My nephew has mental health issues. He won’t mind me saying this as he’s very open about it and will talk about it to anyone who’ll listen.
After a particularly bad day at work a couple of years ago, someone suggested to him that he tried bird watching as a way to relieve stress. He took to it like a duck to water (no pun intended) and, combined with his love of photography, is building up quite a following on Instagram and Twitter. He’s also been invited to write a couple of pieces for birding magazines.
The thing he’s most proud of, though, is setting up a group called Bird Therapy which promotes the benefits of bird watching on mental health. In April, he spoke about Bird Therapy at an event in Cambridge called ‘Earth Optimism Day’. He spoke for an hour and a half and, at the end, a gentleman in the audience asked to be introduced to my nephew as he had been so impressed and wanted to discuss the issue further. My nephew agreed to the introduction (as I said, he’ll speak to anyone about it who’ll listen) and found himself shaking hands with Sir David Attenborough! Radio 4 was also at the event recording some segments for use in a program they were putting together. The producer had listened to my nephew’s presentation and asked if he would like to contribute to their ‘Tweet of the Day” series – a two minute piece each day where a bird watcher, famous or otherwise, talks about a particular bird they’ve encountered and a short clip of birdsong is played. My nephew recorded three pieces; one has already been featured and a second one is to be played later this month.The family is just so proud of him.