Gardening is for the birds and can be fun and satisfying on many levels. It’s a way to get outdoors, involve the family in a project and is for all skill levels.
But how does it help the birds?
Some of our food travels really far before it reaches us. I have had apples from Michigan, tomatoes from Mexico, avocados from California and pineapple from Costa Rica all in the same day. Of course, not everything is locally available, but there are ways we can reduce how far some of our food has to travel.
Reducing exhaust from transport helps the entire environment. Most of us have lawns that have a lower value to the birds than other habitats. Replacing a bit of lawn with a garden creates a food source for the birds and gives us less to mow and maintain. More green space, more insects, more water and better soil all lead to a healthier yard environment.
Over time, if more of us farmed a bit of our own yard space, it would add up to a huge savings both monetarily and environmentally.
Eating less processed food helps our health and the environment. Factory-made products use a lot of water, energy and chemicals. Buying local and growing your own eliminates some of that need to buy processed foods and is much healthier.
If your gardening skills allow for an overabundance of food there sometimes options to donate produce to local food pantries. Or you could preserve and can your vegetables for later use.
FERTILIZERS AND PESTICIDES
Commercial farms use way more fertlizer and pesticide that local small gardeners. Water run-off containing these chemicals affects the quality of the lakes and oceans. The health of our water directly affects us and the birds.
It is also more difficult to know what exactly is used on your produce when it comes from farther away. What you can can control is what you put on your own vegetables and it doesn’t get any more local than that.
We can reduce and refuse to add to the landfills and plastic accumulation in the ocean by buying less. When you grow your own produce there is much less packaging involved.
Landfills are toxic and anything we can do to reduce what goes in it helps the environment. Plastic in the ocean directly harms birds and all marine life.
LET’S GARDEN FOR THE BIRDS
The bottom line is that anything we do that helps the general environment also helps the birds. Having plants growing in your yard gives the birds some food and cover and eliminates having to care for more lawn. Our own health improving in addition to saving money over time helps us be more available to care for wildlife and work on conservation efforts.
Gardening is a win-win for all of us.
Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
International Bird Rescue’s article on plastic and birds
Birdfreak: Composting is for the Birds