There are many great benefits of birding (the act of bird watching)! By collecting bird count data and adding those observations to databases, you can contribute to scientific research; helping ornithologists and wildlife biologists monitor populations and design conservation strategies! Birding also allows you to observe the natural world around you and make connections with the flora and fauna of your community. Finally, birding does wonders for your own physical and mental well-being!
By not just observing birds, but documenting your observations and adding that count to data collection sites such as eBird.org, you can help ornithologists create more accurate predictions about future population trends, migration patterns, as well as how climate change is impacting these species! In 2019, the National Audubon Society put together a study and interactive scientific model that predicts trends in bird ranges.
Audubon scientists took advantage of 140 million observations, recorded by birders and scientists, to describe where 604 North American bird species live todayNational Audubon Society – Survival By Degrees
Just imagine what your contributions, even from your backyard, can help scientists predict in the future!
Not only does birding help the scientific community, but it also helps promote a sense of overall well-being. Outdoor birding can boost your respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and immune systems, as well as boost mood and energy levels.
As you walk around your community in search of birds, you’re getting exercise, which is extremely beneficial! The fresh air can improve mental clarity as well as pulmonary functions. Our immune systems benefit from the outdoor time as well, since phytoncides produced by trees help boost white blood cell functions. Exercise reduces risk of chronic health issues, cancer, and the time outside can reduce healing time from injuries and diseases!
But that’s just general exercise and being outside. What about birding? Birding forces us to slow down, which may seem daunting at first! Taking a break from our busy lives to simply observe can teach our minds to be more patient, take greater reward in delayed gratification, and take joy in simple things. When we can train our minds in this way through birding, we will have an easier time applying these newfound skills to other areas of life!
Are you interested in getting out there and observing the birds in your area? Participate in the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count! Simply follow the steps HERE to participate, or go out and fill in a checklist of your own and submit the data to eBird.org. Birding with friends and family can be such a wonderful shared experience. It can be such a great tool for developing self-control and observational skills in children, as well as teaching them (and you) about the wonders of our natural world!