Great question. There are lots of kinds of birds,
and lots of kinds of plants, so there’s not easy
answer, but here are a few ways that some birds
help some plants.
One way is by spreading the seeds of
plants. When birds eat fruits and berries,
they move seeds away from the parent plant.
Sometimes they do this by carrying a large fruit
away to eat it. Sometimes they do this by eating
small fruits and berries whole. When they
defecate (poop) in another place, the seeds are
also covered with fertilizer. When seeds grow
near the parent plant, they may compete for water,
light, and nutrients. When they are far away,
they don’t compete with the parent or each other
as much. There may have been diseases or other
living things that attacked the parent plant.
Birds may have moved the seeds away to a safer
Another way is by pollinating plants.
Hummingbirds move pollen from one plant to
another, just like bees do. Like bees, the
hummingbirds get nectar from the plants when they
When members of two different species do things
that help both of them, we call this
mutualism. They don’t know that they are
helping each other, but it works out that way.
Bird droppings (poop) can also be a
fertilizer when if falls on soil. This is not
mutualism because the bird doesn’t really benefit
by dropping its waste near the plant.
Sometimes birds might help plants
indirectly. For example, an owl might eat
mice that would have eaten a plant. Other birds
eat insects that might eat plants.
Can you think of ways that plants help
If you are interested in relationships between
living things, you might want to study ecology.
Thanks for asking,