Birding: The Perfect Stress Release

Getting out birding and identifying birds like this Eastern Phoebe can be an excellent way to relieve stress.

Getting out birding and identifying birds like this Eastern Phoebe can be an excellent way to relieve stress.

In today’s world there are so many causes of stress. Work, finances, family and health to name a few. One of my favourite ways to relieve stress is by birding. Maybe I’m on my deck, or at my window watching over my feeders. I could be hiking through the woods with my dog, but there is something about the sight of these feathered creatures that really clears my mind.  I think the fact that they are so peaceful puts me at ease.

Something I like to do besides just watching the birds is count them. I like to keep track how many different species I see, and even how many of each. By engaging my mind in something, rather than just sitting and watching or walking and watching prevents me from thinking about the things that are causing my stress. If you are not familiar with the different bird species, don’t worry many are not difficult to learn how to identify. Start with a backyard feeder, some quality seed and field guide to learn the more common ones.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the more common birds, head out for a walk at your local park or conservation area and try for some new species. The addition of exercise combined with birding will give you great health benefits. You will quickly learn that there are many species in a given bird family, for instance Warblers and Sparrows. As you learn to identify more species within a family the challenge of birding becomes greater and more rewarding. You will now focus your mind on identifying what kind of Sparrow you saw rather than count it as just a Sparrow. This is an aspect of birding that you will find will really keep you going. I am always looking for new species and feel quite rewarded when I do find one. I find myself walking greater distances in search of birds than I would if I was just out for a walk, so again the health benefits of combining the two are terrific.

If you have never been birding before give it a try, I think you will find it as relaxing as I do. If you are already a birder, introduce somebody new to it. Take a friend, family member or co-worker who is dealing with stress and show them how calming birds and the outdoors are. Birding is an inexpensive hobby that provides a person with fantastic psychological and physical benefits and may just be something that adds years to your life.

Good birding,
Paul

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