Avian Expert Articles

Backyard Birds Help Boost Mood

House sparrow singing on the backyard fence
Wild birds bring joy into people’s backyards.

How often are you soothed and comforted by watching birds arrive in your backyard? You work to create a network of attracting feeders and stands, all designed to bring as many species of birds possible into your view. The prize is your endless fascination by the comings and goings of each creature as they visit your setup to acquire their sustenance. Interestingly, you’ll discover many things about your creatures. You’ll find that some are aggressive in their gathering and eating. You’ll also find varying reasons for how and why birds react the way they do. The bottom line reasoning for many of our back yard developments of feeding systems is to make our lives a little more connected to our flying neighbors (and sometimes, our four-legged arrivals like squirrels and rabbits).

Birds Bring Happiness

In a recent University of Exeter study, it was determined that people who lived in tree and shrubbery-rich areas filled with birds and wandering creatures suffered less depression than their urban counterparts who see much less of those. However, if urban dwellers were surrounded by more trees and shrubberies along with a fair sampling of birds, they too enjoyed less depressed lives. Additionally, the anxiety and stress levels were significantly reduced with access to more natural day to day occurrences of bird watching capability.

In the previously mentioned study, with over 270 participants from a variety of social stances using income, ethnicity, and age as markers, it was determined that people with afternoon viewing of birds were more often the ones that were less depressed or filled with anxieties. Although the study included morning viewings of birds, the afternoon viewings were indicative of the average for people in bird viewing count and ability. Typically, there are less afternoon birds than morning as the daily necessities of birds are concluding rather than beginning.

The types of birds seen were of the common variety — crows, robins, blackbirds. Of course, less common birds were viewed; however the study maintained that there was no correlation of improvement in depression if such birds were noticed over more common ones, only that viewing birds in areas of plant growth alone made the improvements.

The take-away from this study easily indicates that if you spend time in more natural settings the reality is that you might find yourself happier. It’s figured that we spend almost 90% of our times indoors. Factor in eight or more hours at work, eight hours in sleep mode, and a few hours inside houses, stores, theaters, and other sources of activities, it’s easy to see that we isolate indoors more frequently than we might realize. With the University of Exeter study, we’re reminded that our mental health could use a period of time watching birds. Whether that’s in beautiful gardens, on a chair or swing in the yard or deck, or on a walk in a park setting, the means to lessen the daily toll on our mental health is clearly within our grasp. And linked to birds!


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