Why not birdwatching?

This post is also available in: Dansk

Did you know that birdwatching is healthy? And the great thing is that it’s easy to get started and it can enrich both yourself and others.

Do you also recharge by “going to the countryside”, having a bike ride in the forest, or going for a long walk by the beach? Maybe you walked many more miles in nature during the corona pandemic than before?

Most people know that physical activity outdoors is good for our health and well-being, and more and more people are becoming aware that nature and green spaces also benefit our mental health.

It’s healthy

The fact that birds and birdwatching are good for mental health is not just something I am making up with, it is supported by several scientific studies that show it. For example, an American study has documented that during the corona pandemic, shortly after lockdowns, there was a significant increase in people’s interest in wild birds. The study suggests that wild birds can help increase people’s attachment to nature and improve our well-being. Another study has shown that people living in residential areas with more vegetation and more birds were less likely to have depression, anxiety, and stress.

Even bird songs and bird calls can help stress sufferers recover. And the happiest Europeans – according to a study – are those who experience many different bird species in everyday life or live in a more natural environment with many species. The link between bird diversity and life satisfaction was so strong that it should have the same impact on our well-being as higher income!

So why not birdwatching?

Birds are fascinating. The mere fact that birds – with few exceptions – are able to fly is in itself fascinating. Birds come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors and they have exciting behaviors and lifestyles. Birds are everywhere. Birds live from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in deserts, rainforests, and high the mountains, out on the big oceans – even in the largest cities. So it’s just a matter of “looking up”.

So in the style of “x ways to improve your life”, here are 9 reasons why you should start watching birds.

Bearded Reedling.
1. Slow down and calm down

It is extremely calming and relaxing to watch birds – whether it is at home at the feeder or out in nature. It can be almost meditative. You get everyday distractions at a distance and it has a positive impact on your overall mental health, also in relation to stress, depression, and anxiety.

2. Out in nature

Birdwatching is a great way to get out and experience nature. At the same time, you get sun light, lots of fresh air, and for a while the opportunity to relax from everyday life. Birdwatching is cheap and does not require much – the most important thing is a pair of binoculars.

3. Make new friends

You can do birdwatching alone, but you can also make new acquaintances, make new friends, and become part of a community. Visit a good bird site or visit the places where a rare bird is found. Birdwatchers like to talk, tell stories, share knowledge and tips – or just have a good time. Here you can read how we made new bird friends in Argentina.

4. Great experiences

You get many exciting experiences when you do birdwatching. For some, the greatest experience is finding a very rare bird species. For others, it is the annual trip to Hornborgasjön to see the Common Cranes or the autumn raptor migration at Falsterbo. It can also be following the birdlife in the local lake. The crucial thing is that you can have many different experiences when you watch birds, experiences that give you joy, and something that you remember.

5. Find new places

Birdwatching gives you the opportunity to visit many different places, both locally or elsewhere in the country – not to mention other countries. There are more than 10,000 bird species in the world.

The article continues below this Advertisement

6. Get challenged

Yes, bird watching can be relaxing, but finding and identifying birds can also be challenging and requires patience. But it is in turn both fun and satisfying when you succeed.

7. Strengthen your attention

You train and strengthen your attention and observation skills when watching birds. The more focused and present you are, the easier it is to spot the birds as well. In fact, birdwatching can also strengthen your reactions – you need to be able to quickly “catch” the bird in the binoculars before it flies away.

8. Get in shape

Now, I’m not saying you’re in bad shape, but birdwatching can provide lots of physical exercises. When you want to see a very specific bird, you will find that you have suddenly walked five km to find a Scarlet Rosefinch or the Black-winged Kite the others saw from the top of Aborrebjerg. Maybe you become curious, and just have to see what birds are around the next turn – it could be… Completely without thinking about it, you get lots of exercises.

9. Contribute to knowledge

Birdwatching can be much more than just a hobby you pursue for your own enjoyment. Your encounters with birds can become knowledge and benefit birds and nature. If you register your bird sightings in databases such as DOFbasen or eBird, you help to collect important data, which among other things can be used in research and nature management.

Join us and go birdwatching

So what are you waiting for? Birdwatching is exciting, entertaining and a healthy occupation that can enrich both you and others. If you have become curious and need some inspiration or maybe some practical “how-to”, then join us and go birdwatching – why not?

See more at Why Not Birds? and book your bird trip today!

You can watch birds alone or together with others.

All photos and video © Bente Steffensen & Uffe Damm Andersen unless otherwise stated.