“The earth has music for those who listen.”
It’s a beautiful quote and one that has been attributed to poets and playwrights alike, but the origin doesn’t particularly matter, it is the meaning that resonates. After all, who has not enjoyed the sound of the rain, thrilled at sudden thunder or yearned to rise to gentle sunshine and birdsong? During the pandemic, many of us understandably turned to nature for comfort, and birdwatching in particular soared. Cornell University reported that use of their ‘eBird’ app doubled in at least 26 countries in 2020.
And while you might expect this trend to reverse as time goes on, it seems that little has changed and many of us are now in the habit of getting out and about in nature. It is, of course, an acknowledged way to improve health and wellbeing – it can be a superb way to boost mood and provide gentle exercise. And birdsong itself is highly therapeutic, which would explain why so many of us turned to it at a time when stress and worry was at its peak. But there is also some evidence to suggest that the act of seeking and identifying birds can actually increase mental alertness. It’s nature’s own brain-training app! So, even if you are unable to regularly head out to a local park or green space, you can still benefit if you are able to attract birds with a feeder.