Being Around Birds Brings People as Much Happiness as $150 a Week of Added Income, Research Finds

Photo of a sparrow perched on a branch.
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The Audubon Society saw a spike in their sales of bird feeders, and bird food during the pandemic.

Did you know that being surrounded by birds and listening to that lovely chirping sounds does make people happier?

According to German researchers, being around a wide variety of birds, in fact, can increase life satisfaction, equivalent to $150 per week of added income, according to the Good News Network (GNN).

”We examined the socio-economic data of the people that were surveyed, and, much to our surprise, we found that avian diversity is as important for their life satisfaction as is their income,” said Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese, of Goethe University in Frankfurt.

The findings were based on data from a 2012 European Quality of Life Survey taken by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research that measured how species diversity in birds affected a total of 26,000 people in 26 European countries, the outlet reported. 

The study reveals that “the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life,” or “who live in near-natural surroundings” where many birds live, according to the study’s lead author, Joel Methorst, a professor at Goethe University.

The second study measured the well-being of Colorado hikers on a popular hiking trail. Hidden speakers played a variety of bird songs along certain sections of the trail and then the hikers were interviewed about their experience. 

And according to University Press Caly Poly New Journal, birdsongs benefit humans and avian sounds during hikes boosted people’s sense of well-being. 

Researchers from California Polytechnic University learned that hikers on the trials that perceived both more sounds and more varied sounds said they felt better about life, and about their experience hiking, than those who heard fewer sounds, the GNN reported.

The Audubon Society saw a spike in their sales of bird feeders, and bird food during the pandemic. The society has also seen an increase in their birding apps, as well as an all-time high of participation in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s annual Global Big Day 2020.