Bird Watching to Soothe Your Soul
Introduction: Birds are nature’s most talented musicians. Watching them perform their own melodious music is soothing to soul. Though the activity of bird watching or most commonly known as birding has existed from early times, it was recognised by the specific term “bird watching” in 1901 by Edmund Selous.
Observing birds is a common hobby among people. It not only eases our mind and soul but also has a load of health benefits and therapies. Birding uplifts us emotionally and also helps to keep us fit. Watching the dazzlingly coloured clusters of singing machines flying in the air while taking a break from their flight on telephone wires, and migrating in groups during winter is itself a spectacular view.
Such breathtaking views calm and relax the soul. Researchers have discovered that being around natural stimuli such as birds lessens stress, rage, tension and improves our overall well-being and mental health.
An Antidote to Stress:
Watching birds is an antidote to stress. People having a lot of anxiety, depression, neurological disorders and heart ailments are advised by doctors to do bird watching for a faster and vital recovery. Birding can boost our immunity, lower blood pressure, decrease mental fatigue, improve mood, lessen anxiety and modulate stress hormone levels. Venturing out into the nature is a must for birding to observe a lot of birds.
This brings us close to nature and helps us to experience the healing power of the natural environment thereby increasing the health benefits gained by bird watching. Breathing fresh air makes us feel happier, strengthens our immune system, lowers depression, boosts blood circulation and gives us more energy. In other words birding rejuvenates our soul. The more time we spend with the nature, the more balanced we feel.
As an Exercise:
Some bird watchers visit parks or go on a trek to see birds in their natural habitat while some prefer to stay at home and observe the birds around them. In fact it’s a cost effective hobby. Most of us spend too much time sitting, without a proper work out pattern putting us at risk of various diseases. Bird watching is also a form of exercise. It’s known as “nature’s yoga” for its positive effect on our mind and soul.
Than sitting in one place Birders usually spend a lot of time walking to observe the bird’s call or song, behaviour, size, its silhouette, flight pattern, its habitat, coloration and other features such as the type of its beak, feet and feathers. As per researchers, watching birds while walking is a physical exercise that burns up to 170 calories per hour. Simply taking a walk in the morning to observe the birds boosts our immunity due to the antimicrobial chemical compounds called phytoncides that are released by trees. Lifting up binoculars to view these wonderful small creatures increases our arm strength, making it another form of exercise.
As a Therapy:
While some watch birds as a hobby or for therapy there are a special group of people called Ornithologists who study every aspect of a bird. Ornithology, a branch of zoology is the detailed study of the characteristics of a bird including its sound, flight patterns, physical structure and migration. The therapeutic ability of bird watching or most commonly known as “Ornitherapy”, is a practice of the careful observation of birds which benefits our mind, body, and spirit.
Each and every bird has its own unique personalities and actions & observation of these joyful intriguing moments make us happy and sometimes we laugh at their antics. As per the old saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’ it soothes our soul too. Ornitherapy is a combination of bird watching and mindfulness and has a variety of benefits including lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, while improving focus, creativity and positivity. The real joy of bird watching doesn’t stop only with the observation, giving them something to eat gives us more joy and self satisfaction.
Listening and studying the songs of birds is like learning music. As per neurologists chirping of birds is a therapy for people with memory problems while increasing overall cognitive function and improving productivity. According to a recent study, it was found that seeing or hearing birds improved people’s mental wellbeing for up to eight hours. Popularity of bird watching increased during the pandemic lockdowns, when people took a break from their busy lives and turned their attention towards nature. As a result many started to blog their bird watching experiences online. Concluding the fact that bird watching has helped them to ease the mental pressure and soothe their souls during the lockdown.
As an Opportunity to Explore Nature:
Bird watching is a great opportunity to explore and observe nature. There are different types of birds, each with their own behaviours and habits. By observing the birds you can learn a lot about their ecology, sound and behavioural patterns. Educating children on the importance of birding is a wise suggestion.
It helps them to develop kindness, sympathy, relieve stress, enhance their thinking ability and to study about the nature thereby they learn to appreciate the environment in which they live, making them responsible citizens in the future. National Bird Watching Day is celebrated every year on the 12th of November by Indian bird watchers. This day marks the birth anniversary of Salim Ali, an Indian ornithologist. Based on a rough estimation there are nearly 1250 species of birds in India including migratory and inhabitant birds.
As a result of the increase in skyscrapers and tall concrete structures most of the birds have lost their natural habitat. Use of pesticides and the effects of global warming are also some of the reasons for birds to lose their homes. In order to survive the urban habitat, birds are forced to either accept or avoid the new conditions. Some people have set up bird feeders at home to help them find food and shelter.
Observing such lovely visitors who visit our homes is a true bliss. We can maintain our physical strength by exercising likewise; bird watching is an exercise to our soul. Mindful bird watching is surely a tonic and a source of peace for our heart and mind because of our intrinsic connection to nature.