Our world wouldn’t look so lively without birds. They decorate our skies, ad sound to our world, and draw our attention away from worldly problems for a moment. Also, they become good companions in our households as gentle pets.
Of course, they poop on our windows, cars, and other places where they shouldn’t. Even, that behavior has importance too. To clean up their mess, we do physical labor, which is healthy for us.
However, those are not the only importance of birds. The most interesting reasons are yet to come. Just buckle up, and read the other reasons why birds are important for our planet.
1. Birds spread plants from one location to the other.
Birds usually carry seeds in their beaks or claws. During flights, they drop some of those seeds. And the fallen seeds start to grow at the new locations, creating a possibility for plants to spread new environments.
However, dropping a seed is not the only method of spreading. Birds sometimes eat the whole fruits and berries and they poop out undigested seeds. This process has double benefits for the new generation of plants.
Firstly, seeds grow in the safe and competition free-environment as parent plants usually deprive the young plants of getting enough moisture and sunshine to thrive in their territory.
Secondly, when seeds come out within feces, they become mixed with a dose of organic fertilizer, which allows seeds to grow faster.
2. Thanks to the birds, some species of plants exist on this planet.
Apart from their seed spreading ability, birds can also preserve plants by pollinating them as bees and butterflies do.
You may find this information new as we usually think that bees and butterflies are the primary pollinators of this planet. It seems like birds can do that job pretty well too.
Hummingbirds, sunbirds, honeyeaters, spiderhunters, brush-tongued parrots, and honeycreepers are the primary birds that pollinate the plants.
3. Birds inspired the invention of airplanes.
What if I said that without the birds, we would be living unconnected and primitive world. Although it is debatable, the idea is not far from reality.
Thanks to the invention of airplanes, our world became interconnected, creating possibilities for the growth in science, technology, trade, and mutual understanding.
So, what role did birds play in the invention of airplanes? The constructors of the first airplane, Wright brothers, observed the flights of birds and their wing motions to develop an airplane that flies.
They noticed that birds change their speed and shapes of their wings to balance their body in the sky, change their direction, take off, and to land on specific spots.
Those bird observations led Wright brothers to develop a roll control system of aircraft, using the wing-warping technique.
4. Birds eat insects that harm vegetations and trees.
As valuable members of the ecosystem, birds protect some plants and trees from harmful insects and worms.
For the sake of accuracy, we should mention that some birds can also cause damage to trees and gardens by eating fruits or tearing up the gardens and lawns in search of insects and worms.
However, in general, they help humans and nature by keeping the numbers of harmful insects under control.
Birds are nature’s true pesticides. They are much safer than chemical pesticides that cause more harm than good.
I am a true believer that everything on this planet exists for a purpose and the purpose of birds is undeniably important.
5. Birds are protectors of forests.
Some forests owe their existence to birds. We already know that even the tiniest worms can kill the giant trees.
If there are no trees, then there is no forest. So, someone needs to protect the forests from harmful herbivores.
Surprisingly, scientists found that birds are true protectors of forests. They are even better protectors than ruthless creatures such as leopards, tigers, bears, and others.
When scientists researched in a neotropical Panamian forest, they discovered that birds clean trees from harmful worms and insects.
The researchers concluded that birds were especially active during the rainy season, a time when chewing-arthropods are about 90% up compared to dry seasons.
Have you ever wondered why woodpeckers bang their face against trees so hard?
They do it not because they hate themselves or the trees. They peck the trees to reach the insects that are living inside the trees.
6. Birds alleviate stress and depression.
A scientific study discovered the therapeutic benefits of birds. People who actively watches birds outdoors have a better chance of reducing depression, stress, and anxiety.
Concisely, after surveying the mental health of 270 people, British researchers concluded that being in an environment surrounded by birds benefits the mental-health of humans.
Thus, the researchers went on to explain the potentials of using birds in preventative health care. All these suggest that birds are an integral part of the human environment.
If we do not see birds as we usually do, we will feel like something is missing out of our world or even from our life.
7. When we are talking about the importance of birds, we should not forget chickens.
Chicken are birds too. Thus, we have to honor them on this list.
What could we have done without eggs and poultry?
I know that I would have a hard time enjoying my life without scrambled eggs or the sweet cookies and cakes I like.
Eggs are the primary ingredient of most of commercial and homemade cookies and cakes.
Chicken eggs are also a cheap source of protein. Although there is an on-going debate about the health benefit of eating eggs, people consume it for taste and energy.
For instance, I know that scrambled or boiled eggs give me enough energy to write good articles like the one I am currently typing.
People have a large appetite for chicken meat universally. Over 50 billion chickens are slaughtered per year on this planet. And that number doesn’t even include male chicks and unproductive hens that are being slaughtered in egg production.
8. Birds help people to predict the weather.
This may sound like a primitive practice but some people still rely on birds to predict upcoming weather and season. These are some of the old sayings from the Old Farmer’s Almanac:
When seagulls fly inland, a storm is approaching;
If birds sing in the rain, fair weather is approaching;
If crows fly in pairs, expect fine weather; a crow flying alone is a sign of foul weather.
When the swallow’s nest is high, the summer is very dry. When the swallow buildeth low, you can safely reap and sow.
If birds in the autumn grow tame, the winter will be too cold for a game.
