Animals Wildlife How Birds Are Important Pollinators By Jaymi Heimbuch Writer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Jaymi Heimbuch Updated May 10, 2019 Bill Bouton/MNN Flickr Group Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species Cape May warbler sips nectar This male Cape May warbler was photographed in his wintering grounds in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, where he spends his day using his semitubular tongue to collect nectar from flowers. During breeding season in the north, he searches for insects, mainly budworms on spruce trees. He is an example of a bird species that helps with plant pollination. Other bird species that are major players in pollination include hummingbirds, honeycreepers, and spiderhunters. Ornithophily, the process by which plants are pollinated thanks to bird activity, is done mostly by nectar-eating birds. These plants attract their feathery pollinators by having flowers with bright colors, and pollen that is particularly sticky so it can cling to bird feathers. As birds flit from flower to flower, they drop off and pick up pollen with each meal. But it isn't just nectar-eating birds that do the job. Birds that feed on the insects that live off flower-bearing plants also play a role. When flowers are pollinated, plants can produce the fruits and seeds that feed other species. So next time you're planning out which plants to add to your garden to attract pollinators, don't forget about our feathered friends!