I grew up listening to a variety of birdsong. My eyes opened to a blue jay with its raucous chatter. Song sparrows and finches entertained during my tree climbing exploits. When I filled his seed bowl, my pet canary trilled his arias. Twilight blended the coos of mourning doves.
Now, birdsong brightens and energizes my morning runs. Each spring, I teach mockingbirds to sing the first notes of the Oregon Fight Song.
A research project at the University of Surrey studies the impact of birdsong on creativity and on our sense of well-being.
Supported by the National Trust and Surrey Wildlife Trust, the study examines the psychological impact of exposure to birdsong. Does it help us relax? Will it assist our ability to complete tasks and even think creatively? Does birdsong have a restorative effect?
Eleanor Ratcliffe, the researcher, interviews the general public. She wants to understand how people perceive natural sounds and birdsong's effects.
Ratcliffe explores different songs and how individuals relate birdsong to their own memories and sense of place. She also will examine whether recorded birdsong played on an iPod will have the same impact as listening to birds in cities and the countryside.