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Why should birds matter to you or me? Simple - birds can save us - but only if we can save them first.

Beyond culture, color and the enrichment that they offer all of us, birds offer practical help. My goal this week is to get you thinking about all of this and why birds matter.

Birds offer something for every constituency. They offer ecosystem services. Because they are an “umbrella” species, their protection ensures good habitat for many others.

Birds disperse seeds, helping to revegetate habitats and allow the survival of many species. They even protect drinking water by preventing erosion.

Do you like flowers? Thank the birds. Hummingbirds pollinate individual flowers, flowering shrubs and blooming trees. Just think if YOU had to do all that work.

They also help slow the spread of disease by eating carrion. Those vultures may be ugly, but they are saving lives.

Birds consume 98% of the most harmful pests, giving farmers a chance to grow the crops we all depend on.

They also directly stimulate the economy. According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, birding created more than one million new jobs. There are at least 45 million birders in the USA, contributing $80 billion to the US annually.

Birds have important cultural relationships with humans. In addition to occasionally being someone's pet, birds have a role in folklore and in certain religions. Commanders used birds during time of war to communicate with troops. Birds are used to find food. Birds inspire art and design. Their feathers are used to produce more than 100 products.

Beyond all these practical matters, birds bring us song and beauty which both nourish our souls.

They face lots of challenges and more than 1,200 species face extinction over the next century which is alarming. Because as birds go - so do we.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Avian Beauty. Thanks for listening.

Be sure to visit avianbeauty.com for more bird inspiration and information and please consider subscribing (for free) to our blog and podcast. I’m Scott Bourne. Happy birding.

If you’d like to show your appreciation for this site, please consider the purchase of prints or gifts featuring Scott’s bird art, visit scottbourne.photos for more information.

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