Birds provide important insect control as well as add great beauty and sound to the garden. It is important to encourage wild birds to come to the garden, farm, and ranch even though some of our feathered friends can become pests.
Purple Martin - Photo by Dick Danies, via Wikimedia
Attracting birds with food or shelter to your garden allows you to enjoy their songs and beauty; what's more, their presence helps with the control of many troublesome insects. Hummingbirds, for example, like to eat many flying insects, including mosquitoes and gnats. Purple martins, swifts, and swallows also eat an enormous amount of flying insects. Purple martins are large swallows that are uniformly blue-black. Females have light-colored bellies. They glide in circles, alternating quick flaps and glides, and they spread their tail feathers more than other swallows. They nest in loose masses of debris in tree hollows, barns, other buildings, and purple martin houses. They feed on flying insects, but contrary to popular opinion, mosquitoes make up only about 10 percent of their diet. Sorry about that. Bats are much better for mosquito control.
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