Feeling down? Step outside for a bird walk A recent study in the journal Scientific Reports found that hearing or seeing birds can have a positive benefit on one's mental health.

Feeling down? Step outside for a bird walk

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1136267837/1136267838" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Some tweets on Twitter can cause a lot of stress these days on that social media platform. But a study from King's College in London says real verified tweet, tweet, tweets from real birds might be beneficial. Researchers had participants download an app that would occasionally ask them how they're feeling and questions about their immediate environment, including were they near trees or water or could they see or hear a bird. Lead author Ryan Hammoud says their data showed that having a bird nearby might lift moods.

RYAN HAMMOUD: I wouldn't say that we went into this with an interest in birds. We're all sort of mental health researchers. So we went into this trying to discover why the incidence of mental illness is much higher in cities when compared to rural areas.

SIMON: The benefit was statistically significant and could last up to 8 hours.

HAMMOUD: So I wouldn't go as far as saying that everyday encounters with birds would cure depression. I would say that everyday encounters with birds is beneficial to people with depression.

SIMON: Why may birdsong lift our moods like the music of BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme music? Ryan Hammoud says...

HAMMOUD: There are several sort of theories about why nature in general can benefit mental health, whether that's by improving concentration by decreasing mental fatigue; it can reduce stress and lower blood pressure and stress-induced hormones. But specifically to do with birds - that would require some further research and some further exploration.

SIMON: Tweet on - the birds, I mean.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BYRDS SONG, "ALL I HAVE ARE MEMORIES")

Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.