Our fine, feather friends are exactly that, our friends! Birds are a beautiful and important part of our world.
And there are a lot of them! While it would be impossible to get an exact number, scientists agree with bird expert James Fisher that there are about 200 billion or more birds on the planet.
Compared with 7.8 billion people, the birds have us outnumbered for sure!
But before you have Hitchcockian type fears, know that these beautiful creatures have more to fear from us than us from them.
Since the 1500s, birds have been declining both in the number of species and number of birds due to our activities.
Climate changes induced by human activities, the cutting down of their habitats, and pollution and contamination have contributed to the decline of birds and the extinction of some species.
BIRDS ARE VITAL TO OUR ECOSYSTEM
Despite that and without any fanfare or fuss, birds continue to be a vital part of our ecosystem.
They go about their tasks with precision and little thanks from us. Our feathered friends both pollinate and disperse the seeds of many plants.
Hummingbirds, spiderhunters, sunbirds, honeycreepers, and honeyeaters are the most common bird species that pollinate.
Usually, these species pollinate orange, yellow, or bright red flowers that have a little scent.
That is because birds have a keen sense of color but little sense of smell.
With their long curved beaks, the most perfect of pollinators, the hummingbird, hovers in midair by flapping their wings up to 80 times per second.
That is a lot of flapping and has to be exhausting! The primary pollinator of wildflowers throughout the world is birds.
BIRDS KEEP PESTS AT BAY
The birds that live in your area do you exceptional service by keeping down the insect population.
They keep the growth of these pests under control during good weather and keep crops from excessive damage by insects, too.
They also (thank you!!) keep rodents from overpopulation. Birds, especially hawks, eagles, and owls hunt these rodent pests and carry them away as food for themselves and their babies.
BIRDS KEEP NATURE CLEAN
Birds, such as vultures like the Californian and Andean condors, clean up carcasses before they have time to rot, and so are like a natural sanitation system.
Ravens, Crows, and Magpies are also scavengers that play an essential part in the food web.
They keep the ecosystem free of dead bodies and break down the organic material and recycle it back into the ecosystem as nutrients.
BIRDS HELPED SAVE LIVES
In days of yore, or at least before the latest iPhone, birds were used for communication purposes.
Carrier pigeons were used to deliver news, via a small letter tied around their neck, to villages and towns.
While it sounds like a relatively benign activity, know that during WWII, pigeons were used for carrying messages by the Army, the Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Civil Defense Services.
Carried on RAF aircraft, pigeons were relied upon to fly back to base with the aircraft's location in the event the plane had to be ditched.
A pigeon named Gustav carried the first Reuters new dispatch on D-Day. Gustave was released to travel the 150 miles back to his loft at RAF Thorney Island.
He made the trip in five hours and sixteen minutes, having faced headwinds of up to 30 mph.
Because of radio silence, the message Gustave delivered was the first news of the invasion.
His message read: "We are just 20 miles or so off the beaches. First assault troops landed 0750. Signal says no interference from enemy gunfire on beach... Steaming steadily in formation. Lightnings, Typhoons, Fortresses crossing since 0545. No enemy aircraft seen."
BIRDS NEED OUR HELP
Studies by New York Audubon estimates that over one billion birds are killed each year by flying into glass doors and windows.
Most of those killed are migratory songbirds. Birds do not see the glass as a solid barrier. They see the reflection of the sky or trees on the glass.
How can you help protect these valuable birds? You can support the birds that live in your neighborhood in a simple but effective way.
If you have a bird feeder outside, position it less than three feet from any window or glass.
This will prevent the bird from getting up enough flight speed to hurt themselves flying into the glass when leaving the feeder.
There is a simple way to keep birds from crashing into the glass, which is both easy and looks good.
Having a pattern on your window will “break up” the reflection and allow a bird in flight to see that there is a solid object in front of it.
EASY, INEXPENSIVE AND DECORATIVE HELP FOR BIRDS
There is a variety of appealing, inexpensive options for your doors and windows.
This particular one, BlueBird Of Happiness, is a favorite that can be placed on a sliding glass door or any of your windows.
Easy to apply, these decals are also removable, and you can reposition them if you decide you want them in a different spot.
They come two to a package. There are lovely patterns, such as this Blue Mosaic Glass Door Decal.
Remember, though, that window film does not need to have color to be effective in keeping birds from flying into the glass.
If you have a larger surface, such as a door, this Tropical Window Film Etched Glass would be a perfect option.
Our feathered friends do a lot for us. They pollinate flowers and disperse seeds.
They eat pesky annoying insects and mice. They are one of nature's sanitation workers. Birds have even helped us humans communicate during a war.
Delightful creatures, birds fill our air with song and beauty.
It is a small and easy thing we could do for them by applying decorative decals to our windows to avoid them being killed by flying into a window they can't see.
These decals will also be useful in your home for small children, pets, and guests who are visiting.
It is not just the birds who don't see the glass. YouTube is full of videos of the unsuspecting who go careening into these barriers.
Just like the time Ellen walked into a sliding glass door.