New research has revealed that four in five people in Norfolk (80 per cent) find listening to birdsong makes them happier, but almost one in ten (9 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 Chapelfield’s pledge to make shoppers smile and is backed by naturalist Kate Humble. It officially launches at the centre on Friday 17 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.
intu Chapelfield will also be hosting a special bird themed family club event on Saturday 18 May. While listening to the birdsong being played from the ‘tweet tree’ families can take part in craft activities, making and decorating their own little bird inspired by the sounds. The intu family club takes place 11am – 5pm outside House of Fraser on the lower ground mall. Family club is free to join, and new members can sign up online at intu.co.uk/Chapelfield.
The initiative to reconnect people with the sounds of nature comes as more than three in four people in Norfolk (78 per cent) say listening to birds singing helps them relax and 74 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.
Sheridan Smith, marketing manager at intu Chapelfield says: “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!”
The Tweet Tree will be at intu Chapelfield on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May, with the special event 11am-5pm on the Saturday.