Feel Better With Bird SongsIf you think that listening to birds makes you feel better, it is not just your imagination. A recent scientific study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B showed that bird song actually has a positive effect on people’s moods. In the paper, researchers artificially enhanced the amount of birdsong audible on a mountain trail, then surveyed hikers they subjected to the extra singing. Their results showed a strong correlation between the level of birdsong and the hikers’ sense of well-being. One of the most amazing findings of the study was that improved moods occurred after only 7 to 10 minutes of hearing bird songs from speakers hidden along the trail. This result suggests that the sound is a trigger in the human brain that turns on feelings of happiness in a short amount of time. In an interview, one of the researchers asked, “What happens after an hour?” Here is our answer to this question: go outside and find out!
Walk and Talk With BirdsWalking through natural areas is a great way to enjoy the added benefits of exercise and fresh air in addition to the psychological boost that bird performances provide. Of course, you don’t even have to leave home to hear birds vocalizing. Installing bird feeders, nesting boxes, or birdbaths will attract feathered singers to your yard to perform their daily dawn chorus just for you and your family. In the same way being able to understand words and phrases in a foreign language adds to the enjoyment of travel, recognizing common bird species by their songs enhances your appreciation. One way to learn is to associate the cadence of bird songs with mnemonics; for example, you can think “drink your tea” to remember the song of the eastern towhee. An easier way to match the song with its singer is through an app on your phone that automatically identifies birds by sound.
Keep Birds Singing OutdoorsBird songs are beautiful, but they are best heard outdoors and not inside your home. To keep birds outside this spring, follow these suggestions:
- Keep the garage door closed to prevent wrens from building nests inside.
- Cap your chimney to keep chimney swifts from entering.
- Keep screens on windows and stick decals to sliding glass doors to keep birds from running into them.
- Mount an artificial owl to frighten birds away from areas you don’t want them.