This article has described on several occasions the link between pet ownership and enhanced wellbeing in pet owners, and now birds have been scientifically proven to improve mental health in people.
A recent study by academics, led by a team from Exeter University, found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of wild birds people could see in the afternoon.
Socio-economic and demographic factors did not influence the overall findings, nor did the particular species of bird observed, and it seems that seeing any type of bird makes people feel relaxed and closer to nature. This follows research which shows bird song can help people recover from the mental fatigue of a day’s focused concentration at work.
So maybe lift your spirits by investing in a bird feeder, placed safely away from any predatory cats, outside your office window or stuck on to the window - the RSPB’s website (www.rspb.org.uk) has several designs to choose from. And maybe listen out for BBC Radio 4’s ’Tweet of the Day’, which is broadcast every weekday morning at 5.58am with presenters including David Attenborough and Chris Packham (and more recently Michael Palin), or use i-Player to listen to the 386 recorded ’Tweets’.
The problem with cockerels
Unfortunately not all birds are a welcome addition to our daily life, and the poor cockerel is high on the list of unwanted birds largely due to the noise it makes crowing, particularly in the early morning.
The society receives frequent calls either from cockerel owners who wish to rehome their birds, or from members of the public who are concerned about the welfare of feral or abandoned cockerels. The vast majority of these have been ’dumped’ by owners who can’t cope with them and who think they are giving the birds a chance of survival living out in the wild.
The problem stems from irresponsible or ill-informed breeding, and the fact that chicken ownership is very popular. Well-meaning chicken owners sometimes do not think of the consequences when they allow their hens’ eggs to develop into chicks, given that roughly 50% will be male chicks. This is where the cockerel problem starts. And it’s worth remembering that hens can lay eggs without the need for cockerels!
What’s in a name?
And still on the bird theme we have a very handsome tabby cat with us at the moment called Turkey.
He’s still a very shy cat having come to us as a feral kitten from the Ballaugh area, but he’s only eight months old and so he has lots of time to grow his social skills and his confidence.
It’s highly likely that his new owner, when he finds one, will want to change his name, which is not a problem because cats are generally not responsive to their names.
Dogs, however, do recognise their names and we do not encourage name changes when they are adopted.
Mila, the striking-looking rottweiler who came to us recently, has a lovely name that suits her - Mila is an eastern European term for ’gracious’.
She is five years old and is a very obedient and intelligent dog who is quick to learn.
Ideally her new owner will have a knowledge of the rottweiler breed and will not have young children because, although Mila does not have any behavioural issues, she is a dog who needs appropriate handling.
he came to us because her previous owner developed health problems and she lived with another large dog, who has been rehomed, and so she does not necessarily have to be the only dog in a household.
The kennels team will help any potential adopter introduce their existing dog to Mila, and so the process can be managed safely.
And finally, if you are interested in volunteering for the society, or for any charity, please come along and meet representatives from the third sector at the Sefton Hotel on Saturday, March 4, from 10am to 2pm to help celebrate ’Volunteer Week’.