Why is Loss of Bird Species Important for People?
Birds have great economic and personal value to people. One-third of all human food comes from plants that are pollinated by birds, butterflies, and other wild pollinators. Birds also disperse seeds and help to control rodents, insects, and other pests that would otherwise devastate crops, forests, and ecosystems. In the western U.S., Savannah Sparrows, Sage Thrashers, egrets, and other birds help control grasshopper populations that would otherwise destroy many crops. In the eastern U.S., nesting wood warblers consume 84% of the eastern spruce budworm that would otherwise decimate forests.
Birds are loved for their aesthetic value, playing an essential role in the U.S. economy and improving the quality of life for many Americans. More than 80 million Americans observe, fish, hunt, and otherwise enjoy birds and other wildlife. Together, they support more than 2.6 million jobs in the U.S. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, America’s 46 million birders spend $32 billion annually, generating $85 billion in overall economic output and $13 billion in state and federal income taxes.
Birds are also important state symbols. Yet many states in the U.S. risk losing their state birds as the birds become extirpated or as their ranges shift because of climate change. These species include the Brown Thrasher in Georgia, the American Goldfinch in Iowa and Washington, the Baltimore Oriole in Maryland, the Black-capped Chickadee in Massachusetts, the Purple Finch in New Hampshire, and the California Quail in California.
Copied from Global Warming and Birds