Empress brilliant hummingbird and a bee in Colombia
© Jiri Hrebicek/Alam
Birds, bees, and why they're so important
As National Pollinator Week kicks off today, we're featuring what appears to be a faceoff between two pollinators. On one side, you have the bee, which takes the title as the best-known pollinator. But birds—like this lovely empress brilliant hummingbird—are excellent pollinators as well. And so are bats, beetles, and other critters that can also move pollen from plant to plant to aid pollination, giving us fruits, seeds, and the next generation of plants. So, shall we call this a draw, fellas?
Pollinator Week is meant to highlight problems—like climate change, pollution, and invasive species—that threaten these animals so critical to our food supply. Most experts place the proportion of pollinator-dependent plants at between three-quarters and 90 percent. That includes 35 percent of global food crops. So, remember: If it wasn't for pollinators, you just might be 35 percent hungrier.