Q. When is a bird not a bird?

A.  When it’s a pollinator.


English: A female ruby-throated hummingbird (A...

Q.  What’s a pollinator?
A.  You know.  Like, Bees.  They lift pollen from one flower and put it down on another so plants can get what they need to produce fruits and seeds.  Bees are the most efficient pollinators and are the best pollinators along with hummingbirds and some kinds of butterflies. Other pollinators, like flies for example, are less important but are pollinators nonetheless.  And don’t forget bats.

Q.  So, when they talk about “the birds and the bees”, are they are referring to pollination?
A.  Well, yes!  Pollinators are important for biodiversity.

English: Français : Papillon monarque (Danaus ...

Q.  When birds are pollinators, are they then no longer birds?
A.  Birds will always be birds and bees will always be bees.  And even butterflies are always butterflies once they are no longer caterpillars.  Needless to say, hummingbirds are my favorite pollinators.  The pollen from the flowers is carried on the tiny feathers on their tiny heads over their bills to be deposited on other flowers.  I enjoy watching them feed at my hummingbird feeders, but when they press their little bills and foreheads into the flowers to get nectar, I know they are helping Mother Nature as pollinators.

Q.  So if birds will always be birds, why did you suggest that sometimes birds are not birds?
A.  I was just trying to get your attention.  Did it work?    😉 

Western honey bee on a flower

I like bees a lot, too.  I like watching them pollinate the flowers in my garden.  In fact, Saturday, August 18th is National Honey Bee Day.

 Here are some links you might enjoy about Honey Bee Day and pollinators.

National Honey Bee Day


Great Pollinator Project

The Hidden Beauty of Pollination / a video on TED  — this is lovely — take time to watch.

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8 Responses to Q. When is a bird not a bird?

  1. Totally understand how watching birds can really grow into an all-consuming habit! And I have bees, wild and somewhat domesticated….Great post.

  2. I love pollinators, but bees still creep me out.

  3. Deb Platt says:

    My favorite pollinator: the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29187221@N05/3734074076/).

  4. Yesterday while strolling around our favorite nature center after a full day of summer camp, my younger daughter pointed out to me a couple of bee hives in a certain tree. She was pretty excited. With all the bad news we hear about bees of late, I was pretty thrilled to see them as well. It was a great opportunity to talk about how important pollinators are!

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