The Spiritual Power Of Birdwatching

When the world is going through enormous changes, birds offer some Americans a sense of normalcy and comfort.

As people stay home during the pandemic, the decrease in traffic and noise pollution means we can now hear birds more clearly — and they’ve gotten bolder about landing on our porches and window sills.

Signups for bird-identification apps like Merlin by Cornell Lab have doubled since around this time last year.

But some have found solace in these feathered friends. Birds are not just beautiful creatures that are fun to spot — they can also hold spiritual resonance as symbols of hope and freedom for some marginalized groups.

J. Drew Lanham, birdwatcher and professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, and Mike Webster, bird song expert and professor in Cornell University’s department of neurobiology and behavior talked with us about the power and pleasure of birdwatching .

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