We humans love nature don’t we? And we love when nature comes to visit us at our home. Yep. From the comfort of my La-Z-Boy, I can look out the window and watch the squirrel scamper across the lawn, the deer graze in the grass and the bird fly from the tree where its chicks just hatched to where the squirrel proof bird feeder (had to add that!) hangs filled with its favorite seed.
Oh wait, did I just give the first reason already? I think I did. Reason #1. You do not have to leave your house to enjoy the diversity of birds that live around you.
#2. However, the birds can and do lure you outside. There are many concrete reasons why being outside is so good for us. As most of you know, sunlight generates Vitamin D in humans. For us fair-skinned folks, 10 minutes in the summer sun will produce about 10,000 IU. The government recommends between 200 and 600 IU depending on your age. Being outside eases depression.
Additionally, it could improve your physical health in some life-changing ways. A Tokyo study conducted in 2008 found that nurses who spent six hours over the course of three days walking in the woods had an increase in Natural Killer Cells (white blood cells) and anti-cancer proteins. Additionally, seven days later, this increase was still there! Now that’s amazing stuff!
#3. Bird watchers travel. We here at Edible Terrace lived in the Florida Keys for a few years. This chain of islands is a stopping point for many birds before they continue their migration south to the Caribbean islands. What better excuse is there to travel to the tropics of the Keys than to check out all the species of birds that come here every fall?
An Audubon writer offers up his favorite autumn bird watching spots such as Cape May, NJ where robins and kinglets can be found to Monterey Bay, CA where many species of shearwaters are seen as they head south.
#4. Connect with the kids in your life. Whether you have children, grandkids, nieces or neighbors, bird watching can not only give you a way to bond but also allow you to teach some life lessons-without it sounding like you’re teaching life lessons. A child’s natural curiosity and need to be active fits perfectly with bird watching. Take them outside. Teach them about the birds in your backyard.
What species are they? Where do they nest? Do they mate for life? Where do they migrate? What are their favorite foods? Buy a birdhouse kit or nest box and build it together. Wash and refill your bird feeders. Plant a bird-friendly shrub. Explain why all of this is so important, why Mother Nature needs to be respected, and why bird conservation is critical right now. (Life lessons without sounding like life lessons!)
#5. Pest control. Birds like their insects, mosquitoes, spiders, etc. Give them a reason to hang out at your place and reduce your need for chemical insecticides. Additionally, indirectly you are harming the birds by killing their natural food source from spraying the bug killer. Let your avian friends do the work for you.
#6. Birds are flower pollinators. Want to make your garden more colorful and attract more birds to your yard? Plant lots of flowering shrubs and plants in your yard. This will bring nectar sipping birds such as hummingbirds and many North American songbirds to your house who will help your garden flourish!
#7 Control the weeds growing in your yard. Were you aware some birds like finches and sparrows love to eat weed seeds? Let’s start a Start a Save Your Back campaign! Bring in the finches and sparrows. Woohoo!
#8. I saved what I consider the most important for last. Bird Conservation. By creating an oasis in your yard, you are giving the birds a place to eat, live, and reproduce. This also benefits the greater environment as these birds have a place they can survive and thrive thus improving their species’ longevity.
Are you new to the idea of bird watching? Be inspired to start a new hobby then! Do you just love the idea of doing your own part in conserving nature? Love to travel? Want to teach the kids around you something life changing yet fun? Birding is what you are looking for then.