- Author: Lanie Keystone
Now that most of our Solano County trees are fully leafed out we're all enjoying the beauty, shade and important work they do protecting us and our planet in this time of climate crises. And, of course, trees are one of the most important support systems for our local and migratory birds.
A 2019 research statistic just published by the Arbor Day Foundation, frames just how critical trees are to the global avian community: “The U.S. and Canada have lost nearly one third of their birds since 1970.”
Put another way, that's an unimaginable 2.9 billion birds lost in a blink-of-an-eye moment of 49 years! As dire as this may sound, it's not too late to make a “U-Turn” for our local bird population. Tree planting is the most important way to make a difference. Add in a few other easy steps and we can all begin to help them survive and thrive. While each of these steps is familiar to us, they all bear repeating.
HOW WE CAN HELP BIRDS
- Plant trees with fruit, nuts or seeds that attract birds.
Here are a few examples:
Fruit-Bearing Trees: Cherries, Dogwoods, Plums, Viburnums, Service berries, Apples, Crabapples, Hawthorns, Sumacs,
Nut and Acorn-Bearing Trees: Butternuts, Walnut, Chestnuts, Hazels, Hickories, Oaks
Seed-Bearing Trees: Alders, Birches, Firs, Hemlocks, Maples, Spruces
- Plant trees of varying heights when they reach maturity. This will attract birds with different niches for feeding and nesting.
- Set out a bird bath and keep it filled with fresh water. Do be aware of standing water breeding mosquitoes.
- Hang bird feeders in your yard. Though different birds prefer different seed blends, you can't miss with black oil sunflower seeds—enjoyed by most all varieties.
- In safe locations, retain dead trees. Woodpeckers and other cavity-nesting birds depend on them for nesting and breeding.
So, after going to this little effort—what do we get in return from our fine feathered friends?
HOW BIRDS HELP US
- Birds contribute to our food supply by pollinating more than 5% of all plants grown for human consumption.
- They quietly go about keeping the insect population in check.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation—
A Baltimore oriole can consume 17 hairy caterpillars in a minute; A house wren feeds 500 insects to its young every summer afternoon; and a pair of flickers consider 5,000 ants just a little snack!
- Birds provide the background music for our lives.
- Birds give us never-ending wonder, beauty, joy and a quest for discovery and knowledge.