5 high-flying health benefits of bird watching

Bird watching has always been popular, with seniors in particular enjoying a pastime that can be done from a window, garden, city sidewalk or forest trail. During the past year, when the pandemic has driven so many of us to stay both socially distanced and enjoy more walks, birding has attracted even more converts.*

Here are five reasons why bird watching could be the activity for you

  1. Bird watching makes you happier
    A recent European study found that the number of bird species in people’s surroundings was linked to how happy they were. A 10 per cent rise in bird species improved participants’ life satisfaction as much as a comparable increase in income did.*

  2. Bird watching is calming
    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of us to feel stressed and distracted. Because it is a singular, quiet activity that removes worrying thoughts, birding calms the mind and encourages focus. It can be a form of mindfulness that’s helpful in lowering blood pressure, among other benefits. The fact that birders are out in nature adds further to the health boost, as research shows that people who spend at least two hours a week outdoors feel better, mentally and physically.

  3. Bird watching helps keeps you mentally sharp
    Have you started keeping a list of the birds you see? Identifying, classifying and recalling different bird species engages distinct parts of your brain. This mental activity helps keep your brain healthy. It’s also fun and deeply satisfying!

  4. Bird watching is a social activity
    If you live in a retirement residence, chances are there are like-minded bird watchers down the hall, ready to enjoy the camaraderie and health benefits of getting together. Even during times of social distancing, bird watching can be done from a window, or outdoors while safely distanced from other birders.

  5. Bird watching keeps you physically active
    Birding promotes healthy movement, regardless of physical ability. It’s for those who walk, hike, or use a wheelchair or walker. Aids such as binoculars and bird-song recordings on a smartphone can also help boost enjoyment for those with vision or hearing impairments.

*The following sources provided references for this blog, in order of appearance:
1. The Western Producer Magazine. “Bird watching soars during pandemic.” (Feb 4, 2021), online: https://www.producer.com/farmliving/bird-watching-soars-during-pandemic/
2. ScienceDaily. “Biodiversity evokes happiness: More bird species in their vicinity increase life satisfaction of Europeans as much as higher income.” (Dec. 4, 2020), online: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201204110246.htm