Somewhere a long time ago, I read that the shortage of Hummingbirds was because of pesticides. At my old place (about 75 miles east of here) I counted11 Hummingbirds at one time all vying for a spot on the feeder. I have seen 1 a year here in the Willamette Valley! The difference is terrible, and I really miss those little zoomers.
According to Jonathan Ya'akobi at Dry Climate Gardening, a pair of nesting birds can eat 75 pounds (POUNDS!!) of bugs in a year. This includes aphids, insect eggs and caterpillars.
I've been actively researching plants that attract birds (bees, butterflies and beneficial insects) and are still part of my edible landscaping plan.
To attract and keep the beneficial critters a few things are needed - food, water, shelter and no pesticides.
Dill (food for Black Swallowtail caterpillars)
Fennel (food for Black Swallowtail caterpillars)
Parsley (food for Black Swallowtail caterpillars)
Crab Apples (Crab Apple Jelly anyone?)
I also located this LIST online that has some great suggestions for attracting birds.
The folks at EarthEasy have plenty of suggestions how to control pests by attracting beneficial insects too!
Evergreen shrubs and trees (leaves or needles or both!) to protect them from predators and the elements.
Birds love water that drips so a tiny fountain is sure to attract them.
A birdbath is great too.
Butterflies like a little muddy place that they can sip tiny amounts of water from. Think 'marsh garden'.
I don't know about you, but I would much rather lose a berry or two to a flock of birds than sit on a chemical soaked lawn.