Gordon Orians, a writer and science advisor for BirdNote, reflects on how he developed an appreciation of birds and science during his youth. “I think I always had some sort of attraction to birds, and then I started going out bird watching with my dad,” he says. By the time Gordon was in high school, he made his first scientific discovery. “That was an important moment for me because I realized that I could — very simply by observing carefully — discover things, and I could know something that no one else knew. I was really hooked.”
A Childhood Love of Birds, With Gordon Orians
Written by Dominic Black from an interview with Gordon Orians
This is BirdNote.
I suspect that when I was in high school my mother was the only mother of a high school boy in the city of Milwaukee that would say during the spring to her son, ‘Don’t you really want to stay in bed longer tomorrow morning? Do you really want to get up so early before school?
[Music + Red-winged Blackbird]
I’m Gordon Orians, I’m a Professor Emeritus of Biology here at the University of Washington in Seattle. I grew up…
I think I probably always had some sort of attraction to birds, and then I started going out bird watching with my dad, and he developed as a hobby taking bird pictures, and so we would go out together and do things…
During the migration time during spring and fall, we lived not too far from the Lake Michigan shore in Milwaukee, and I would get up before breakfast at the crack of dawn and get on my bicycle and ride down to the lake shore, do an hour or two of birding, dash back home, grab some breakfast and then head off to school, and the minute I was out of school I would run back down to the lake shore again.
And I made my first scientific discovery when I was in high school, and I think that was an important moment for me because I realized that I could, very simply, by observing carefully, discover things, and I could know something that no one else knew.
I was really hooked.
Calls of Wilson’s Phalarope provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York: Red-winged Blackbird  recorded by Bob McGuire.
Music: ‘Lippy Kids’ by Elbow from the album "Build a Rocket Boys!" 2011 Polydor UK
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org August 2017 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# oriansg-02-2015-08-01 oriansg-02