It’s National Bird Week… which for me means taking part in Birdlife Australia’s annual Aussie Bird Count.
You spend a few minutes each day in a location of your choice (your garden, local park, forest etc) and simply note down all the birds you can identify in that time.
It helps BirdLife Australia find out about the common species of birds that live where people live.
Or as they put it: “…a snapshot of Australian birds at the same time each year allows us to look at the trends in our bird communities from year to year. This is important because it’s these more common species that give us the best indication of the health of the environment – think of birds as a barometer for nature!”
It’s also a darn good excuse, of course, to sit outside in nature for 20 minutes each day.
According to Care UK: “Birdwatching can be a very meditative activity, and often provides those taking part with the opportunity to spend a time in a quiet place without any distractions.”
There’s been much written on the benefits of being in nature and how it can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
One study published in Scientific Reports last year found: “Everyday encounters with birdlife were associated with time-lasting improvements in mental wellbeing. These improvements were evident not only in healthy people but also in those with a diagnosis of depression, the most common mental illness across the world. These findings have potential implications for both environmental and wildlife protection and mental healthcare policies.”
It even suggests prescribing nature-based activities (also called social prescribing or ‘green prescribing‘) to help treat mental illness.
“Our investigation supports the notion that visits to habitats with a high degree of birdlife, such as parks and canals, may be encouraged as part of green prescribing efforts.”
I always have a bit of fun with the bird count because whenever I enter Peacock (or it’s more correct name, Indian Peafowl) I get a message saying: “Unlikely given your location.”
But we do. We have a family of Peacocks that live in our neighbourhood!
Birdwatching or counting is also a way of tapping into mindfulness.
Focusing on what birds you can see and hear.
Paying attention to what’s happening right now.
Plus you might spot a bird you haven’t seen, heard or noticed before.
So what are you waiting for?
Head out into your garden or local park and get spotting!