Next time you see or hear a little feathered friend, take the time to remember how important they are in our lives.
As Catholics we’re taught the importance of caring for God’s creatures great and small. In fact, there’s an awful lot for humans to gain from the huge variety of animals, birds, and insects.
In a recent survey carried out in the UK by the RSPB (the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), 9 out of 10 people reported the positive impact our feathered friends have on our mental health.
The results have come about from last year’s Big Garden Birdwatch, an annual event in which individuals are invited to go out in to their gardens for one hour and count the birds they see. Last year an impressive 700,000 people took part in the birdwatch, and over 11 million birds were counted.
With the chilly spells this year, ornithologists are anxious that this might have had an impact on the number of birds that are spotted, with an increase in mortality rates of birds, such as long-tailed tits and wrens, according to The Guardian. The annual birdwatch is a useful tool for ornithologists to gain a little insight into the current bird population in the UK.
The RSPB also requested YouGov to carry out a survey, in which there were some very interesting and positive findings. According to the poll, “88% of UK adults said spending time outdoors enjoying the natural world was important to them, with 53% stating it was very important, while 91% agreed that seeing birds and hearing birdsong had a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.”
It is not really much of a surprise to see how nature provides a boost to our mood. After all, we’ve often reported on the benefits of the great outdoors, and even taking a few minutes each day to take a walk.
As the president of the RSPB, Dr. Amir Khan, shared: “Working as a GP, I know just how important accessing green spaces is for our physical and mental wellbeing. Watching the blue tits and bullfinches enjoying the feeders in my garden is a constant source of comfort for me, and being on the frontline of the NHS I am very aware that comfort is something we all need now more than ever.”
It is interesting to see just how much joy something that we so often take for granted can have on our health. And it’s important to remember that, in return, it is our duty to help care for all of God’s creatures, just as St. Francis of Assisi taught us.