Have you ever wondered why birds and bees love to hang out around flowers?  Well, if flowers had the choice, they too would like to hang around birds and bees.  In fact, birds and bees help flowers produce seeds, which in turn produce more flowers.  Flowers help birds and bees too -- they produce food for the birds and bees!  Everyone is happy when flowers, birds and bees get together.

You may have seen birds and bees fly from flower to flower.  They land on the flower, stick their noses in the flower's business and fly on to the next flower.  When they stick their noses right into the flower, they're not smelling the flower.  Instead, they're actually drinking some of the sweet nectar from inside the flower.  Nectar is a juice that flowers produce that's mostly made of sugar.  This is one of the ways that bees get the food they need to live.

Nectar, I love nectar.

However, while the birds and bees are hanging out on flowers drinking nectar, something else is also happening.  As they drink, pollen from the flower rubs off onto their bodies.  Pollen is the dust that the boy parts of flowers make.  It is important because flowers need it in order to make seeds.  When birds and bees are drinking, they do not even notice that they are picking up pollen.  When they fly to the next flower, some of the pollen rubs off onto that flower, and some new pollen gets stuck on the birds and bees. 

Pollinators are animals that pick up pollen from one flower and bring it to other flowers.  Birds, bees and butterflies all do this job.  To pollinate a flower is to take pollen from the boy part of the flower to the girl part of a flower.  Once this happens, the flowers are able to make seeds.  These seeds can then grow into new plants.

Well, at least this keeps me busy.

Once a flower is pollinated, different plants do different things.  Every flower's goal is to spread its seeds to a place where they can grow into new plants.  One of the ways they do this might be in your lunch today""in a piece of fruit.  Fruit is one of the ways that plants spread their seeds.  Fruiting plants make fruit around their seeds to help spread the seeds.  The plant stores energy and sugar in the fruit to make it both delicious and nutritious for animals.  Animals eat the fruit with the seeds and "drop" the seeds after they pass through their digestive system.

Don't I look delicious?

Most, but not all, plants grow from seeds.  When plants produce seeds and flowers they are called flowering plants.  Flowering parts are some of the most common plants that we see in the world around us.  They are also very important!  Almost all of our food comes from flowering plants or animals that eat flowering plants.  Pollinators play a big role in helping flowering plants stay alive.

I'm not just pretty, I'm important too.

Next time you're outside, pay close attention to the birds and bees that land on flowers.  They may just be looking for a sweet drink, but little do they know they are also picking up pollen.  As you think about how these little animals help to make seeds, consider how these seeds make food for you to eat.  As you look at the birds and bees, be thankful that they stopped by flowers for a drink!