Science Says Being Surrounded by Birds Can Make You Happier
A new study conducted by German researchers found that hearing and seeing birds can increase overall life satisfaction.
Spring is just around the corner and there's nothing like seeing the first robin of the season, which is a sign that warmer days are ahead. Now, a new study conducted in Germany has found that the more often we see and hear birds chirping and singing, the happier we are. A team at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research discovered that being surrounding by a wide variety of birds can offer increasing life satisfaction equivalent to $150 per week of added income.
According to the study, seeing 10 percent more bird species generates satisfaction on par with a comparable increase in income. "We also examined the socio-economic data of the people that were surveyed, and, much to our surprise, we found that avian diversity is as important for their life satisfaction as is their income," said Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese.
Another study from the California Polytechnic University found that placing speakers with a variety of bird sounds on hiking trails improved the outdoor experience. The study was conducted in Colorado but the findings may improve hikers' happiness everywhere. There was no difference in hikers' happiness whether the bird sounds were artificial, pre-recorded, or natural.
During an unprecedented year of loss, stress, and uncertainty, the comforting sounds of nature have been crucial. A recent report from the Audubon Society found that sales of bird feeders, bird food, and birding apps have all increased during the pandemic, and participation in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's annual Global Big Day 2020 broke records.