New research has revealed that four in five people in Watford (80 per cent) find listening to birdsong makes them happier, but almost one in five (17 per cent) haven’t heard a bird sing this Spring – and more than a third of adults (36 per cent) say they hear less birds now than they did ten years ago. The study, conducted on behalf of intu, marks the launch of a new initiative by the shopping centre brand to reconnect people with the wonder of birdsong.
The campaign is part of intu Watford’s pledge to make shoppers smile and is backed by naturalist Kate Humble. It officially launches at the centre next Saturday 11 May, with Britain’s ten greatest songbirds including the blackbird, nightingale, robin and wren chirping birdsong out of a specially-created 12-foot ‘tweet tree’ featuring model singing birds. The 10-minute track features the soothing tones of ten native British birds with other songbirds including the cuckoo, woodpigeon and blue tit, and was created by BAFTA-winning ambient music producer Laurence Love Greed.
The initiative to reconnect people with the sounds of nature comes as more than three in four people in Hertfordshire (76 per cent) say listening to birds singing helps them relax and 73 per cent say it makes them feel less stressed. Almost a third (30 per cent) say it helps them to work or study, but everyday life is becoming noisier with one in three (34 per cent) worried they are losing touch with nature.
Of those questioned, just over one in four adults (27 per cent) could recognise the sound of a robin, less than half (44 per cent) could identify a blackbird and only four in ten (41 per cent) knew the sound of a nightingale.
The research showed that 43 per cent of 18-24 year olds wear headphones everyday and 37 per cent regularly wear them outdoors making them deaf to the sounds of nature. While 88 per cent said they enjoy listening to birds singing, only half (52 per cent) think they make the most of the natural sounds around them during Spring.
Vicki Costello, general manager at intu Watford, comments:
“We’re bringing the sounds of the great outdoors into our centres to encourage our shoppers to reconnect with nature. We work really hard to create experiences that will bring a smile to the faces of our customers, and knowing that birdsong is proven to make people happier, we hope our tweet tree will bring joy to our shoppers and help them leave happier than when they arrived.”
Naturalist Kate Humble comments:
“I am fortunate enough that I wake up to the sound of birdsong most mornings. Scientific studies undertaken last year demonstrated that contact with nature – trees, seeing the sky, listening to birds singing – has a hugely beneficial impact on our mental wellbeing. So many people shut out the natural sounds around them by wearing headphones to listen to music or podcasts, but they are denying themselves the wonderful effects nature can have on our mental health. So I love this initiative from intu to reconnect millions of people with the wonder of birdsong, the most beautiful & beneficial music of all!”
BRITAIN’S TEN GREATEST SONGBIRDS
Music producer Laurence Love Greed comments:
“Since the start of Spring I have been immersed in the world of birdsong to help shine a light on the beauty and complexity found in the sounds of nature. This is an important initiative by intu to introduce or remind people of the beautiful sounds that fill streets and green spaces – a sound that if we’re not careful we will have to seek to hear. Hopefully this composition will encourage others to listen and become a supportive audience for these mini performers that sing their hearts out everyday.”
The birdsong soundscapes will be played at intu shopping centres around the country including intu Watford, intu Trafford Centre, intu Lakeside and intu Metrocentre throughout the month of May.
The initiative is the latest from intu shining a giant magnifying glass on nature, following the launch of Big Bugs on Tour with Chris Packham last year which has seen 12 giant bug models tour its centres.
Listen and download the songbirds here
Watch the film here
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