birdwatching, mindfulness

by Susana García

In recent years there is a growing tendency to practice Mindfulness. It is an essential practice of Buddhism in which the person concentrates intentionally and consciously, attentive to their perceptions and actions in the present moment without judgments or assessments. That is why Claire Thomson's book entitled The Art of Conscious and Full Bird Watching caught my attention.

Birds surround us, and a place where we can't find them is rare. Most people don't know the benefits of observing them. Appreciating their singing, their movements and their behavior teaches us another way of living and relating to living beings. It increases our capacity for perceived attention and improving our mental health.

A study published by scientists from the University of Exeter in BioScience, showed that people who observe birds daily, even in a short period of time, have a lower risk of depression, anxiety and stress. Just stopping to appreciate the song of the yigüirro before the first rains, or the loud one called "Qui-pray prayed for the brown-billed toucan, reduces the cortisol levels of our organism, and therefore our stress. That is why the difference between hearing and listening, between seeing and observing, is fundamental to harmonize with nature.

A Bird Watcher’s Dream El Sueño de un Pajarero aves Hacienda Baru

Inner peace is not the only benefit of this practice. Bird watching improves concentration, reflexes, both visual and auditory memory, the ability to classify, appreciate, and of course, pleasure, with the release of serotonin in the face of long-awaited or unexpected encounters. This activity also teaches us to accept that we do not have control over what is happening around us. Although we often look for a specific species, it is beyond our control to find it with a 100% guarantee.


So, be encouraged, you don't have to be an expert ornithologist to be able to identify one or the other of the more than 900 species registered in Costa Rica. Just take a deep breath, actively concentrate and put all our senses alert to discover these light life partner. Appreciate their teachings and let us be surprised by their intelligence.




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