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How Birdwatching Can Improve Your Life 

You might be wondering how birdwatching could possibly be beneficial to your life, or how hiking through a quiet field during the winter might improve your overall well-being. Author and former marriage & family therapist Tammah Watts asked herself this question and came up with the conclusion that birdwatching is addicting. After suffering a neurological injury during a routine surgery, Tammah found herself in a deep depression and birdwatching became the best medicine. As she states in her book ‘Keep Looking Up: Your Guide to the Powerful Healing of Birdwatching,’ “Birding really does cross over into so many areas of wellness, health, and fitness.” Tammah is just one great example of how connecting with birds and nature can mitigate symptoms of pain, depression, anxiety, and even change your life.

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It’s common knowledge that spending time in nature can improve your long-term physical and mental health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, reduce the production of stress hormones, and so much more, whether you are taking a stroll through a neighborhood park or in your own backyard. While there is no direct evidence that going on a walk and bird watching prolongs your life, walking regularly most definitely helps you live longer. Virtually anyone can enjoy birdwatching as a hobby since birds can be found in any habitat. A recent study found that being near bird song can even improve mental well-being. Birds are “accessible and equitable because they’re everywhere in every habitat,” said Holly Merker (pictured here), a guide for the National Audubon Society and co-author of the book, “Ornitherapy”. Even dense cityscapes offer rock doves (often incorrectly called pigeons), sparrows, hawks, and falcons.

There is less research on the physical benefits of birding specifically, but the evidence does suggest that walking regularly can help you live longer. And as any bird-watcher will tell you, the lure of the next bird inspires you to walk farther than you normally would.

“You find yourself out there for what should have been 45 minutes, making a two-hour birding foray in the woods or around a loop trail at a wetland,” Ms. Merker said. The benefits of being outdoors combined with the accessibility and equitability of birds in nature are just a few of the reasons why birdwatching can make you happier and improve your overall quality of life.

You can register for the upcoming WBFI webinar titled "The Health Benefits of Feeding Birds" featuring Holly Merker by clicking the button below.

Another perk of birdwatching that benefits your mental health is that there is always something new and interesting to learn. You can learn about the dozens of bird species and how they survive, their mannerisms, and their patterns. You may even learn that they have many humanistic qualities as they can be funny, quarrelsome, and surprisingly peaceful. You can learn which areas have the best food or wetlands for birds or find your own safe haven in nature to explore. You can learn what time of day is best for birdwatching and what season, as well as learn about new equipment that enhances the birdwatching experience. Regardless of age, physical ability, or location, anyone can go out in nature and connect with birds and reap the benefits for the mind, body, and soul.

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