“The cawing of the crow, the lament of the quail, the coo of the dove – all of these songs remind me of ‘home.’” —Louise Elowen
Nature has all sorts of beautiful music to offer. And I don’t just mean the sound that your noise machine produces, like the ocean, which helps to lull you to sleep at night. I mean sounds of actual birdsong.
Birds are capable of a whole variety of different tunes. Individual species are talented with some of the most unique songs. They also sing different tunes at different times: In times of courtship, danger, and territorial rights. And yes, there’s even “an app for that,” developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Record your favorite birdsongs and play them back to yourself when stressed or weary.¹
Birdsong is actually used in therapy to help people recover from trauma, loss, grief, and more. Popular belief is that songbirds are probably the most therapeutic birds to listen to in times of distress. Robins, blue jays, chickadees, cardinals, and wrens are among some of the most popular songbirds in the United States. Yet, I can also find peacefulness in the cawing of a crow, flapping lazily across the sky, above my garden, especially on an October day; or the lamenting wail of a quail on a summer evening, separated from its mate or family, or signaling that the family is on the move. And the bickering that goes on around the “water cooler” (aka the bird bath) even has its own tune to it. These familiar bird calls remind me of my place in this environment, the place that I have chosen to call home (aka as my safe place).
If you live in the city, there are still many birdsongs you may encounter. A research study demonstrated that songbirds, such as nightingales, who were city residents, sang louder to make their songs heard above the eclectic noises of their environment. They also sang at a greater speed and different pitches.² It seems that adaptability really is key if you live in the fast and furious city.
I invite you to take a moment and listen to the birdsong in your area. How does it make you feel? Can you incorporate it into part of your “therapy” during the day? The wheel does not always need to be reinvented. Sometimes the best therapy tools are right there on our own doorstep. Literally.