Birds, like any living being, have intrinsic worth. And as descendants of dinosaurs, they’ve graced this world for much longer than we have. Birds provide an accessible link to the natural world for people everywhere. Their sweet songs, remarkable plumage, daring migrations, and fascinating social lives inspire our art, music, poetry, design, spirituality, and culture.
Those who take even a moment to appreciate the beauty of their local birds are always rewarded. In fact, studies show that birds increase our happiness levels! It’s no wonder that birdwatching and bird feeding are such popular activities across North America, contributing billions of dollars to the economy.
Birds also provide us with a host of beneficial ecosystem services, free of charge. They pollinate plants, distribute seeds, and control pest populations. We may only realize the true economic value of these services when it is too late, when we no longer have birds providing free tree-planting services, taking care of pest outbreaks, or keeping disease in check.