Empress brilliant hummingbird and a bee in Colombia
© Jiri Hrebicek/Alam
Birds and bees, and why they're so important
As Pollinator Week kicks off today, we're in Colombia witnessing 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?
Our world wouldn't be the same without pollinators: They're to thank for as many as one in three bites of food eaten in the US. Pollinator Week is meant to highlight problems—like climate change, pollution, and invasive species—that threaten these animals so critical to our food supply.