Birdwatching Better Than a Pay Raise

Birds are returning from their winter homes, and the natural world is coming back to life.  April will be a month bursting with greenery and blossoms, and the chirping of birds which can bring joy and boost the mental health of people who may feel isolated or anxious.  According to a recent University of Exeter study, spending time outdoors, connecting with nature and birdwatching helps improve happiness and well-being. 

The number of COVID-19 cases has spiked recently in many regions, and despite many schools and businesses returning to in-person engagement, until more people are vaccinated and gain immunity, avoiding crowds is still advisable.  Spring has officially arrived and although planting season may be a ways off, the warmer weather invites birders to dust off their binoculars and see what species are arriving nearby.  

Birdwatching is a hobby that is accessible for nearly anyone, whether they are city-dwellers or live in the suburbs or a rural area.   Bird feeders on a deck or patio can attract feathered friends and mobile people can seek out specific species in local parks or on trails, combining fresh air and a little bit of daily activity. 

A new study, using data from the 2012 European Quality of Life Survey, found that living close to nature and especially where there are more species of birds increases happiness even more than a pay raise.   According to the research, people were 50 percent happier with a 10 percent increase in bird species than they were with an extra 10 percent increase in salary.  The findings are based on people who earned a monthly income of $1,837.   

The sights and sounds of diverse species of birds is evidence of a healthy environment, and the protection of natural areas is not only important for wildlife but also for the well-being of people. 

Want to improve the daily life of an elderly loved one?  A thoughtful gift might be a bird feeder and seed or a birdbath to attract birds to a nearby window or patio.  Read more about how to attract different birds to your yard by following this link to the World of Birds website.