From your cozy couches, glancing at your fancy computers, you may say no way people still use birds as forecast machines.
However, we should know that the majority of the world’s population, more specifically about 4 billion people, do not have access to the internet. Thus, people of underdeveloped nations still use birds to predict the weather as our older generations did.
9. Pigeons served as message carriers before the time of radio.
Pigeons could deliver one-way messages to the distances up to 185 miles (300 km) with a speed up to 37-43 mph (60-70 km/h).
You may have already seen pigeons as messengers in movies. When people desperately needed to communicate a message, pigeons came to their help.
However, that is a little romanticized statement. Pigeon did not actually volunteer to help humans, they were separated from their dear homes, where they were being fed.
In other words, they were put into the cages and taken to the locations where the message needs to be sent from. At those locations, people wrote messages to a thin layer of paper, attached to the pigeons, and then released them free.
In most cases, the pigeons returned with a message to their original home thanks to their homing ability. This practice was especially popular during the Franco-Prussian war between 1870 and 1871.
When German troops besieged France, citizens needed to communicate with the outside world. At first, they started using balloons to send messages. However, balloons delivered one-way messages as they did not come back.
Then, they started attaching pigeon cages into the balloons so the pigeons would come back with the message once the other side released them.
Of course, this practice was not the ideal since some pigeons never returned. However, in general, pigeons earned a great reputation with their service. Even, some of them became war heroes.
10. Birds helped humans to hunt and still do.
The practice of training falcons for hunting is called Falconry. It was very popular in the past, and still being practiced in parts of the world as a modern sport.
Red-tailed hawk, Harris’s hawk, peregrine falcon, eagles are commonly used birds in Falconry.
At first, falconer tames their birds of prey, establishes a strong bond with them, and teaches them to respond to specific signals and callings.
Thanks to their sharp eyes and oversight vision, the birds of prey find potential prey much better than humans do. Plus, they can capture their target easily by directly landing on them.
Nevertheless, falconry or the capturing birds of prey for the wild games is not legal in some parts of the world. Some countries forbid the practice while some others require special licenses for such activities.
11. Some bird nests are expensive food for humans.
I know you may found the statement quite confusing. It is because the majority of people do not know that some bird nests are edible.
People usually visualize the nests as structures made with only mud, twigs, and grass. But some cave-dwelling birds use more than that. They produce edible saliva to build nests.
Especially the nests built by swiftlets are popular and they are considered one of the most expensive food on the planet. Some people pay over 4,500 USD to purchase just a pound of edible bird nest. But does it worth it?
Although the benefits of edible nests are yet to be confirmed through the precise scientific studies, Traditional Chinese medicine used them as one of the healing substances for over a thousand years.
People in Asia use them to enhance their immunity and to treat certain organ damages. For instance, one study found the promising potential of bird nest in cancer treatment and to treat intestinal immune injury.
12. Birds tackle one of the dirtiest jobs to keep our planet clean.
Scavenger birds such as vultures, eagles, falcons, owls, gulls, ravens, and crows consume carcasses of dead animals. That behavior keeps our world clean, eliminates unpleasant odor, and reduces disease outbreaks.
Especially the vultures are pro in those types of jobs. Unfortunately, in the modern world, vultures got a dirty reputation for what they eat. However, we have to be aware that clean up the vultures do is worthy of praises.
13. Birds gave hope to sailors.
In the past, sailors took long voyages in the vast oceans. Due to the lack of technology, they did not know whether they were approaching to land or not. And, sailors got lost sometimes.
In those desperate situations, a sighting of sea birds was great hope and comfort for the lost sailors.
Sailors knew that land was approaching since birds can fly only a limited distance from land.
For these reasons, sailors and birds have a strong bond starting from the earlier times. Some sailors even consider getting pooped by a bird is good luck sign.
According to Cristopher Columbus, his crew was motivated to go on in the vast Atlantic Ocean during the Voyage to the Indies thanks to the birds.
Columbus’s sailors grew anxious when they sailed without spotting a land for many days. Columbus even considered turning back to Europe.
However, the spirit of the crew revived when they started spotting white sea birds. Those were the first creatures that welcomed the European conquistadors to the lands of the Americas.
14. Birds help to boost the tourism industry.
It is not unusual for people to travel thousands of miles from their home town to just observe their favorite birds.
No matter tourists are going to the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad to see scarlet ibis, to Ramsey Canyon Preserve to watch tiny hummingbirds, or to Amazon Rainforest to observe vibrant Toucans, they are putting some money to a local economy.
Modern lifestyle separated most of us from nature. We do not spend as much time in nature as our previous generations did.
To compensate for that loss, people like to go to nature in their free time to get mental relaxation. So, to get a better experience from this rare opportunity, people choose to travel places that promise a pleasant experience and they are ready to pay for it.
15. Penguins are birds too, and yes, they are important for our planet.
Penguins are not only important cartoon or movie characters, but they also play a crucial role in the planet’s ecosystem.
Penguins mostly live in the cold Antarctic regions, where the vegetation is relatively scarce.
Penguins enrich the Antarctic maritime soil with their feces, which are rich in carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous.
More specifically, penguins produce natural fertilizer called guano, which is accumulated excrement of penguins or other birds.