Friday, May 18, 2018

Giving your backyard the bird. The benefits of birds.

Benefits of birds in the urban garden

I used to live inner city Melbourne and by that I mean in a single fronted two bedroom rental only four kilometres from the CBD. Then I moved to a semi rural area around fifty two kilometres from the CBD and I suddenly felt like I was living in that giant aviary in the Melbourne zoo. Birds I've noticed include rosellas, king parrots, cockatoos, black cockatoos, eastern spine bills, golden whistlers, owls, finches, ibises, ducks and even giant wedge tailed eagles. In fact there are heaps more that I either haven't identified or noticed. The sight of them is beautiful and relaxing (unless they are eating my plants or fruit) and the sound of their song chiming through the garden has an almost therapeutic quality to it. Obviously there are also cons to having lots of birds in your garden but I'm going to concentrate on the positive aspects in this article and try and spread some good vibes into the world.

 Benefits of birds in the garden

  • Pollination. It's not only bees that pollinate flowers, birds drink nectar and spread pollen on their beaks thereby transferring male gametes of one flower to female ovules to another flower (or it could be to the same flower or even a flower on a different plant). This process sets in place the production of fruit from the flower which then can result in seed production which can finally result in production of a whole new plant from the seed. Life is an amazing thing.
  • Pest reduction. Birds not only feed on nectar but also on other animals and insects (which are also classified as being in the animal kingdom if you want to get specific). Therefore birds can possibly reduce the amount of pest insects in your garden. Snails and slugs are the bane of many gardeners, luckily ducks seem to love eating them so grab yourself some ducks if you want less snails.
  • Wildlife Conservation. As the urban sprawl creeps further and further loss of habitat inevitable occurs. Creating a bird friendly environment in your garden can somewhat negate this impact and if done correctly can provide refuge and sustenance.
  • Head medicine. The term 'Nature Deficit Disorder' was first coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book named 'Last Child in the Woods'. He argues that people have an inbuilt desire to be in nature (called biophillia) and that prolonged absence from such environments has negative effects on people. Nature deficit disorder has become a somewhat accepted idea and interaction with birds does provide an experience some would describe as 'natural'. Whether you agree with NDD or not I think many people would argue the sound of birds singing in the morning or on a nice spring day is beautiful.
  • Increased property value? Some say that increased bird life = increased property value. I haven't looked through the info properly on this but on face value it seems as though this could be true.

With all these positive impacts I hope you're all excited and want to implement some strategies to increase bird numbers in your garden. If after reading this, you still can't get over your negative view of birds then maybe just stick a plastic flamingo in the backyard.

Want tips on how to attract birds to your garden?

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