Gordon Orians, BirdNote science advisor and blackbird expert, believes we should appreciate nature “simply because of its intrinsic wonder.” He says, “Often people would ask me, 'What good are blackbirds?’ and I would sometimes answer by saying, 'Well, what good is a symphony orchestra?' It turns us on, you know. For example, birds can navigate using the stars; they can navigate using the earth's magnetic field. So birds have this amazing ability . . . and look how exciting and wonderful they are.”
Why Should People Care About Birds?
Written by Dominic Black from an interview with Gordon Orians
This is BirdNote.
Often people would ask me, "What good are blackbirds?" and I would sometimes answer saying, "Well, what good is a symphony orchestra?" It turns us on, you know.
I'm Gordon Orians. I'm a Professor Emeritus of Biology here at the University of Washington in Seattle. (Fades…I grew up in Wisconsin…
The major reason I decided to use blackbirds as my study organisms is that I was very interested in the relationship between social systems and the environment (Fades…and how animals use their social organization…)
Most people care about birds, not because they should care about birds, but because they just found birds interesting. That's what happened to me. I found out I really love looking and watching birds and seeing what they were doing. (Fades…And it never…)
Birds can navigate using the stars, they can navigate using the earth's magnetic field. So birds have this amazing ability, and we don't have it, and look how exciting and wonderful they are.
(Fades…that's what inspires me…)
I have always been a champion of the notion that we should appreciate nature simply because of its intrinsic wonder, not because it's got some particular economic value.
I think life will be impoverished if we lose a lot of this wildlife and we have a biologically diminished world. I think it's going to be an emotionally diminished world for us.
Bird sounds provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Red-winged Blackbird ambience  recorded by W.W.H. Gunn.
Gordon Orians interview recorded and edited by Dominic Black
Mixed by Dominic Black and John Kessler
Music: Bouree BWV 1010 (Sol Majeur) (Bach) performed by Jordi Savall, from the album "Les Voix Humaines"
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 December 2014/2015 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# oriansg-01-2014-12-24 oriansg-01