I’ll admit it. I’ve turned into a bird nerd. Something about those sweet little feet hopping around on my patio just makes me happy. Did you know watching birds has been proven to lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress? Not only does pausing, sitting with, and being present in nature feel good, it’s proven to bring a sense of calm and renewal that benefits our psychological well-being.
My love affair with our birdies started last March during the Safer at Home quarantine. My mood needed a boost and bringing nature closer to me via bird feeders on my balcony was just the answer! For me, it’s not even so much about identifying the birds as it is about interacting with them; feeding them, talking to them. The best part? This happy hobby is an extremely low effort and low cost activity.
This spring, if you are looking for a mental wellness “pick me up”, I invite you to give bird feeding a try. The truth is, I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them. Here are a few tips to get you started.
• Purchase an open tray feeder at your local store or online. Open feeders are a simple and easy option and will attract a decent variety of birds. Once you begin to build a small bird community, you can upgrade to an assortment of feeders.
• Black oil sunflower seeds are the most popular bird seed and a great place to start! Note; you also get what you pay for so it is best practice to buy quality food for the health and well-being of your feathered friends. Lastly, store your seed in clean, cool and dry containers.
• Try to position your feeder(s) a few feet from a bush or tree. However, if your only option is a feeder that attaches to your deck railing or window, that will work too.
Backyard bird feeding has health benefits for you and your new bird friends. Not only will feeders make your outdoor space more delightful, but also a more nurturing space for birds. I can honestly say bird watching has changed my life. I’ve realized that sometimes it’s the little things that take up the most space in our hearts.