Hearing birds makes us feel better

Photo credit: David Cossey

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

During the pandemic, I wrote a number of posts on articles that noted how pleased many people were to hear the birds in their neighborhoods, especially residents of New York City who generally hear aircraft noise rather than the pleasant singing of birds. Now we have an article by Mary Jo DiLonardo that cites a study that found “being around birds offers benefits for emotional well-being that can last as long as eight hours.” This article also refers readers to earlier articles that have examined the benefits of being around nature.

The authors of the study used an app to query subjects in the UK, the European Union and the U.S. about whether they could see or hear birds. Then the subjects were asked about their mental state during the time they heard or saw birds. Subjects in this study included people who were diagnosed with adverse mental health conditions and those who were not. The finding was that bird activity was linked to improvement in mental health for both groups.

The researchers of the study believe their findings underscore the pleasure of the sight and sounds of birds. They were impressed by the strength of the effects of birds on people’s reactions. These findings, they say, stress the importance of protecting our birdlife, both to sustain the well-being of birds as well as the mental health of humans.

Kudos to the birds for “lifting the spirits of humans.”

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