I love this new research about watching birds and how you’re less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress when doing so:
People living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.
The study, involving hundreds of people, found benefits for mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or more leafy suburban neighbourhoods.
Previous studies have found that the ability of most people to identify different species is low (e.g. Dallimer et al. 2012), suggesting that for most people it is interacting with birds, not just specific birds, that provides well-being.
You can read the full study here – Doses of Neighborhood Nature: The Benefits for Mental Health of Living with Nature
I’m not sure we needed a study to confirm this but it’s still interesting and an easy and affordable way to support yourself emotionally!
I’m a big nature lover and I am just smitten with the colorful birds here in Australia! These lorikeets come by the house each morning and I could watch them for hours.
Just down the road at Smith Park in Richmond, NSW we get to enjoy these magnificent black swans. We were just these 2 days ago and spotted these darling chicks with proud mama and poppa!
I shared the study and some of my pictures on my facebook page inviting comments and the response was so super I decided to do a blog and share some of the feedback and pictures. I hope this inspires you to seek out nature and bird-watching.
If you’re not in a position right now to go bird-watching hopefully it will give you some joy and calm seeing all these pictures.
Laura Pruente Cauley loves the study and shares this
I’m also an avid watcher! After going through our Master Gardener Program I began to add more native plants and flowers to increase birds, bees and butterflies. It’s been so much fun seeing new varieties and behaviors! This guy stopped by over the weekend. I think it’s a Cooper’s Hawk.
I’m curious if others find it calming just being in nature like I do.
For me being in nature feeds me, calms me and gives me so much joy! Together with laughter and hugs (as well as family, friends and nutrient-dense food) it is absolutely a required part of my life!
Renee Graslie shares this picture of shore birds at St George Island State Park, Florida and this feedback:
Yes! But watching them on the beach ups that a notch! I am an avid birder at home too! So relaxing!
Mia Dravers shares this feedback (she’s in Finland):
I live at the country side. The best time of the year is when spring arrives and all the birds sing in the morning. What a better way to wake up in the morning. I always go walking in the forest and listen to the birds singing in the trees. It gives so much peace and joy.
Debbie Lane shares these pictures and message:
Have to say we both enjoy watching the birds. It’s fun to figure out the birds that are here. These are my pride and joy pictures.
Tricia Soderstrom shared this picture (the large bird is a Mourning Dove) and message:
I love watching birds but had to move the feeders because we were finding too many ticks on our dog, but I can still watch them and they do bring peace
She offers this smart advice about birds and ticks (you may recall Tricia from the last Anxiety Summit, sharing her success with GABA for Lyme anxiety):
Birds get ticks just like other animals and they drop off of them.
It’s recommended to keep bird feeders away from the house and away from areas, you might spend time because birds carry ticks that can fall off (that’s how Lyme is “migrating”) but also because feeders tend to attract squirrels and mice which are definitely high risk. I don’t know if you’re aware that Mice are where these bacteria first transmitted to nymphal ticks. As the ticks grow they move onto larger animals and eventually deer and people.
Diane Lalomia shares these pictures of a Chickadee, taken on Christmas Day her backyard in northern Michigan:
I’ve been rescuing several chickadees that fly into our sliding glass door. The poor things are stunned and laying in the snow, cold. I get a small cardboard box and bring them inside to warm up inside the closed dark box (keeps them calm) and when they start moving around (usually less than 5 min) I take them outside and let them go.
And her friend, the Chickadee, braving a snowstorm:
Lisa Ziazan shares this picture of black cockatoos in her front yard in suburban Perth. She shared how watching birds has helped her through the last 4 years of chronic illness:
I have been very isolated due to being housebound and not getting many visitors. When I was bedbound I had a window I could watch birds flying by, and when I can get outside and go for short walks I can see many birds in our neighbourhood. They are fascinating to watch. I saw a flock of the coloured parrots one morning all sitting in a tree on the edge of a school oval, it was a hot day and the sprinklers were on. The parrots were all bathing in the sprinkler as it hit the tree. I also collect feathers I find as I believe birds are wonderful spirit messengers. The birds lift my spirits when I am sick of being sick.
It’s wonderful to hear and I know this will be uplifting and inspiring for others too!
I appreciate all the feedback and pictures and permission to share it all here.
If you’d like to share your picture feel free to post on Facebook too (and let us know where it’s taken and the name of the bird).
Here are some practical tips:
- Add bird baths and bird-feeders to your garden
- Do a Master Gardener Program and add more native plants and flowers to increase birds, bees and butterflies
- Keep in mind concerns about ticks and bird-feed attracting rodents
- Enjoy birds in nearby parks (just be aware birds need quality food too – feeding bread to ducks and other wild birds is not a good idea)
- Enjoy birds on a hike or at the beach/river
- Get a bird book and do some bird spotting too (we gave one to Brad’s dad for Christmas and we all use it when we go for hikes and love it!)
Are you a bird-watcher? At home? On hikes? At the beach? Somewhere else? Please let us know how it makes you feel.