It seems that just seeing more birds in your day to day life makes you less anxious, depressed and stressed. Yes, birds make you happy!!!
Several newspapers reported today on the findings of a study made my Exeter University and the University of Queensland that has concluded that seeing birds is good for mental well being. Well I would agree with that – but then I would being a very keen birdwatcher it kind of goes with the territory! But apparently, it is true for people who are not even interested in birds and have no idea whether it is a Robin or a duck – people just feel better if they see more birds around.
I am slightly puzzled that between the two universities they could only muster 274 people in this study, which in my book is not a massive number for a proper scientific study, but apparently they did make an effort to rule out any effects of neighbourhood deprivation, household income, age and a wide range of other socio-demographic factors. The results are certainly interesting. It seems that just seeing birds makes you less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress and feel generally happier and “the more birds the better,” according to Dr Cox of Exeter University who says it is the number of birds not the species that seems to be important.
In the study, common types of birds including Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits and crows were seen. But the study did not find a relationship between the species of birds and mental health, but rather the number of birds they could see from their windows, in the garden or in their neighbourhood. Well how crazy is that!? Just imagine how happy they would be if they actually knew a bit and started spotting something half decent!! If I see something a bit unusual in my garden it can make me happy for the rest of the day – if it is really good, then for days on end!! I once had a Pied Flycatcher in the garden – a real surprise – and I still smile when I think about it. I have even seen Goshawk display over our garden once (they nest about 30 minutes away) – I was grinning like an idiot for days!!!
This is not the first study to suggest that wildlife is beneficial to health, and that being outdoors is very good for mental well being either. Remember a while ago when seeing a Skylark was suddenly deemed important by the government, and there was a study that suggested just hearing bird song is beneficial too?! So come on Government, when are you going to start looking after our wildlife – it really does help everyone feel happier! Maybe we need a slogan for the campaign – “See a Robin and Smile!” or something like that – I am sure someone could come up with a better one but you see where I am coming from.
I guess it all might explain why I am such a happy person. It probably works with butterflies too – does for me!
Don’t forget if you are in Speyside and the surrounding area you can book one of our guides to take you out for the day and do a bit of your own bird watching! Or have a look at the many holidays we have available this year.