Friday, 29 January 2016

415 | The Healing Power of Birds Program


BirdsConTour (Birds Conservation & Tourism) uses local wild birds as an aid program to treat people. Natured is one of the best medicines. The Healing Power of Birds Program brings peace and joy to many people and at the same time, by establishing wild bird sanctuaries (feeding stations), the program gives local wild birds a boost, too.

Attracting local wild birds to people's environment (home, school, guest farm, church, lodge, business, residential care community, nursing home), through BirdsConTour transforming sites into havens for birds, the sensory observation of these birds - the colors, the sounds - and the chance to watch their behavior in the wild bird sanctuaries (feeding stations) outside, are stimulating aspects for:

Companionship and Relief from boredom
According to an old Chinese proverb, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. BirdsConTour finds that people owning or staying at a wild bird sanctuary have a lot of laughter and peace of mind. BirdsConTour designs the wild bird sanctuaries in such a way that the birds give the residents companionship, relief from boredom and the chance to care for other living things. BirdsConTour observes that residents who used to stay in their houses all day now come out daily and sit and watch the birds for hours. One can see them slip into another world and watch them react to the birds.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Patients go and sit nearby the wild bird sanctuary (feeding station) to watch the birds' behavior and listen to their calls. This is stimulating for people with dementia. Side effects from their medication make them drowsy, but the bird activities wake them up. Some start smiling, smiles last longer and some become much more talkative. In some cases these wild birds trigger happy and soothing memories. Bird observation can tap into long-lost visual or auditory memories and can evoke strong happy reactions in people with Alzheimer's, improving their mood for hours afterwards.

Duty, Commitment and Responsibility 
Owning a wild bird sanctuary teaches people duty, commitment, responsibility and care for wild creatures through regular feeding and cleaning sessions.

Wild birds singing can also make it easier to focus, for example on homework, because birdsong relaxes people physically but stimulates them cognitively. Over thousands of years people have learnt when the birds sing they are safe but it's when birds stop singing that people need to worry. Birdsong is also nature's alarm clock, with the dawn chorus signaling the start of the day, so it stimulates us cognitively. Birdsong works because it's stochastic, made up of lots of random sounds. It lacks repetition or pattern to focus on.

Comfort and Solace
Observing birds can help people through medical, physical and emotional crises. Birds, their characters, activities and stories, aid in communication and healing.

The gentle chattering of wild birds is found a healing and soothing presence by cancer patients suffering pain.

Listening to birdsong calms patients as they receive injections and can help them de-stress before undergoing treatments or surgery.

Ears and Eyes
Bird observation can reset the ears and eyes.

Depression and Heart problems
Walks in wild bird sanctuaries can comfort depression and treat heart problems.

Fear of flying
Airports can use birdsong and bird observation possibilities as a calming method for passengers to relax before their flight.

Hearing and seeing birds means good business. Attracting birds at ones business through an implemented wild bird sanctuary (feeding station), creates a mental connection with freshness and therefore improves customer and staff satisfaction.

While not a substitute for therapy, The Healing Power of Birds Program is created to aid in communication, healing and wellbeing.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

414 | Namibian Bird of the Year 2016 announced


As the Bird of the Year 2016 Namibia the birds conservation and tourism organization BirdsConTour elected the Lappet-faced Vulture, our biggest vulture species, whose existence is under threat. In the Lappet-faced Vulture Year our vultures - the Palm-nut Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Hooded Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Cape Vulture, White-headed Vulture - will become even better known.
Each year since 2013 a Bird of the Year Namibia is chosen by BirdsConTour. Birds are excellent flagship animals and useful health indicators of the environment. This annual initiative serves BirdsConTour for creating awareness about birds and bird habitat conservation.
The Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotos) is an Old World vulture belonging to the bird order Accipitriformes and is the only member of the genus Torgos. It does not share the good sense of smell of some members of the New World vultures and is not closely related to them.
This largest African vulture has a 3-meter wingspan and weighs 15 kilos. This powerful species can open a fresh carcass. Pesticide poisoning and persecution has caused a decline in its population.

Previous birds of the year
2015 - House Sparrow
2014 - Kori Bustard
2013 - Common Ostrich