Why Birds Matter

 

Ecological Value:

Birds are an essential part of the natural system. They are essential as pollinators and for seed dispersal of many plants, especially native plants.  Birds also feed on a variety of insects, rodents, and other small animals, naturally keeping those populations in check and ensuring a proper balance in their ecosystem.

 

Scientific Importance:

Bird studies help us advance scientifically. They teach us about climate and the environment. Birds are also key to indicating environmental changes.  Large, rapid bird declines alert us to an environmental problem that needs immediate attention.

 

Economic Impact:

Birders spend money on gear, gas, food, and lodging. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, birdwatching is the fastest growing outdoor recreation in the country with over 47.8 million participants in the US.  While birding is among the most inexpensive hobbies one can participate in, birders choose to spend millions of dollars per year in travel and equipment costs.

 

Birds save us millions of dollars a year.  They eat pests in gardens and farms, thereby reducing the amount of toxic pesticides needed to control these populations, and mitigating the damage pests inflict on our crops and ornamental plants.

 

Social Significance:

Birding improves people’s lives. Not only is birding a great family activity that appeals to all ages–it also provides individuals with physical and mental fitness, a sense of community, and a personal connection with nature.  These things are so important in our increasingly urbanized and technology-driven world where adults and children alike suffer from ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ (a term coined by Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods) whose symptoms include obesity, depression, attention deficit, and deficiencies in problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.