Bird Watch Locally
My dad cultivated this bird watching habit in me. When I expressed an interest in it, he taught me how to attract birds to my backyard and bought me field guides to identify any birds that showed up.
Eventually, I became interested in the Native American totem tradition, which sees all animals as spiritual messengers or guides. It added a new dimension to my bird watching.
I learned from a book called Animal Speak by Ted Andrews that when cardinals appear as a totem, they do so to remind us to become like them. Their message? Add color to your life, and remember that everything you do has importance. Robins signify a spread of new growth, while chickadees represent cheerful and truthful expression.
But you don’t need to know about totems or even feed the birds to get pleasure out of watching them. Simply look out your window and watch. And when you do watch the birds, here’s what you’ll get in return:
• A connection to nature. You don’t even have to go outside to get that when watching the birds.
• A meditative experience. Sitting, watching, and waiting for birds allows ample time for introspection and contemplation. It also breeds patience.
• A calming experience. Seeing a bird in its natural environment triggers feelings of relaxation and contentment.
• Improved mental health. Researchers in Great Britain found that people who watch birds from their homes have a lower risk for depression, stress, and anxiety.
Birdwatching has always been a therapeutic, relaxing, and rewarding experience for me. If you’re not a birdwatcher, give it a try. The only cost is your time and patience. And, by the way, like humans, not all birds to south for the winter, so you can enjoy their company wherever you are all year round.