10 Ways Feeding the Birds Can Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing

As the legendary David Attenborough once said,

“No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

According to a study by the Natural History Museum, a devastating 73 million birds have been lost in the UK over the past 50 years, including blackbirds, chaffinches and house sparrows. A connection with the birds in your garden will lead you to feel more inclined to care for them. When you put out a supplementary supply of good quality bird food all year round, you can increase the birds’ survival rates and watching the birds that come to visit will in turn boost your own wellbeing.

In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of birdwatching and its remarkable impact on our wellbeing. From reducing stress and anxiety to fostering mindfulness and appreciation for nature, birdwatching offers a delightful escape into a realm of tranquility and wonder. Join us as we discover the positive links between birdwatching and mental health, and learn how this cherished hobby can elevate our spirits and enrich our lives.

Here are the remarkable ways birdwatching can uplift your mind and spirit:

1. Stress Reduction: Observing birds in their natural habitat can promote relaxation and reduce stress levels, allowing individuals to unwind and disconnect from daily pressures.

2. Improved Mood: Birdwatching has been linked to increased feelings of happiness and joy, as the presence of birds and nature can uplift spirits.

3. Mindfulness and Presence: Focusing on birdwatching encourages mindfulness, helping individuals stay present and fully engaged in the moment, which can enhance overall wellbeing. If you find traditional meditation techniques don’t work for you, why not take a mindful moment with a spot of bird watching?

4. Connection with Nature: Birdwatching fosters a sense of connection with the natural world, which is known to have positive effects on mental health and overall life satisfaction.

5. Reduced Anxiety and Depression: Engaging in nature-based activities like birdwatching has been associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, providing a natural mood boost.

6. Social Interaction: Birdwatching can be a social activity, providing opportunities for shared experiences and social connections with other bird enthusiasts.

7. Physical Activity: Birdwatching often involves outdoor walks or hikes, providing light exercise and the associated mental health benefits of physical activity.

8. Enhanced Cognitive Abilities: Identifying different bird species and observing their behaviors can stimulate the brain, promoting mental sharpness and cognitive flexibility.

9. Coping Mechanism: Birdwatching can serve as a healthy coping mechanism during times of stress or challenging situations, offering a sense of peace and solace.

10. Increased Appreciation for Nature: Birdwatching cultivates a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature and its intricate ecosystems, fostering a positive outlook on life.

Feeding the birds also plays a vital role in boosting bird populations, as long as we maintain clean and hygienic feeding practices. By offering supplementary food, all year round (as recommended by the BTO and the RSPB) we help birds meet their nutritional needs. This, in turn, supports their survival, breeding success, and overall health.

Regularly cleaning the bird feeders is crucial in minimising the risk of disease transmission among birds. When feeders are left uncleaned, bacteria and pathogens can accumulate, leading to potential health issues. However, maintaining clean feeders ensures that the food provided remains safe and uncontaminated, contributing to a thriving bird population. By responsibly feeding the birds and promoting proper hygiene, we can create a welcoming environment that benefits both the birds and our own enjoyment of their presence.