Health Fusion: How your yard can help save birds and boost health

Wild birds are taking a hit because habitats are shrinking. This episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion with Viv Williams" explores a new study about how your yard can help boost bird diversity. And in the process, you might just enhance your own health and happiness.

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What is it about wild birds that people love so much? We watch them, feed them, paint them, honor them and listen to their calls. Still, an Indiana University article states that 200 species of birds have gone extinct sine the 1500s.

A new study from a team of scientists reveals the value of considering birds when you plant and design your yard. After studying six cities, they found that yards certified as wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation’s certification program support a wider variety of bird species than yards that are mostly lawn. And they found that wildlife habitat yards support more of the popular species that people like to see than urban parks.

Why is this important? Well, in addition to the above-mentioned love for birds shared by many, and the fact that they are decreasing in numbers, birds are important parts of the earth's ecosystem. The Indiana article notes that birds help with pest control, pollination and soil enrichment.

And a quick Google search of the health benefits of nature results in many scholarly articles about how exposure to nature and its creatures helps to boost our feelings of wellbeing, and may help ease symptoms of depression and perception of pain. To name just a few. Building a bird-friendly yard is a win-win, in my opinion.

Some elements needed to create a yard for the birds include native plant species, shelters and water features. If you're interested in making your yard a certified wildlife habitat, check out the National Wildlife Federation's website for details.


The birds and back yard study is published in the journal Ecological Applications.

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For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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