Study finds a chorus of birdsong is Northern Ireland’s favourite spring sound.
A leading beatboxer has vocally recreated the nation’s best-known songbirds to celebrate the sounds of spring and to encourage people to get outdoors and experience nature first hand.
The album of tweet music was commissioned by the National Trust after academic research found that listening to birdsong, one of the Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾, not only makes people calmer[i] but boosts positivity[ii].
In a poll of over 2,000 people, the National Trust found that 60 per cent of those living in Northern Ireland often feel ‘starved’ of nature. Over a quarter (26 per cent) have noticed a decline in the variety of birds they see in their area with continued building on green spaces a major worry for 71 per cent of those questioned.
According to the research 59 per cent consider spring their favourite season with 85 per cent stating that they feel more optimistic during this time of year.
85 per cent of people in Northern Ireland also felt more connected to nature in spring while the sounds of spring bring back happy memories of childhood for 66 per cent.
Northern Ireland’s top ten spring sounds
1. Birds singing (67 per cent)
2. An early morning ‘dawn chorus’ of birds (67 per cent)
3. Wind rustling the trees (52 per cent)
4. Tinkling stream (41 per cent)
5. A babbling brook (41 per cent)
6. April showers (41 per cent)
7. Lambs baaing (41 per cent)
8. Lawnmowers cutting grass for the first time this year (41 per cent)
9. Bees buzzing (32 per cent)
10. Baby chicks chirping (30 per cent)
Beatboxer and vocal sculptor Jason Singh visited National Trust places for inspiration before creating the album, which features birds and wildlife including Blackbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers, Crows, Skylarks, Owls, Warblers, Buzzards, Frogs and Crickets.
Singh explained: “I love the magic of spring, when the silence of winter comes to an end, you can feel a real sense of change as parks erupt with noise, bursts of colour and new life. This is what makes spring so special for me and it’s this that I really wanted to capture in this project.
“It was important to me that the bird calls and environments I recreated were as life like and authentic as possible, so it was great to work with the National Trust’s nature experts to better understand the flora and fauna of spring.”
Listeners are set to find the new National Trust soundtrack a soothing experience after a recent psychological study[iii] found natural sounds have restorative qualities. The study found the call sounds of songbirds and other sounds of nature help people recover much quicker from stressful scenarios compared with the noise of urban living.
University of Surrey Environmental Psychology PhD student Eleanor Ratcliffe, who is working on an ongoing investigation with the National Trust into the psychological impact of birdsong in people’s lives added: “It makes sense that people should find birdsong calming. Songbirds tend to sing when it is safe, and it makes evolutionary sense that we should feel calmer in a safe natural environment.”
Matthew Oates, National Trust wildlife and nature expert added: “As many of us now live in towns and cities, we wanted to produce a unique piece of music that would bring the wonderful sounds of spring to everyone – no matter where they are! By developing this in a quirky, creative way, we hope our album of tweet music inspires families and kids to have fun in the outdoors this spring and enjoy all the benefits that the sounds of nature can bring.”
With many miles of the Northern Ireland coastline and huge stretches of countryside in National Trust care the charity has a wealth of treasures for all to enjoy this spring. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni to find out more about places to visit or tweet us @nationaltrustni #tweetboxingni