January 5th is National Bird Day, and what better way to celebrate than sharing the joy that birdsong can bring into our lives?
The sound of joy
Birdsong is one of the most beautiful and joyous sounds in nature. Just listening to a bird tweet takes me to a different place mentally, and fills me with a sense of peace and calm in this busy and chaotic world. I often refer to it as the sound of joy. It is no surprise then that, according to a recent study, listening to birdsong can have a positive impact on our mental well-being.
The study, conducted by Kings College London, found that people who listened to recordings of birdsong for 10 minutes a day felt more positive and had less anxiety and stress. In addition to the mental health benefits, there is also evidence that spending time in nature can have a positive impact on our physical health. Studies have shown that nature can help us heal faster from illness and injury and that birdsong can help lift people’s spirits.
The science behind birdsong
Scientists have long known that going outdoors, especially exercising in nature can provide twice the benefits of exercising indoors. But mental well-being can be such an objective subject, it can be difficult to pinpoint what works for everyone.
And I’ll admit, when I heard about this study, I had my doubts, because wouldn’t this mean Bird Keepers would be, like, the happiest people on the planet? Of course, I’m sure the study didn’t include screeching macaws, or penguins honking mercilessly during breeding season.
The study did follow 1600 participants (non-zookeepers) for three years and received over 26,000 points of data from an app the researchers developed called Urban Mind. With that amount of data, even my Doubting Thomas mind relented. Besides, birdsong does cheer me up.
The therapeutic benefits of birdsong
A while ago, I gifted my mother with a birdsong book. It was a pop-up book for adult-children (who never want to grow too old to play with pop-up books, apparently) with different birds from different ecosystems and played the birds’ songs. We all loved that book, and when the battery finally died, we replaced the book with a birdsong clock. Each hour the clock chimes a different birdsong. It’s always cheerful to hear a bird chirping, tweeting, or crooning.
Birdsong is more than just a joyful noise, it’s a call-back to my family. My mom loves birds and tries to surround herself with birds, and nature. It was no surprise that others can feel the positive benefits of listening to birds as well.
There is a growing body of research that suggests that the sound of birdsong can have a therapeutic effect on humans. Beyond the study at Kings College, multiple studies around the world have shown that birdsong can help us relax, reduce stress and anxiety, and even help us sleep. In addition, some studies have found that birdsong can have a calming effect on people suffering from depression and that listening to birdsong can even increase creativity. The sound of birdsong has also been linked to improved concentration, better memory, and overall better mental health.
How to bring more birdsong into your life
If you want to bring more birdsong into your life, there are a few simple steps that you can take. Start by getting outside and listening to the birds in your neighborhood. Spend some time in the early morning or just before sunset and you will start to notice the various birdsongs around you. You can also make an effort to create a bird-friendly space in your yard by planting trees or shrubs that attract birds. You don’t have to use bird feeders (that often attracts a lot more animals and pests than just birds), but creating a safe haven for pollinators, songbirds, and nature will bring you peace, joy, and a boost to your mental health.
For those who want to explore the world of birdsong a little further, birdwatching is a great way to do it. Birdwatching allows you to observe birds up close, often in their natural habitat, and to appreciate their unique songs and behaviors. It can be a wonderful way to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of birds in their own environment. Most zoos have aviaries with various birds residing alongside each other. On my last visit to Woodland Park Zoo, I spent half an hour just chilling in their tropical rainforest, watching and listening to the birds.
Aside from the mental and physical health benefits, birdwatching in nature or at the zoo can also be a great way to take in the beauty of nature and appreciate the diversity of bird life around us. It can be a fun, relaxing and educational activity for the whole family, connecting you to nature in a healthy and positive way!
Fill Your World with Joy…and Birds
Birdsong is a beautiful sound and one of the joys of nature. It has the power to lift our spirits and fill us with happiness. What’s more, there is evidence to suggest that spending time in nature and listening to birdsong can have a positive impact on both our mental and physical health. So on this National Bird Day, why not take some time out of your day to appreciate the sound of birdsong, and the joy that it can bring into your life? It may just be the best thing you do all day!