One of the simplest ways that humans can interact directly with wildlife is by feeding the birds that are found in cities and towns. Bird feeding is a popular activity at homes around the world and is known to contribute to the survival of birds in winter and improve the overall health of individuals from vulnerable species.
Scientists have investigated the effects of this pastime from an ecological perspective and even looked at the socio-demographic factors that are associated with bird feeding. However, a research team in the United States recently published the results of an investigation of the emotional and behavioral effects of bird feeding on people who feed birds.
Published in the journal People and Nature, this study used an online survey to collect data on bird feeders’ responses to the birds they observe at their feeders, their emotional responses to seeing various events at their feeders, the factors they consider the most important when deciding to feed birds, and the perceived effects of their feeding on wild around their homes. The researchers found that bird feeders experience strong emotional responses that can elicit behavioral responses to conditions in their immediate environment. Furthermore, the behavior of bird feeding was found to be linked with the observation of nature and awareness of local ecological dynamics.
As these researchers found, bird feeding is not a passive activity. It provides people with the opportunity to interact with nature and can have an impact on the way they view and interact with their environment.
Click here for the Japanese version.