Why do birds matter to you?

By Heath Keirstead | February 7, 2020

From 2019 to 2021, Benton SWCD is focusing our native plant outreach on birds and the actions we can take to support them. Some of the important services birds provide include:

  • Birds control pests – birds eat millions of tons of insects every year including mosquitoes and agricultural pests.
  • Birds pollinate plants – some of our most important foods and plant-based medicines are pollinated by birds.
  • Birds scavenge efficiently – it’s estimated that a single vulture provides $11,600 in waste disposal services over its lifetime.
  • Birds disperse seeds – birds aid in plant propagation by flying to new areas and leaving seeds behind.
  • Birds balance landscapes – birds improve ecosystem health in forests, grasslands, and other habitats by helping to maintain the balance between herbivores and plants.
  • Birds inspire technology – birds have long inspired scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Flight strategy, shock absorber design, hover power, and drone and robot engineering are just a few of the ways birds inform new technologies.
  • Birds reduce stress – hearing bird song may even provide psychological benefits like increased focus and productivity, improved mood, and reduced stress. Some hospitals now play birdsong in their corridors to help patients relax.

At our Annual Meeting on January 13, 2020, we asked our guests why birds matter to them. Here is what they said.


  • are a very important part of the web of life.
  • are living dinosaurs! and they are beautiful.
  • matter because they are fun to watch and an indicator of a healthy environment.
  • are beautiful to watch. Songs are wonderful. Fun just to see them interact with each other.
  • matter because they tell us about the health of our forest.
  • matter because, besides bringing joy, color, song, and interest to my day, birds are important for our ecosystems. They are indicators of how healthy our environment is. I love birds!
  • cheer me! Beautiful, wonderful songs, amazing adaptability to weather, migrations of many mind boggling! They show the health of our planet. Wonderful variety of species.
  • are part of the web and habitat of life.
  • provide an easy and up close connection to wildlife. “backyard wildlife”
  • matter to me because they remind me of how connected our world is.
  • matter because they matter and they’re cool. And pollination.
  • eat bugs.
  • feed other birds.
  • are full of character and sass.
  • are entertaining.
  • are inspiring.
  • never complain.
  • are independent. They appreciate what we try to do for them but if we stop they adapt.
  • are beautiful.
  • eat insects.
  • amuse my INDOOR cats.
  • are important to the health of ecosystems.
  • make beautiful music.
  • enrich my life.
  • are an indicator species that we need to be concerned about.
  • let you know the health of the soil by what they are eating and foraging for.
  • make me smile, bring calm, and are part of the ecoystem.
  • are the canary in the coal mine.
  • control bug populations.

Other reasons why birds matter…

  • I love watching them and hearing their songs. They are important aspect of wildlife diversity.
  • Joy – watching birds from my warm home helps me feel connected to nature.
  • Amusement.
  • Routine and sense of place, always present, and their own relations and coupling.
  • Their diversity, color, songs, behavior, eating bugs and amazing hunting skills.
  • I love the colors.
  • We have chickens. Besides providing eggs, I like seeing their funny personalities and realizing that even these little dinosaurs are “people” too.
  • Site, sound, habitat.
  • Rodent and insect control.
  • Birding hobbyist; dollars spent all over the world reach into the millions? It supports and protects habitats everywhere.
  • Bird song.
  • Inspiration; meditation.

Now, tell us, why do you think birds matter? Enter your response here.

About the Author

Heath Keirstead

Heath Keirstead manages Benton SWCD’s Communications and Community Engagement as well as the Native Plant Program and Youth Education. She has a Master’s in Soil Science from Oregon State University. With a dual passion for people and the planet, she loves building relationships with partners, customers, volunteers, and students.

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