By Michelle Pugle
Birds can easily be seen as garden pests—just ask any gardener whose newly sown seeds have “disappeared” or whose crops have been raided. While we do our best to prevent our outdoor gardens from becoming bird brunch, sometimes we’re simply outwitted. Our seed covers, raised bed screens, stakes and flags, etc. fail us. It happens.
It can be quite devastating to see our hard work destroyed, but there’s another side to this age-old story of gardeners versus birds. The benefits of birds in our organic gardens far outweigh any damage done.
Here are four major benefits of having birds visit your organic garden:
Free organic weed control
In the spring and summer months, birds are busy munching up the weed seeds in your lawn and ground cover. This prevents invasive plant species from taking over your backyard, and it saves you the hard work of pulling weeds on weekends.
It’s important to note, though, that many bulk bird seeds you purchase for feeders contain invasive plant species seeds. In turn, this can actually promote the spread of such weeds, so be sure to check before filling feeders or simply create your own mix.
- Bug population balance
Birds are a gardener’s best friend because they keep bug populations in check.
Birds can help control infestations of bug species ranging from cabbage worms and whiteflies to mosquitos and moths. This does double duty: It protects your garden crops and saves you from being bothered by flying insects while you’re outside trying to relax.
Sure, if we don’t take active measures to protect our crops, birds can induce some stress—but it isn’t their fault.
Moreover, watching and hearing birds actually offers a free source of stress-relief. The very sight and sound of a bird in your backyard or on your balcony can reconnect you to nature and offer mental health benefits like reduced stress, depression, and anxiety.
It’s not just the bees and butterflies we need to worry about.
Birds are another beneficial pollinator that deserve our respect, appreciation, and protection. Birds are particularly important when it comes to pollinating flowers—including wildflowers found along roadsides, in forests, and in our own organic gardens. It’s argued that even though we may not eat these wildflower species, they are still crucial to the overall health of our ecosystems.