New Study on Bird Encounters and Mental Wellbeing

Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

How do the sights and sounds of singing birds make you feel? Happy? Relaxed? Focused?

Whether you notice it or not, you may actually feel better mentally when seeing or hearing birds.

New research from King’s College London has found that simple interactions with birds can positively impact our moods and mental wellbeing.

How the Study was Conducted

The researchers sought to isolate data from human-bird encounters and track those people’s moods.

By using a smartphone app called Urban Mind, they were able to study people’s moods 3 times per day for 14 days (42 total assessments).

On each assessment, around 1,300 participants recorded their mental state and briefly described their environment.

The question fields were as follows:

  1. I am feeling happy.
  2. I am feeling stressed.
  3. Can you see trees right now?
  4. Can you see or hear birds right now?

For fields (1) and (2), participants recorded their level of happiness and stress by choosing from a range of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”.

Fields (3) and (4) prompted simple yes/no responses.

Results from Bird Interactions

couple outside watching birds

Does the presence of birds boost mental health?

The study showed significant evidence that everyday encounters with birds improved participants’ moods, regardless of demographics like age or gender.

One could deduce that the findings result from being surrounded by nature, not from bird encounters.

However, researchers found a possible causal link between seeing and hearing birds and participants’ mental well-being.

For those who reported hearing or seeing birds, higher levels of mental wellbeing were noted at the next assessment, even if they were not around birds at that time.

Meanwhile, mental wellbeing was generally lower in participants who had not seen or heard birds during their previous assessment.

In fact, the data showed that a simple bird encounter can improve someone’s mental wellbeing for up to eight hours after the interaction!

Why is this Data Important?

Insight into Treatment for Depression

Did you know nearly 30% of people in nursing homes have minor or major depression?

In fact, depression is the second most common psychiatric illness in the elderly, and the COVID-19 pandemic made matters much worse.

This new data on bird encounters may offer insight into better treatment, especially in trying times.

For example, some participants in the study noted a previous diagnosis of depression and those who saw or heard birds reported a general uptick in their mental state.

an older couple birdwatching

Bird watching is a form of therapy that encourages us to redirect our focus and relax our mental state.

It’s also a healthy pastime that costs very little to take on.

If you’d like to learn about the causes, signs, or treatments for depression, there are great online resources available, like the Eisenberg Family Depression Center.

Happiness is Important for Physical Health

Happy hiker outside

Studies have shown that people who are generally happier have more effective immune systems.

In one such study, participants were given a nasal drop containing one of two types of the common cold.

Researchers found that members who reported as the happiest at the beginning of the study were the least likely to get sick.

For more information, visit Positive Psychology’s website for a list of studies that found some benefits of having positive mental health.

Based on this data and the positive connection to our feathered friends, do you think an indoor aviary could benefit residents in a nursing home? Or patients in a hospital?

Our clients say it has.

The Data Shows How Crucial it is To Experience Nature

an older couple taking a walk

Going outside and surrounding oneself with nature is an excellent activity for our physical and mental states.

Unfortunately, some people, especially those in nursing homes, may not have that luxury.

This is a primary reason that nursing home aviaries have become so popular.

Serenity Aquarium & Aviary Services has provided nursing home residents with an indoor aviary and a collection of vibrant, joyful finches for over a decade.

Additional Data on Depression and Nature

Another study shows that people who live in areas with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less stressed and less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t.

Going for walks, hikes, bird watching, picnics, and picking flowers are all plausible outdoor activities that can really brighten someone’s mood.

How We Bring Nature and Birds Indoors

We fabricate spacious bird aviaries for facilities across the US.

Not only do we build aviaries and provide finches for them, but we also offer comprehensive aviary services, so staff is never tied up with cleaning or maintaining an aviary.

Healthcare, hospitality, and small businesses are just a few of the industries that we work with.

Serenity aviary in a nursing home

Since adding an aviary to their space, our clients have noticed happier residents, delighted guests, and increased productivity, respectively.

Do you think a bird enclosure can benefit you and the people you work with?

We welcome you to learn more about Serenity and decide for yourself!