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Bird Watching is Good for your Beings

Bird Watching is Good for your Beings #BirdGuides

Bird Watching is Good for your Beings to say People living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. The study, involving hundreds of people and published in the journal BioScience, found benefits for the mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or leafier suburban neighbourhoods.

The study, which surveyed mental health in over 270 people from different ages, incomes and ethnicities, also found that those who spent less time out of doors than usual in the previous week were more likely to report they were anxious or depressed.

After conducting extensive surveys of the number of birds in the morning and afternoon in Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton, the study found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see in the afternoon. The academics studied afternoon bird numbers — which tend to be lower than birds generally seen in the morning — because they are more in keeping with the number of birds that people are likely to see in their neighbourhood on a daily basis.

Common species such as Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit and various corvids were seen during the study, but it was the number of individual birds (rather than species) seen that was linked to mental health quality. Previous studies have found that the ability of most people to identify different species is low, suggesting that for most people it is interacting with birds that provide well-being, rather than particular species.

The humble Blackbird is a familiar sight in gardens and one species that even non-birders readily recognise (Photo: Carl Bovis)

University of Exeter research fellow Dr Daniel Cox, who led the study, said: “This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being.

“Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making

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