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Bird biodiversity linked to human happiness, study finds

A German scientific center is offering good news for the world’s birding enthusiasts or anyone who shares a living environment with diverse bird populations.

The center, which studies biodiversity, found that people’s happiness levels are elevated when they live in environments that have robust and diverse bird species.

In fact, the German organization for Integrative Biodiversity Research concluded, high biodiversity in people’s vicinity is as important to personal life satisfaction as income is.

In a description on Science Daily, study authors suggest that a 10% increase in bird species is equivalent to a “comparable increase in income” for personal life satisfaction.

The study, which was conducted in Europe, traced biodiversity through bird species because they are easily detectable — both visually and through their song. A higher number of bird species is also found in environments that have more green spaces and bodies of water which could contribute to happiness levels.

In their work, researchers reviewed data on the life satisfaction of 26,000 adults in 26 European countries and measured species diversity based on the diversity of avian species.

"According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species,” Joel Methorst, a doctoral researcher at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, the iDiv, and the Goethe University in Frankfurt and the study's lead author, said in a statement on Science Daily.

Study authors also suggest the importance of conserving the natural biodiversity around us for our own well-being.

And, while human beings don’t necessarily need to become birders or naturalists to reap the benefits of happiness through biodiversity, a few words of thanks the next time you hear bird song out of your window is entirely appropriate.

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