Why Do Birds Matter?

Why Do Birds Matter?

From authors to ornithologists, avian enthusiasts share their thoughts.

By The Audubon Editors
Published: March-April 2013

Birds are our link to emotions; the great egret flying toward me, landing on the railing outside the window as I mourned my father's death, the children I take outside and the joyful shout "I see the bird" as they hold binoculars for the first time, the gritted teeth at mockingbird's midnight song, the tear slipping down the cheek for a pile of feathers, the awe of migratory journeys. The list is long, complicated biologically, and metaphorically linked to our being. --Diana Granados, Founder Native Bird Connections, Board Member Mount Diablo Audubon Society

Birds matter because they represent freedom to me, the freedom to come and go. They are frequently not tied down to one place, but spend time in vastly different places on earth, often migrating huge distances. --Evi Meyer, Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon

Birds matter because they are a basic, integral part of the earth's ecosystem. As in any system, the loss of one part will ultimately cause the downfall of the whole. --Jean Ashby, Education cochair, Skagit Audubon

Birds matter because they are beautiful to watch and to hear and because they make my heart soar with joy and gratitude of the abundance and diversity of God's universe. --Dianne Lawson, Topeka Audubon Society

As a child I was mesmerized by birds. Not only can they fly, but their vocals are heavenly. My love and appreciation of birds was a big part of me becoming a biologist. From hummingbirds to raptors, they are all magnificent. --Mark Brohman, Lincoln Nebraska

As one has said some time ago, all birds are the "canary in the coal mine" for our environment. We need to pay attention to the birds around us to recognize environmental changes and problems. --Laurence L. Falk, Nebraska

From a selfishly human standpoint, birds eat many insects that are disliked by us, but from a universal standpoint, they represent the vast and beautiful creativity of the mind of God. --Jan Lambert, Charlestown, New Hampshire

A world without flight is a world without imagination. Just ask Icarus, DaVinci, the Wright brothers, or any kid with his arms out in a sudden gust of wind. --Benjamin Vogt, Lincoln, Nebraska

Birds remind me that there is an incredible natural spectacle unfolding daily just outside my window. Their singing, soaring presence invites me to appreciate our interconnectedness with the rest of the living things we humans share the planet with. --Emily Simon, Allen Park, Michigan

Life in a world with birds is, for us, a world shared. Birds sing, they soar, and fill our world with wonder. --Jill DeWitt

When life becomes heavy and worries pull me down like gravity, I simply look up and suddenly there, in the weightless free air, soaring like kites, flitting from branch to branch, unencumbered, my friends the birds release my soul and I am again free. --Carl Schreiner, Eagle, Nebraska

Why do birds matter? Their beauty, behavior, knowledge, songs, personality, strength, fragility, ability to migrate thousands of miles twice a year--their connection to everything on the earth. The joy they bring into our lives! --Karen Bearden, Raleigh, North Carolina

 They provide structure to our native plant communities by spreading seeds and consuming vast quantities of insects. Without them we humans probably would cease to exist. --Mike North, Brainerd Lakes Area Audubon Society

All of our scheduled school groups leave Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary and Audubon Center understanding that birds assist in controlling insects and planting seeds and that they also add color, sound, and movement to our lives. Years ago a disoriented indigo bunting landed on an elementary student's shoulder during a school field trip. I allowed the other students to gently touch the bird's beautiful plumage before it flew away. These children will remember this experience forever. Whether we think about it or not birds are an important part of our lives. --Tim Williams, Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary and Audubon Center Manager

They are part of a healthy food chain on our planet. They eat everything from insects to fish and larger prey as well as help pollinate the flowers of many plants. Besides the biological reasons, they brighten the lives of people who observe, feed, photograph, and study them. --Rosemary Thornton

Birds matter because they help people connect with nature, which often leads to caring enough about the environment to do something to protect it. --Phyllis Kegley, Program and publicity chair, Northern Arizona Audubon Society

Magazine Category


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