Being Around Birds Makes Us Much Happier Says New Science

We see them nearly everywhere we go, we hear them every day, they live in every environment, and now, two new studies have shown their mere presence makes us happier.

German research has even found that being surrounding by a wide variety of birds can offer increasing life satisfaction equivalent to $150 per week of added income.

On the surprising benefits of species diversity

Johannes Plenio

The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research took data from the 2012 European quality of Life Survey to measure how species diversity in birds affected 26,000 people in 26 European countries.

“According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species,” explains the study’s lead author, Joel Methorst a professor at Goethe University in Frankfurt, in a press release.

MORE: Photographer Uses Lockdown to Snap Photos of Amazing Wild Birds in Garden –All From the Kitchen Window

“We also examined the socio-economic data of the people that were surveyed, and, much to our surprise, we found that avian diversity is as important for their life satisfaction as is their income,” explains Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese, also at Goethe University.

On bird song and well-being

Bernd Thaller, CC license

In the second study of note, California Polytechnic University covertly subjected Colorado hikers to a test that measured their sense of well-being by placing speakers that played a variety of bird song along certain sections of a popular hiking trial network—then interviewing the hikers about their experience.

“While the bigger picture of nature’s restorative properties is likely to involve multiple senses, our study is the first to experimentally manipulate a single one (sound) in the field and demonstrate its importance to human experiences in nature,” said Danielle Ferraro, to the university press.

Indeed, hikers on the trials that perceived both more sounds and more varied sounds said they felt better about life, and about their experience hiking, than those who heard both fewer sounds, and less sound altogether.

Nesting season

Danny Perez Photography, CC license

The benefits of birding—hearing their song, noticing the species around us—is a good thing too. A recent report from the Audubon Society found that sales of bird feeders, bird food, and birding apps have all increased during the pandemic, while participations in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s annual Global Big Day 2020 shattered all previous records.

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During the Big Day, participants logged 2.1 million sightings of 6,500 species. An all-time high of 50,000 participants submitted more than 120,000 checklists, shattering the previous single-day checklist total by 30%.

CHECK OUT: Mesmerizing Photos Show the Patterns Created by Murmurations of Starlings

Nesting season is fast approaching, and with lockdowns continuing in many states and countries, there’s never been a better time to take up birdwatching—and, if you can, to make your property a positive habitat for avians.

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