Backyard Action Hero Toyota Backyard Action Hero Guidebook August 2016 - Page 4

Birds in the Big City Waking up in the city, you can hear many sounds coming from outside your window. You can hear the whir of buses stopping, cars roaring past, planes soaring in the sky and birds singing from the trees. Did you know that 350 species of birds call Kentucky their home? Birds have a very important task in a city ecosystem. They scatter seeds when they forage for food. "Forage" means to seek or obtain food. When birds eat seeds or fruit from a plant, those seeds can end up planted in the ground miles away through their bird droppings. Yuck, did we just talk about bird poop? We did! Bird poop sounds really gross to us, but plants love it. New plants can grow out of the seeds left in bird waste. Bird waste is also a great fertilizer for plants and helps them grow strong and healthy! Birds also do our ecosystem another favor. When birds eat nectar or pollen from plants, they help the plants pollinate. Did you know that plants have to pollinate in order to grow any of the food we eat? So, birds are partially responsible for our food supply. What an important task birds have! It’s important we make room for them in our ecosystem. So, where do all these birds live, especially in a city? The first place you may have guessed already: TREES! One of the most common places you can find birds in the city is in trees. Trees do many important things in an ecosystem, like cleaning the air or helping with the heat, but they are also an important habitat for birds, squirrels, bats and many other animals! Trees, especially tall trees, are the perfect habitat for birds. A big tall tree creates a better spot for birds to protect themselves from predators on the ground. It also gives birds a great view for spotting a meal! Next time you’re outside, look around and see how many birds you can spot in nearby tree branches or tree trunks. You may see some common birds like robins, cardinals, and finches, or maybe even a red-tailed hawk or barn owl! Some cities don’t have many trees but birds are resourceful, just like people. Cities have many buildings — and these tall metal “trees” can make great shelters for lots of birds. Climb into the attic of a church, house or business and you may find nests tucked away in these empty spaces. A fully