The sweet symphony of birdsong
Did you know that the mere act of listening to the sweet symphony of birdsong can create states of relaxation, calmness, clarity and alertness in our minds and bodies? Yep, it’s true... and backed up by scientific research, no less! There is a special area of our brain calibrated to respond to the exact frequency range found in bird calls. Human hearing can pick up frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hz. The frequency of most birdsong falls between 1,000 and 8,000 Hz (there are a few avian calls a little higher, but the majority exists within this range). It just so happens this is the exact “sweet spot” as far as our auditory senses are concerned - the specific range our brains evolved to be particularly responsive to.
But why birds? I mean, why not squirrel chatter? Or the droning of insects? Or frog rivets?
Birdsong indicated safe areas
If you think about it, the ability of our feathered friends to have such a profound effect on us makes complete sense. When we humans made our first appearance on the planet and began programming evolutionary survival skills into our DNA, those programs were dictated pretty much by the environment in which we found ourselves.
We quickly learned that the presence of birdsong signaled a safe area containing food and water sources, and that if we followed those sounds we would find conditions favorable for living the good life, caveman style. Conversely, when there was an absence of the sound of chirping singing feathered creatures, or the avian orchestra abruptly left the building so to speak we knew there was danger coming our way. And although we no longer rely on the presence or absence of birdsong as our primary early warning system, we will still find ourselves markedly relaxing into a sense of safety and wellbeing whenever the sound of birdsong fills the air.
The birds were our alarm clocks
Not only did birds serve as our GPS and early warning system, they also performed magnificently as our alarm clock. When the first bird-call pierced the pre-dawn air, our senses came alive and we knew it was time to start the day. We rose bright eyed and clear-headed, ready for another day roaming the forest and doing all the things that our pre-historic ancestors busied themselves in doing.
Today, the sound of birds filling the air signals to that ancient part of our brain to shift into a calm focused alertness. But wait! How can the same sound simultaneously calm us down and wake us up? This is due in part to the fact that bird-song is stochastic, made up of varied random sounds. So basically the sound is not repetitive enough to be hypnotic and put us to sleep. Rather, it leaves us feeling safe, awake and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead of us.
Listening to birdsong
If you don’t believe me, then check it out for yourself. Find a place where there is an abundant bird population. If you are not near a park or land outside the city where winged creatures flock together, then you can easily lure some feathered friends to visit your backyard or apartment balcony. By creating feeding stations and supplying the seed mix favored by songbirds you will soon have your own private in-residence orchestra. Then all you have to do is sit back and listen. Allow yourself time out each day for 15 to 30 minutes to sit still and take in the sweet sound of birds singing their little hearts out just for the pure joy of being alive.
There are also recordings of birdsong you can download and then play, filling your living space with the harmonious trill of nature’s choir. If you give it half a chance, I think you will discover this natural medicine is better than any pill you could ever take to wake you up or calm you down. It’s absolutely free, no prescription required…and best of all, the only side effects are improved mental health, a happy heart, and a clear, alert mind.