The Wellness in Bird Watching

When was the last time you let the soft pink and blues of sunrise gently wake you? Did you have time to sleepy watch the colors melt into morning and hear the first sounds of birds from your bed. That’s the thing about the ocean view from Eden Retreat Center in Monte Eden, Costa Rica: it reveals these little pockets of beauty and time you didn’t know existed before.

While the view overlooking the sliver of land across the Nicoya Gulf and the curves of the Rio Tarcoles emptying into the Pacific is stunning any time of day, something special happens during sunrise and sunset. It’s the birds.

In the early morning and last moments of daylight birds become increasingly active. Here the little yellow chest kiskadee hops around the hotel walls, the distinct songs of toucan mix in with an overall jungle buzz, and more often than not the bright red Macaw couple makes an appearance at their little nest on the large tree outside room number three. I am utterly charmed everyday I see them together and am reminded that this species mates for life. Que lindo! I am equally horrified to find that my second favorite bird, the ever exotic Toucan, eats Macaw eggs. I believe it was Tennyson who wrote, “nature, red in tooth and claw.”

A recent study conducted by the University of Exeter demonstrates that “people living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.

During my time at Eden, I find encountering the various birds species throughout the day puts a simple smile on my face. It’s nice to remember that there are beautiful little worlds co-existing alongside mine.

Researchers from the Exeter study claim that “birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.”

You can’t control the world or even how you feel about it most days, but if you can slow down enough to delight in a good bird sighting things tend to feel a bit more manageable. Birds remind us of that part of existence that likes movement, migrating, tall trees, and smooth flights.

As the viability of ecotourism continues to rise in Costa Rica and locations like Eden Retreat Center continue to explore the relationship between nature, natural remedies, and longevity wellness, bird watching will hopefully continue to be something worth slowing down for and at least here staying in bed for.

Exeter University Study: www.goodnewsnetwork.org/watching-birds-near-home-good-mental-health/

Photo by T. Heinz