A new study shares that being around birds help people feel ‘chirpy’ by boosting their mental well-being. The study also says that by just hearing or seeing birds, it already helps lift people’s mental health, and the boost can even last for up to eight hours.
Using a phone app called Urban Mind, the researchers asked people three times a day if they could hear or see birds, after which they were asked to respond to certain questions regarding their mental wellbeing.
Lead author from King’s College London, Ryan Hammoud, said, “There is growing evidence on the mental health benefits of being around nature and we intuitively think that the presence of birdsong and birds would help lift our mood.”
“However, there is little research that has actually investigated the impact of birds on mental health in real-time and in a real environment. By using the Urban Mind app we have for the first time showed the direct link between seeing or hearing birds and positive mood,” added Hammoud.
The study took over 3 years and had over 1,200 participants who were asked to complete more than 26,800 assessments using the Urban Mind app. These participants were mostly from the US, the UK and the EU.
The study also took data on existing diagnoses of mental health conditions like depression and others. It was through the study findings that they discovered how hearing and seeing birdlife helps improve the mental health of people, regardless of whether they have depression or not.
More interesting data also showed that the habitat of birds, like such areas with sun-dabbled wood or a babbling brook, were not actually required for the participants’ mood improvement.
Meanwhile, senior author, Professor Andrea Mechelli of King’s College London as well, shares, “The term ecosystem services is often used to describe the benefits of certain aspects of the natural environment on our physical and mental health. However, it can be difficult to prove these benefits scientifically.”
He added, “Our study provides an evidence base for creating and supporting biodiverse spaces that harbor birdlife, since this is strongly linked with our mental health.”
He also said, “In addition, the findings support the implementation of measures to increase opportunities for people to come across birdlife, particularly for those living with mental health conditions such as depression.”
The scientists note that their findings aren’t necessarily new or surprising. Former reports share that an older study from German scientists also found that being surrounded by a variety of birds can ‘increase life satisfaction equivalent to $150 per week of added income.’