Many gardeners have a love/hate relationship with birds. They love that birds will eat insects, build nests and bring their lovely songs into the garden. The downside to having these winged creatures in the garden is the likelihood that they will eat fruit and vegetables. Birds have a definite place in nature as do butterflies and bees. They eat insects and plants, disperse seeds and keep many insect populations in check.
Some birds will be drawn to the garden to eat aphids, some to eat the seeds of a sunflower, and others to eat rodents that may also be looking for free food. By allowing birds to share your garden, you increase the survival rate of birds in your area and allow them to help to keep your garden free from predators that you may not want.
Most of the fun of having birds in your backyard is watching their antics. By watching them you may begin to understand their unspoken language. In spring the courtship rituals by males towards females ensure that each species will survive. Only males that are in peak condition get a chance to mate. Males will defend their territory from intruders and sometimes a fight may erupt between two males. They may be protecting a food supply or a nest site.
Watching a mother bird feed her young and teach them to fend for themselves is a glorious sight. When a fledgling is ready to be weaned, the mother will take it to a feeder but the baby will continue to beg for food and ignore her attempts to get it to eat at the feeder. The mother must teach by example, and the baby will soon learn how to feed itself. Flying is also taught by example.
Birds stick together and will often form groups to chase away predators, such as hawks, until they fly away from the area. Females and some males build nests. The killdeer however, just lay their eggs on the ground in small indentations that may be formed there, and will pretend to be injured themselves by crying and holding out their wings far from the nest to keep any predators away.
The sound of birds singing in the morning is one of the many pleasures that gardeners benefit from when birds are settled in their garden. Birds sing to communicate with each other. Male birds sing to attract females and this is one way that females may pick a mate.
There are many benefits to having birds in your garden, if only for their bright plumage and their wonderful songs.