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Watching Birds near your Home is Good for your Mental Health

Watching Birds near your Home is Good for your Mental Health

[caption id="attachment_37365" align="alignright" width="300"] Baltimore Oriole, photo by Christina McCallum.[/caption] This post was written by Dr. Daniel Cox, from the University of Exeter. The original article can be found here. People living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, according to research by academics at the University of Exeter, the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Queensland. The study, involving hundreds of people, found benefits for mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or more leafy suburban neighbourhoods. The study, which surveyed mental health in over 270 people from different ages, incomes and ethnicities, also found that those who spent less time out of doors than usual in the previous week were more likely to report they were anxious or depressed. After conducting extensive surveys of the number of birds in the morning and afternoon in Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton, the study found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see in the afternoon. The academics studied afternoon bird numbers - which tend to be lower than birds generally seen in the morning – because they are more in keeping with the number of birds that people are likely to see in their neighbourhood on a daily basis. [caption id="attachment_37370" align="alignleft" width="300"] A beautiful Bluebird, photo by Suzanne Swayze.[/caption] In the study, common types of birds including blackbirds, robins, blue tits and crows were seen. But the study did not find a relationship between the species of birds and mental health, but rather the number of birds they could see from their windows, in the garden or in their neighbourhood. Previous studies have found that the ability of most people to identify different species is low (eg Dallimer et al, 2012), suggesting that for most people it is interacting with birds, not just specific birds, that provides well-being. University of Exeter research fellow Dr Daniel Cox, who led the study, said:
"This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being".
Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live". The positive association between birds, shrubs and trees and better mental health applied, even after controlling for variation in neighbourhood deprivation, household income, age and a wide range of other socio-demographic factors. Recent research by Dr Cox and Professor Kevin Gaston, who are based at the Environmental Sustainability Institute at the Penryn Campus at the University of Exeter, found that watching birds makes people feel relaxed and connected to nature (Cox and Gaston, 2016). The research is published in the journal Bioscience and was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council as conducted as part of the Fragments, Functions, Flows and Ecosystem Services project.
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Sources Dr Daniel Cox, of the University of Exeter: Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health.

Ottawa Bird Day 2017

Ottawa Bird Day 2017

Join Nature Canada in celebrating International Migratory Bird Day at Brewer Park in Ottawa, on May 13, 2017 officially starting at 10:00 am with a bird banding demonstration beginning at 8:00 am. To register for the bird banding, please click here. This event will happen rain or shine. There will be a spectacular and unforgettable live birds-of-prey demonstration, guided bird walks around Brewer Park led by expert naturalists, as well as words of welcome from local dignitaries and Nature Canada. Local groups conducting important bird conservation actions will be present and ready to showcase their efforts. [caption id="attachment_32840" align="alignnone" width="940"]Image of 2016 Bird Day Event 2016 Bird Day Event. Photography by Nina Stavlund[/caption] Schedule for the day [custom_table style="1"]

 8:00 am - 9:30 am  Early Bird Activity: Nature Canada’s very own licensed bird bander, Ted Cheskey, will give a bird banding demonstration at Brewer Park. Please register for this event here.
10:00 am  Opening Ceremonies with special guests:
  • Barbara Dumont Hill, Spirit Keeper (opening Algonquin prayer)
  • Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre
  • Councillor David Chernushenko, Capital Ward
 10:30 am  Birds-of-Prey Flight Show
 11:00 am – 1:00 pm  Guided Bird Walks
 11:00 am – 1:00pm  Informal arts and crafts for kids
 11:00 am  Storytelling in Children’s Tent
 11:30 am  Visual Scavenger Hunt
 12:00 pm   Storytelling in Children’s Tent and a visual scavenger hunt
 12:30 pm  Birds-of-Prey Flight Show
[/custom_table] Plan your trip to Nature Canada’s Bird Day Bird Day will be held at Brewer Park, 100 Brewer Way, Ottawa, located right across from Carleton University and off of Bronson Ave. Due to the flooding of the Rideau River, the event site has moved to an area further north of the park. Follow the signs towards the school and arena. Partners Image of a Environment of the Americas logo Environment Canada Logo Science Odyssey Logo Wildlife Habitat Canada Logo

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