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Providing food, shelter and water for backyard birds can bring hours of enjoyment and education to your family. This is a wonderful way to enjoy the sight and sound of birds...and learn about bids and their hatitat needs at the same time.
In California's arid environment, birds are becoming more and more dependent on people for water, in particular. With few natural fresh water sources in our concrete jungle, birds have to search diligently for fresh, clean water. Urban birds are often seen drinking out of dirty street puddles. Yuck!
Because birds help control insect populations, pollinate flowers, disperse seeds and serve as food for larger predators, they are important to a healthy environment, even in the city.
Birds, like all wildlife, continue to lose natural sources of food. Habitat loss is the leading cause for endangered and extinction of species. Cities in Southern California are located along the Pacific Flyway" a migration route for many species of birds. Among backyard visitors are hummingbirds, robins, finches and even bats (well, bats aren't exactly birds, but we'll deal with that in another article.) But migration in urban areas means that the birds need places to rest, eat and drink as they travel. Even year round residents would appreciate a helping hand.
If you decide to attract birds to your backyard, think of them as "wild pets". If you feed or water them, they will depend on you for quality food and water and safety from predators.
So think of feeding birds as a very simple but important element of environmental responsibility. Enjoy the birds -- you need them and they need you.
Backyard birding is a great way to begin learning about the wonders of natural habitat, wildlife and our native landscapes. For example, did you know that California is home to six or more species of Hummingbirds? They migrate and reside in our state annually...and some reside here year rounds. The California area is blessed with more species than any other US area -- and that is why the Hummingbird is so popular with California birdwatchers and backyard bird stewards.
Here are a few examples and resources for wildlife habitat projects in community spaces:
And info on how to develop a habitat sanctuary:
For more articles about BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS!Bird Profiles for Young Natguralists
Red Breasted Nuthatch
Carolina House Wren
White Breasted Nuthatch
For more articles about INSECTSLady Bug Invasion
Moths and Nightlights
Bees in the City
Insects are busy little critters
Earth's Most Successful Life Form
Keeping ants in nature