examine some disruptions in nature, and then look at some examples of how a bird house may help to offset those disruptions.
In our busy world, there are many things that can disrupt the balance of nature. Examples of disruptions include:
Conditions such as these can cause the normal habitat of wildlife to become disrupted, forcing birds and other animals to migrate to other habitats with unsuitable climates. It also forces them to live with unfamiliar predators that they cannot defend themselves against.
There is a large percentage of birds in the U.S. that will choose an enclosed structure to live in, and since the natural habitat of birds is being reduced every year, assisting them with a safe structure to live in will help keep them alive and their numbers strong. A simple bird house with the right dimensions will provide safety from predators, warmth during cold months and a place for breeding. When birds have a safe place to dwell, their numbers stay strong and their species continue to evolve even when disruptions occur.
So exactly how does a birdhouse benefit the environment?..
Creating a balance in nature.. (The Natural Order)
Mounting a bird house in your backyard will keep the chain of events happening in a natural order. Let's examine...
birdhouse → mother bird lays eggs → eggs hatch and become baby birds → baby birds grow to fledglings → fledglings grow to adult birds → adult birds add to the bird population → strong bird populations eat seeds, fertilize soil, add biodiversity, control pests and more.
Let's examine these benefits in detail below...
Birds help to fertilize soil when they walk along the surface of the ground. The scratching effect from their claws etches the soil, causing it to become loose and more absorbant. This action allows various nutrients to mix in with the top soil and increases good bacteria needed for pH balance. Birds will also defecate on the soil, which sinks into the soil causing good composition.
Different birds have different abilities. Together, the bird kingdom plays its part collectively in carrying out what mother nature requires from them.
Various species of birds have different capabilities as far as what they offer to the environment. A birdhouse will aid in maintaining ALL species and help to preserve them in their evolution. Evolving naturally will enable them to maintain their balance and purpose within the animal kingdom.
Some birds are considered insectivors and naturally hunt worms, flies, mesquitoes, beetles and other pests. Without birds eating these insects, massive infestations would occure and create an imbalance that would be devistating to man and nature. Birds benefit us for the simple reason that they are able to hold in-check the most powerful living species on earth, . .insects. If unchecked, insects would control the earth.
Some birds such as Sparrows, Jays, Finches, Nuthatches Titmice, Dove and Blackbirds like to eat seeds. If it were not for these seed eaters and others, countless quantities of weeds would overrun our yards, gardens and fields.
Observation and Fact Gathering
Providing controlled structures for birds allows humans to observe them and study their behavior. This subsequently helps science to better understand the environment and how people and wildlife can live together.
A bluebird is a songbird that is naturally inclined to search for enclosed structures to live in. Bluebird numbers declined greatly in the 1900's, but with the help from man-made structures such as bluebird houses, they have made a substantial recovery thanks in part to bluebird trails. A bluebird trail is a continuous "trail" of bluebird nesting boxes mounted in open areas with the intention of increasing the population of bluebirds.
Bird feeders will also help to promote the bird population. If you live in an area of the country that has extreme cold, a year-round bird feeder will help non-migrating birds find food and will help support birds and songbird populations when food is scarce.
When considering the most common plant pollinators, most people will think of honey bees. And it's true that honey bees play a big role in transporting pollen from one flower to another, but did you know that birds aid in the pollination of plants too?
When pollination is carried out by birds, the term used to refer to it is ornithophily. Pollination of flowering plants by birds is common among hummingbirds, sunbirds, honey-eaters to name a few. By supplying these types of birds with a safe place to live, you are enabling the mother bird of that species to lay her eggs and raise her young. With more bird pollinators in your neighborhood, you are essentially enhancing the pollination process for vegetable plants and fruit trees, thus benefiting the environment with more productive food-bearing foliage.
Invite avian pollinators to your geographical area by creating a pollinator friendly habitat in your yard, garden, farm, park or school. To learn more about what you can do to help pollinators, click here. Download your help guide here. To find out which birdhouse is right for a particular species, go here.
Dissemination (Seed dispersal)
Some plants are dependent on birds for successful seed dispersal and regeneration. How? When seeds are eaten by birds, the outer seed coats are weakened as they pass through the bird's digestive system. Once a seed has passed completely through the digestive tract of a bird, it will often be dropped far away from the host tree's location, allowing the tree family to regenerate and expand into new areas. This is particularly beneficial in areas of the world where ecosystems are dependent on this particular process, such as new Zealand.
In the high mountains of the American West, the seeds from trees are commonly dispersed by one bird in particular - the Clark's Nutcracker. This bird is a cousin to the crow and has a sturdy bill that opens pinecones to pluck out the seeds. After it eats or stores the pinecone seeds inside its throat, it then buries the uneaten seeds, allowing the seeds to grow into adult trees. If it were not for the Clark's Nutcracker, trees would be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to regeneration, especially the Whitebark Pine!
Imagine what our world would be like without songbirds...
The sound of birds singing helps us to experience pleasure and calmness. What would our lives be like if suddenly we could not hear them singing in the morning? As we live our busy lives, the sound of a songbird outside our window makes us feel calm and gives us a sense that we are at peace with nature. Bird calls range from sweet-sounding to loud crowing, and many other sounds including chirping, chipping, crying, whistling, peeping, and even the screeching of a barn owl. Not all birds are songbirds, but it's easy to appreciate the presence of all birds when you consider what they do for us. The next time you feel a little stressed, take a walk to the park and listen for a songbird. There are many species of songbirds in America to enjoy. The resulting pleasure derived from the experience will help you to live in a harmonious world.
Negative forces are always at work!
There are many variables in nature that work against a mother bird and her babies. The chances that a negative outside force will hinder the success of a mother bird in raising her young are enormous. Predators such as snakes, cats, squirrels and raccoons are just a few examples that will prevent baby birds from reaching maturity. Human encroachment is another negative force that is always at work. Mounting a birdhouse in your neighborhood helps to create a balance between humans and birds, as well as other wildlife. It enables man and beast to thrive in the same environment, and fulfills mother natures' intended purpose for man and beast to live and evolve together in harmony.
Kids can do their part too!
Mounting a birdhouse is easy and takes little time. Kids will find it fun and satisfying. When you place a birdhouse somewhere in nature, you are essentially helping a mother bird find a safe place to lay her eggs and creating a warm environment for incubation. Parents can help kids to understand wildlife better by assisting them in mounting a simple birdhouse in their backyard. Eventually, they will develop a strong sense of awarness that they did something to contribute to their local environment. Kids will also find it facsinating watching the eggs hatch and grow into baby birds.
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, songbird populations have been declining steadily. In the case of the North American Bluebird, however, bird houses have helped to reverse this decline. In recent decades, efforts have been made by humans to help promote their numbers by building bluebird trails, which involves setting up multiple birdhouses along a track or trail at certian intervals. We now know that those birdhouse trails are actually improving bluebird numbers.
Mounting a bird house is easy and does not take much time or effort. Species such as bluebirds are enjoyable to watch and they will appreciate a bird house in your backyard. Other birds such as purple martins rely heavily on man-made structures to dwell in and you'll enjoy watching their acrobatic style of flying. Helping birds in their natural environment helps to keep our ecostructure the way it was intended.
Birds offer unique and dynamic contributions that only birds can offer. Their unique contributions would be non-existent in some areas if it were not for the efforts of compassionate human beings who set up birdhouses, as well as politicians who enact laws that protect birds and other wildlife.
"Birds are magnificent creatures, as their colors, feathers and shapes makes them very attractive to the human eye. Mounting a bird house in your backyard will help keep bird populations strong, thus helping our environment!"
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