Wisconsin Bird Pollinators – Welcome!

Ornithophily or bird pollination is the pollination of flowering plants by birds. This co-evolutionary association is derived from insect pollination, entomophily, and is particularly well developed in some parts of the world, especially in the tropics and on some island chains.

Baltimore Oriole The association involves several distinctive plant adaptations forming a "pollination syndrome". Birds involved in ornithophily tend to be specialist nectarivores with brushy tongues, long bills, capable of hovering flight or are light enough to perch on the flower structures.

Since birds do not have a strong response to scent, they tend to be odorless. Perching birds need a substantial landing platform, so larger birds are less associated with tubular flowers. Birds may obtain nectar either by perching or by hovering.

Bird pollination is considered as a costly strategy for plants and it evolves only where there are particular benefits for the plant. The flowers that are visited by birds are typically:

Tubular and have petals that are recurved to be out of the way
Have tubes, funnels, cups
Strong supports for perching
Brightly colored: red, yellow, or orange
Odorless (birds have a poor sense of smell)
Prolific nectar producers with nectar deeply hidden
Modest pollen producers are designed to dust the head or back with pollen as the bird forages

Robin with nesting materials

Provide Spring Nesting Material

It’s nesting time! Birds are master builders, putting together intricately made weavings of twig and leaf, stem and fluff, hair and moss

Hummingbird Quiz Logo

Hummingbird Quiz

Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about hummingbirds. This quiz is intended for fun, in a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.

Hummingbird pollinating a flower

Garden Plan For Birds

This guide features regional native plants for the Great Lakes that are highly attractive to bird pollinators.