Birdwatching selective focus photography of blue kingfisher

Hobbies for Your Mental Health: Birdwatching

Birdwatching is a popular hobby; however, it is often looked down upon for being boring or better suited to the elderly or infirm, but this simply isn’t the case. It is an incredibly peaceful hobby which helps to promote a sense of tranquillity which can do wonders for your mental health. Birdwatching, as a hobby, is also easily accessible because it requires very little on your part. Read on to learn more.

The Basics

Getting started with birdwatching is exceedingly easy because it only has three basic requirements, and that is some free time, a bit of patience and your eyes. Obviously, you can invest a little more in equipment, but it isn’t necessary. Bird watching is exactly as it sounds; you simply find a quiet place to sit or stand still and watch the birds. A lot of people do this without even realizing it. They find themselves watching the birds in the garden or sitting there watching the birds through their office windows.

The Benefits of Bird Watching

Taking up birdwatching as a hobby has a number of benefits for you, mind, body and soul. Firstly, it can help to improve your fitness levels, especially if you start to walk more in order to spot more birds. A lot of people begin to ramble across fields, in woodlands and in nature parks in order to spot some of the rarer species. You could even bring a packed lunch and really make a day of it. Being outside in the fresh air is also good for you too.

It is also a great stress reliever; it forces you to slow down and be quiet. The fresh air and open spaces are also good for your mental health. It helps you to be more mindful. Watching the birds and trying to identify the species helps to keep your brain active and distracted while the rest of your body enters a state of calm relaxation. To this end, bird watching can actually help to offset symptoms of anxiety and depression too.

Bird watching is often a great way to meditate, too; it makes you feel more present, you are aware of the sounds, smells and sights around you. When you are waiting for the birds to come, you need to be quiet and still so as not to spook them. On some occasions, you might not see the species that you wanted to, you might not see anything, or it might just be glimpses through the branches. Birdwatching requires patience, and in the pursuit of this hobby, you can learn how to be a more patient person.

The hobby itself can be a solitary endeavor; you can go out by yourself to watch the birds and keep track of the sightings if that is what you’d prefer. On the other hand, if you want to find a community, then you can too. You can find local birdwatching clubs that get together to talk about the species that they have seen and organize excursions, or you can find online groups and forums where you can discuss the intricacies of birdwatching digitally.

The Best Places to Bird Watch

It really depends on your approach to the hobby. If you simply enjoy watching the birds as is, then you can watch them in your own garden, set up some bird feeders to entice more birds to your garden and watch them through the window or set yourself up outside with a comfortable seat and a cup of tea. Little Peckers has a range of products for wild birds and other creatures to help you to encourage the local wildlife to visit your garden a little more.

If you would prefer a more traditional approach to this hobby, then there are a number of places where you can observe birds both in urban and rural areas. Visiting these different places also helps to ensure that you will see a diverse range of species too. You should try visiting forests, coastal areas, woodlands, nature parks, fields, picnics and parks too.

Additional Equipment

While you do not need to invest in any additional equipment to birdwatch, if you choose to, there are a few things that would be advantageous. One of the best pieces of equipment that you can invest in as an avian enthusiast is a decent pair of binoculars. After that, you can purchase books if you would like to, although the internet is great for finding helpful resources. You could also look into purchasing a good pair of walking or hiking boots and other birdwatching paraphernalia like waterproofs, rucksacks, flasks and maybe even a camera.

Birdwatching is a great hobby regardless of your age, race, gender, et cetera; it holds a certain universal appeal in that respect. Of course, there are a number of different ways for you to approach this hobby, depending on your preferences and the level of commitment that you are ready for. It is one of the best hobbies for your mental health, so bear that in mind too.