Modern life is so busy that it can be easy to forget to take time out to enjoy nature. Here are some reasons why slowing down and taking in the natural world through birdwatching might benefit your well-being
Yesterday I saw a bullfinch in my garden. No photographic evidence, alas, but it reminded me of the reasons I picked up a camera to take photographs of birds in the first place. There are so many reasons for us to slow down and appreciate nature. Here are some reasons why birdwatching might just save your life.
- It gets you out of the house. Even the garden or local park is far enough. This, on a bad day, is a victory for many.
- You’re around trees and plants, breathing fresh air. Nature is going to work its magic.
- You start to watch the goings on of a world oblivious to your cares. You slow down and emerge from your own thoughts.
- The birds start to emerge as personalities. The cheeky one, the shy one, the aggressor… you start to watch behaviour, not just spot species. It’s a live movie unfolding before your eyes.
- The more still you become, the more the birds will start to ignore you and treat you as part of their habitat. This is the key – be still. You will find yourself breathing more deeply and slowly.
- You will start to spot birds you’ve never noticed before. The sense of achievement that comes with identifying new birds is oddly satisfying.
- You start to notice the birdsong and how it changes between species. This places you in a whole new realm of mindfulness in nature – your hearing becomes attuned to a world far away from human noise.
- You may even notice the way many birds alter their call according to their situation. Start with the robin. That beautiful song, the aggressive chit-chit-chit. Same bird, different situation. You are on a lifelong learning adventure.
- You will get exercise, as much or as little as you wish.
- If you venture to a wildlife reserve, the people you meet will, without exception, be good people. They’ll know when to speak, when to be quiet and when to leave well alone. It can restore your faith in humanity to be reminded of the existence of such people, if you’ve overdosed on politics or any toxic humanity. Or simply stay away from people. That works well, too.