9 SURPRISING BENEFITS OF FEEDING BIRDS IN YOUR GARDEN!
Being one with nature
Bird feeders are an amazing way to get in touch with nature.
Hummingbirds, cardinals and an array of feathery friends can color your garden and visit your window, filling your home with magic and wonder.
Moments spent observing wildlife are not only precious… you also gain a few pretty perks! So let us perch on your branch and give you 9 reasons why you should have bird feeders in your backyard.
1. Garden Flower Pollination
Certain types of birds actually help to pollinate your flowers, filling your flower pots and beds at no extra charge!
Pollination makes your flowers grow bigger and brighter, attracting butterflies and many more species of multicolored birds. A feast for your eyes!
Here's a taste pollination in action. I have to admit, my heart skipped a few beats when I saw this. And I'm willing to bet that those giving a standing ovation in the end of this gorgeous visual TED talk have bird feeders at home!
2. Getting rid of bugs and insects
The seeds and nectar you offer your birds are just their first course.
From your feeder they continue to other juicy tidbits in your backyard: insects, worms, snails and even spiders.
Birds such as the purple martin and other swallows eat vast quantities of winged insects.
They love to eat mosquitoes, beetles, flies, dragonflies and moths. Free pest control, if you will, natural and environment friendly.
Here's a little more about Barn Swallows and their mates:
3. Weeds… the gardener’s nemesis!
Some birds, like goldfinches, come to your aid and eat seeds belonging to species of weed.
The more these feathery landscapers visit your garden, the more your weeds will be pecked out of your backyard.
If you supply the bird food, they’ll help you in the garden.
Let's get a quick visual of what it might look like!
4. Keep your birds close to you and close to their chicks.
During nesting season, the more food birds find, the less they need to leave their young’uns alone in the nest while foraging for food.
With steady nutrition, you help them reach their caloric intake, keep them stress-free and close to their babies.
A happy bird makes a happy garden!
Here's some beautiful footage of Mama and Papa cardinal feeding their little chicks. Imagine this, by your window or in your garden. Truly a treat, all puns intended.
5. Winter is coming!
As we have destroyed so much natural habitat with urban housing and construction, the amount of natural resources left for birds in the wild has been much reduced.
This fact becomes especially apparent during the winter when not all birds migrate. At a time when foraging becomes extra difficult, seeds are scarce and the ground is covered in snow. Bird feeders allow us to balance this scarcity of food and offer them a way to keep their bellies full in the harshest of seasons.
According to a recent study by Millikin University, the survival rate of birds increases by 38% in an area with bird feeders.
For the feathered ones who do migrate, bird feeders give them the energy needed for the long journey.
6. Need entertainment? Step into your garden!
In the summer, gardens with bird feeders attract all kinds of birds during the mating season. In addition to the regular birds in your garden, mating season invites migrational species to visit your home, such as unique species of cardinals (black headed or red breasted), orioles and other types of hummingbirds.
Some birds are sexually active only during the mating season, so this is their time to dress up and put on make up! If in the winter these birds look grey and dreary, come summer time - look out - they become colorful, bright and flashy.
When the newly hatched chicks come around, the parents actually introduce their newly borns to your bird feeders and spend a good while around them. By now the birds are used to you and not afraid of you anymore, so all you have to do is sit back on your patio or deck - and enjoy the show.
7. Having birds in your garden can keep you in touch with the younger generation.
Showing them different type of birds can teach your children or grandchildren compassion for animals, and the values of empathy, love and caring.
Not to mention hours of activity and fun! You can order books (for children) about how to recognise birds and play the naming game, identifying each bird that comes to visit and peck at your bird feeder. Take photos of each regular feathery visitor, print out each bird, give them names and start a "tree-family." Watch the family grow bigger and happier.
8. My own personal pet.
Having birds in your garden is almost like having a pet, but in its natural habitat. You’ll get to know “the usuals” by their familiar chirps and sounds, their favorite branch to perch on, their regular visiting times. You’ll get to know them like an old friend, and enjoy each other’s company. Bird feeding helps battle one of modern society’s greatest afflictions – loneliness. As birds stay close and loyal to their food resource, people who feed birds begin to recognize these repeat visitors and they gradually become a part of the family. One can spend hours of quirky fun with this new family.
9. Ahh, the wonders of Nature!
Bird feeders encourage you to spend more time outdoors. According a recent research, spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing.
A study from the University of Michigan proves that being in nature
- improves your memory.
- improves your sense of self and happiness.
- helps you absorb vitamin D from the sun which can help reduce stress and possibly prevent cancer, osteoporosis and heart attacks.
So simply sitting on your patio or in your garden as you birdwatch will keep you youthful, in and out.
No matter where you are in life, the most common piece of advice given to anyone universally, is "take a quick break." Sitting by your window or in the garden, as you observe nature do its thing, can really bring you in touch with yourself again and regain a sense of calm and enchantment.
Whether in Japan, Kenya or the United States, nature is filled with beauty, surprises, and humour. That's what connects us as human beings around the world. The fact that we get to be a part of this beauty around us. And if all you have to do is get a bird feeder to be a part of it - not only are we giving birds a better chance to survive, we get to slip into a portal of beauty and observe this wonder.
Sounds like a good deal to me.