Bird Therapy: Good for U & great for Corona social distancing

  • During this time of crisis people need ways to cope and feel safe to make it through these tumultuous times. Exposures to long-term stress can lead to higher risk of heart disease and hypertension, acute sleep deprivation, and depressed mood or anxiety. There are numerous stress remedies out there like taking yourself “offline” from technology, exercise or yoga, or meditation. All of which are proven for healthier outcomes. With coronavirus safety measures of self-quarantine or quarantining at home, social distancing or even city-wide “shelter in place” becoming more common practices it makes it a little more challenging to apply these stress remedies. Sure, you can still yoga or exercise, go offline and even meditate at home but why not try birdwatching which can combine all these activities into one and provide an additional benefit of being out in nature!

    Birds are everywhere and Colorado is one great state and Weld County one great county when it comes to birdwatching and number of birders. Over 500 bird species have been seen in Colorado of which Weld County has seen 393 of them! Right now, we are in the early stages of spring migration where we have an opportunity to see the most birds in species and numbers. Ducks like Mallard, Lesser Scaup and Canvasback are currently passing through in large numbers at most lakes or ponds. Thousands and thousands of Sandhill Crane are migrating through our state and on their way to Nebraska for the great spring migration show along the North Platte River. Soon our colorful visitors from the south, warblers, sparrows, etc. will be making their way from their wintering grounds to Colorado.

    So, how can you take social distancing and your well being to the next level during this and other times of crisis? Start with your backyard or neighborhood. Put out some feeders and you’ll attract the likes of House Sparrow, singing House Finch, American Robin and American Goldfinch t name just a few. Up here in Nunn we have a yard list of about 132 bird species since 2002! Walk around your neighborhood you’ll certainly here the mating calls of Bluejay, Northern Flicker and Mountain Chickadee.

    If you have a nearby park, open space, natural area with or without water you’ll find birds lurking about a Song Sparrow, Black-billed Magpie or Downy Woodpecker. These areas offer you an opportunity to be in nature and are great for social distancing.

    The premier places of Weld County to look for birds include the Pawnee National Grassland, which has a Birding Driving Tour route, hiking trails at the Pawnee Buttes trailhead and Crow Valley Campground one of our State’s fantastic “migrant traps”. Special birds here include Mountain Plover, Burrowing Owl, Chestnut-collared and McCown’s Longspur and Long-billed Curlew. The remoteness of the Pawnee is perfect for social distancing or “self-quarantine”.

    Walk the Poudre River Trail in early morning to hear and see the sounds of spring, ducks, sparrows and warblers.

    Visit our larger lakes like Windsor and Wood Lakes, Union or Windsor Reservoir which attract great numbers of migrating waterfowl like Western Grebe, Common Merganser and Northern Shoveler.

    Finally, down near LaSalle visit the surrounding area south of Latham Reservoir a true gem during migration.

    All of these places provide an opportunity for you to practice social distancing by foot, car, and home and to enjoy the benefits as a result of hiking/walking, staying off technology, meditating (you are only focused on the single topic of birds) and birdwatching.

    “Bird therapy” or birdwatching evidence is now supporting the conclusion that contact with nature benefits our mood, our psychological well-being, our mental health, and our cognitive functioning.

    “Being in nature—pausing in it, sitting with it, discovering its wonders—brings a sense of calm and renewal.” (Audubon)

    Get out there and take advantage of a natural remedy in these turbulent times.

    Gary Lefko, the “Nunn Guy”

    http://www.friendsofthepawneegrassland.org/

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