Screech owl sitting in front of green tree leaves

Feathered friends

Egyptian vulture

Bird is the word

From parakeets to pompadour cotingas, birds are awesome animals. With their bright colors and pretty songs, it’s no wonder so many people sing the praises of our feathered friends. But did you know that birds also do their share of the work in their habitat?

Costa's hummingbird hovers near a spray of red flowers

Gifted gardeners

Those busy little hummingbirds, for example, are expert pollinators, helping plants and flowers blossom! And where would we be without seed dispersers like fruit doves? After eating fruit, these natural gardeners carry the seeds in their digestive tract and deposit them elsewhere to start another bloom.

East African crowned crane standing on one leg

Clean-up crew

Other birds help keep things clean and pest-free. Many birds are insect eaters, which control insect populations and can even cut down on the risk of disease. African crowned cranes even stomp their feet as they walk, stirring up insects for a quick meal. Rodent populations could multiply out of control if it wasn’t for hunters like owls to help keep their numbers in check.

Rueppell's vulture sitting on a rock

Vulture culture

And probably the most helpful of these busy birds are scavengers like vultures, who eat everyone else’s “leftovers” and clean up carrion, reducing the chance of disease in their habitat.

So the next time you see a bird winging by, think about its “to-do” list and you’ll probably know why they fly away so fast—they’re busy!