Birds Matter Because They Do

Birds Matter Because They Do

The intrinsic value of these creatures is incalculable. 

By Scott Weidensaul
Published: 04/01/2013

Just don't expect me to make some miserly, penny-pinching, cheese-paring argument about why birds matter. We must lift our heads from the ledgers, stop counting the half-digested weed seeds in their guts, and recognize that birds matter for their own sake.

There is certainly no time for complacency, no time for timidity or half-measures as the world closes in tighter and tighter, filling up the land with junk and schlock, crowding out the beautiful and the wild and epic. There are fewer and fewer places where you can still feel the north wind on your face and good rock under your feet; taste the salt air and squint against the glare of sunlit sand without a T-shirt shack obscuring the view; or stand at the bedchamber of a glacier and see an unsullied forest spill to the horizons below you.

And over all of these sweet and precious places, there soar birds.

While they still fly, obeying the ancient rhythms of the planet, there is still a need to fight, and a reason to hope. Every one of us has seen what really matters--seen it in the blistering stoop of a peregrine, heard it in the richly harmonic dawn song of a thrush, caught its essence in the slow undulations of white pelicans against a blue Plains sky.

We have, all of us, been transfigured simply by watching a flying bird. We have been lifted out of ourselves; we have felt our hearts race, felt the hairs on the back of our necks rise when the wings flash by.

And we've realized that for those moments, we were privileged to experience something beyond ourselves--that older, greater, glorious world that a wild bird inhabits, and which through its very existence embodies and makes vivid to us.

Birds matter. Period.

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Beautifully written. If only

Beautifully written. If only all the folks who appreciate and value birds could have similar feelings for the ones that don't fly (chickens). And this concept of "they matter because they do" can be extended to the creatures we share this planet with.

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