16:42 28 February 2017
Researchers from Exeter University have found that living close to bird life can help improve mental health. Their study discovered that a glimpse of a wren or a blackbird can offer a moment’s respite from everyday worries.
Researchers followed more than 274 people whose stress levels decreased based on the number of birds they saw in a typical afternoon. Their study follows a research showing that bird song can help individuals recover from the mental fatigue.
Lead author Dr Daniel Cox said: ‘This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental wellbeing.
‘Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.’
In the study, the participants saw different types of birds including crows, blue tits, robins and blackbirds. However, the study did not find a relationship between the species of birds and mental health. It suggests that for most people, seeing or interacting with birds, regardless of the type, can boost one’s wellbeing.
Dr Cox said: ‘It appears people just like seeing birds, the more birds the better, whether that is a blackbird or a crow. In another study we show that watching birds in the garden makes people feel more relaxed and connected to nature.
‘This may be because a different study by this group found in urban areas that people know the common birds like robins and blackbirds, but are less able to distinguish other species. They may get a great tit and blue tit confused, for example, but they get the same experience from both.’