Pest services, courtesy of your neighborhood bug eating birds, are free!
The estimate in a recent study is that the world's birds eat 450 million to 550 million tons of insects and other arthropods each year. 450 million tons means that billions of beetles, flies, ants, moths, aphids, grasshoppers, crickets and other plant eating insects along with mosquitoes, spiders, millipedes, gnats and more are consumed by birds each year. With more than 6,000 different species of insect-eating birds worldwide eating billions of insects each year, it's clear that insectivorous birds play a major role in suppressing pest insects.
Even birds that feed on seeds much of the year need to feed protein rich insects to their young each nesting season. So that at the same time we are raising our gardens, many birds are working hard to raise their young on insects.
It's been known for some time how beneficial birds are in the landscape, including our gardens, but now this study highlights the volume of potential plant pests consumed each year by birds. Dr. Martin Nyffeler at the University of Basel, Switzerland led the recent study based on experimental work by researchers around the world. His conclusion is that billions of plant-eating insects are captured and eaten by birds, including potentially damaging caterpillars and beetles. “In doing so, birds, in concert with other natural enemies such as spider and ants, contribute to natural insect pest suppression resulting in reduced herbivore damage.”
Dr. Nyffeler stated that “our motivation to publish this paper was to raise public awareness and increase the level of appreciation for birds, a class of highly beneficial, endangered animal.”
Make your yard or garden bird friendly and they'll thank you by providing free pest control services. Pest control of billions of insects, worldwide.
The study was published in the journal The Science of Nature.