Why Bird Feeding is Important
Putting up a bird feeder is beautiful way to connect with the earth and see the delicacy of nature from the comfort of your home, but did you know the many other benefits as well?
By simply putting up a feeder by your home, you can help with local sustainability efforts, improve bird health and populations, better your mental health, and help support local businesses.
Sustainability and Conservation
The desire to help wildlife has positive long-term effects on the environment. Welcoming birds into your yard can make huge strides when it comes to animal conservation.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states a population loss of nearly 3 billion birds are gone since 1970, steep, long-term losses across virtually all groups of birds in the U.S. and Canada. The largest cause of bird decline is habit loss, and you can help! Bird feeding can help provide a safe environment for birds to easily access a food source, water, and habitat. Using WBFI’s easy 6-Step method to roll out the welcome mat to wild birds also supports other environmental benefits. This can mean an increase in healthy vegetation, natural pest control, and support the spread of plants back into the ecosystem reports BirdLife International.
Birdseed or nectar is only part of a bird’s diet. What better way to eliminate spiders and mosquitoes than to simply invite some feathered friends to your home? A few birds that are great insect foragers that you could try to attract are bluebirds, chickadee, and hummingbirds. The National Audubon Society states hummingbirds are also excellent for pollination!
Healthier Birds and Awareness of Bird Research
A three-year WBFI study found that, generally, the individual health of birds improved with proper supplemental feeding, including:
- Increased antioxidant levels
- Reduced stress (heterophil-to-lymphocyte ratio)
- More rapid feather growth
- In some species, improved body condition index scores and innate immune defense
National Wildlife Federation also reports, “most sick or injured birds look at feeders as a place of refuge since they do not have to struggle to find food”. Naturally, this can cause you to ask questions and maybe even motivate you to do more research on your own.
Make sure that you are more help than with harm by following WBFI’s #FeedSmart suggestions. These small measures can make sure your feeding does not cause harm to birds:
- Cleaning your bird feeder regularly
- Discarding any food that smells musty or may have some mold on it
- Have multiple sets of bird feeders to switch out for ease of cleaning
- Keep cats indoors to prevent bird loss
- Avoid crowding by providing ample feeder space or placing multiple feeders
- Refrain from placing your feeder too close to your house to avoid window collisions, and add reflective decals on windows for birds
For avid birders, you can be a part of the never-ending research on bird populations, migration patterns, and more. Check out Feeder Watch, eBird, WBFI Linkedin, and WBFI Facebook to learn be more active.
Improve Your Mental Health
Bird feeding is important for the birds, but how is it important for you? It helps protect and create a healthy environment for the birds and inspires you to create a positive change in your mental health. All these things can inspire a change and help influence long-lasting positive effects for both you and the birds in your neighborhood, and help you connect with others in the hobby.
In 2019, Bird Watching was studied by the American Psychiatric Institute. Their research found that about 7 out of 10 people experienced a change in their mental health after bird feeding for only once week. This statistic suggests that even 70% of people who engage with birds in their yard will experience a mental health change.
The intimacy of being in nature and having a careful and protective connection with the birds can make all the difference in your day. You will start to care for the birds and see them as friends in your life. Spending time outside for 10 minutes a day has been proven to boost serotonin and dopamine levels (American Psychiatric Institute).
Taking a chance on bird feeding can end up changing the directory of thought patterns, emotion processes, and relationship management according to the Audubon Bird Guide.
WBFI’s 2021 Market research study also found the following emotions were associated with bird feeding:
Supporting Your Local Economy
Backyard bird feeding is the second-largest outdoor hobby (after gardening) in the United States. There are many options for consumers when it comes to bird feeding products, and many right in your hometown!
The Wild Bird Feeding Institute (WBFI) recommends keeping your purchases local to benefit small businesses and the community. Check the WBFI Retailer Map to find products right in your neighborhood. If you come from an agriculture community, you may even be supporting your local farmers!
For ideas on how to get started or how to expand your bird feeding experience, check out The Art of Attracting Birds to Your Yard.
Learn about exactly what kind of feeder you should buy for your neighborhood birds, check out Create a Backyard Sanctuary.
Birds help bring calm to this chaotic world, to learn more bird feeding and where to buy quality products visit WBFI’s Feed the Birds.