Not everyone loves the sound of birds chirping in the early hours of the morning, but more and more research is showing that spending time outdoors to enjoy the sight and sounds of these creatures is like music to our well-being. In other words, the benefits are numerous.

With many people spending more time on electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and computers, anxiety is on the rise as well as eyestrain and headaches. So there’s probably never been a better time to set your phone down and pick up a set of binoculars. Look at birds outside among lush greenery and trees (which have also been shown to improve or health and well-being to lower stress and lift your mood for improved well-being).

According to the article “The Mental Health Benefits of Bird Watching” published on Consumer Affairs.com in 2017, researchers in Great Britain found that people who can watch birds from their homes have a lower risk for depression, stress, and anxiety compared to people who live in less leafy areas with fewer birds.

“This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being,” said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cox from the University of Exeter. “Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.”

We’ve long known that exercise, like taking a walk, is good for us, now researchers are learning more about the benefits of actually being outside interacting with nature.

University of Washington environmental psychologist Gregory Bratman, who led a recent review of finding across social and health sciences says, “Evidence is there to support the conclusion that contact with nature benefits our mood, our psychological well-being, our mental health, and our cognitive functioning.”

With spring in the air and the temperatures consistently staying on the warmer side, now is the ideal time to venture outdoors to breathe in fresh air and look up at the beauty that surrounds you. Be sure to watch and listen for those beautiful feathered friends in the trees like Cardinals, Blue jays, Woodpeckers, the Tufted titmouse and even the robin when he’s ready. Here in Pennsylvania, you can enjoy a variety of beautiful feathered friends at several locations throughout the state. When you feel like taking a walk or a road trip, map out your days after looking at some of the best birding locations in the Keystone state listed here.