The National Trust is urging people to tune into birdsong to help conquer the gloom of the short winter days of the year.
The trust has recorded birds at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire and created an online audio guide to some of Britain's best-loved species, from favorites such as the robin and members of the tit family to the blackcap (right) and great-crested grebe. Others contributing to the soundtrack include the goldcrest, blackbird, thrush, chiffchaff, wren, mallard, coot and even the garden bully, the wood pigeon (below left).
Whether the song is to ward off competitors for territory or seeking a mate, trust ecologist Peter Brash insists listeners will feel better for hearing it. "We're all attuned to the need to eat five fruit and vegetables a day or take a 30-minute walk. Taking the time out to listen to five minutes of birdsong every day could be beneficial to our wellbeing."
"Even today, when we have less than eight hours of daylight, there will be plenty of birds around to lift the spirits," said Brash. "Though there is no real substitute for listening to birds sing in the outdoors and we're never that far away from birdsong wherever we are." (At right: chiffchaff bird)
The Guardian,"Beat winter blues with birdsong, National Trust urges", accessed December 22, 2010