Let’s not beat around the bush here, studies have shown that seeing and hearing birds in your garden has a direct link to lowering your levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
The studies done by Queensland University and the University of Exeter showed that there was a correlation between the number of birds people could see outside and their levels of stress and anxiety. It suggested that seeing larger numbers of birds in your garden in the afternoon could lower depression and make us feel happier!
The study also showed that people who spent less time outside were more likely to feel depressed in their lifetime.
The key components of the study concluded that nature has a direct affect on our well-being and in particular having trees, shrubs and birds close by made a significant difference to the way people felt.
The study produced results that suggested bird song could help prevent mental fatigue and increase our levels of happy hormones, making us less likely to feel depressed.
This study and figures are even more concerning when we think about the mental health of our children in the UK. An RSPB study in 2013 suggested that just 1 in 5 children are connected to nature and wildlife.
"A three-year research project, undertaken by the RSPB, found that only 21 per cent of children in the UK have a level of connection to nature that can be considered ‘realistic and achievable’ for all children."
Children & Nature
Recently BBC Newsnight did a piece of the amount of time UK children spend outdoors in nature and the findings were shocking.With all this in mind it feels like the time is now to take action to both support adult mental health and the health of children. As well as this the decline in our natural environments in the UK has been attributed to the time children spend outside. If we are not showing children the wonders of nature or letting them connect with it how can we expect that they will see value in nature throughout their lifetime.
Getting outside and feeding the birds in your garden can be more than a small step towards increasing your own mental health and that of your children. Once you start feeding birds, more will come and you will start to see more and more in the garden.
This increase in numbers is both good for the birds — they are getting nutritional food and improving their lives — as well as being good for you — the more birds you see the less likely you are to feel stressed and depressed.
How to encourage Garden Birds?
There are very simple steps you can take to start encouraging birds in to the garden. You don’t need to spend lots of money or doing anything too elaborate.
Find yourself a decent bird feeding station and a few feeders — shops like Wilkinson's sell them at a decent price.
Choose a good quality bird mix — something like our signature seed is perfect for a range of different birds. You can attract things like sparrows, blue tits, robins, dunnocks and blackbirds but adding it to feeders and the dish/tray that comes with your feeding station.
Wait a few days and before long you’ll find birds coming to your feeder. There is an absolute joy in feeding birds and watching them from a window even for a short space of time.
Get the kids involved with the seed and the feeders and let them create different seed cakes by mixing your seed with a pack of melted lard and then adding it to a mold or yogurt pot and tying up with some string!