The RSPBs Big Garden Birdwatch takes place every year in January. Half a million people participate and it’s your opportunity to observe and record the birds that visit your garden during one hour before sending them in for analysis.
When the results are in, the RSPB sift through them and report back on which birds are doing well, and which aren’t.
If a species isn’t doing well, we then have another opportunity – to make small changes in our gardens to benefit them. It might be that planting a particular shrub or digging a small pond can help that species thrive again.
As well as doing your bit for wildlife, there are numerous benefits to you to be gained from watching birds. Here are some of them:
Better mental health
There are numerous articles highlighting the benefits of surrounding yourself in nature, being in the fresh air and moving our bodies.
The University of Exeter discovered that people having birds around their homes tend to have better mental health. They noted that previous research suggested people living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.
Vitamin D isn’t called the sunshine vitamin without good reason! Vitamin D is produced on the skin when exposed to sunlight and is important for healthy bones and teeth, improved immune function and regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous.
If you’re lacking in Vitamin D you might have joint or muscle pain, depression or fatigue.
By getting outside to watch birds, feed them, clean their feeding area or take photographs you’ll be topping up your vitamin D levels.
Have you ever noticed how you get into the flow when you’re immersed in nature?
By waiting quietly for the next bird to appear, listening to their songs or noticing flight patterns, there is little time to think of anything else.
Bird watching is like mindfulness meditation where you focus on just one thing, in the present moment.
Make new friends
If isolation and loneliness is an issue for you, bird watching can help you meet new friends in a non-threatening environment.
By joining a local group with a common interest, it’s a fantastic way to meet new friends, get some exercise and learn something new.
Check out this page for groups around Gloucestershire.
Join in with the RSPB Birdwatch and see what benefits you find.