New research has revealed that almost four in five people in the West Midlands (79 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 Merry Hill’s pledge to make shoppers smile and is backed by naturalist Kate Humble. It officially launches at the centre next Thursday 9 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 four in five West Midlands locals (82 per cent) say listening to birds singing helps them relax and 76 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.
The birdsong soundscapes will be played at intu shopping centres around the country including intu Merry Hill, 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.