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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Opinion: Bird Watching: Pros and Pros

Bird watching can positively impact the mental health of students.
Kendra Seagraves
California scrub-jay with sunlight coming through its wings.

I think a lot of us students need a break. At Granite Bay High School, where 74% of students take at least one AP Exam, more than twice the 2023 national public school average, birdwatching might be the perfect option. 

Simply being outdoors and appreciating nature has been proven time and time again to decrease stress, anxiety and feelings of anger and frustration. Not only that, it can help improve thinking, reasoning and many other mental abilities (which would directly affect academic performance! Take that, GB students). 

Despite the ubiquity of phrases such as “get a breath of fresh air,” “take a stroll” or “get some vitamin D,” I feel this advice is rarely ever genuinely considered, partly due to said ubiquity diminishing its significance. 

American robin eyeing me from the fence. (Kendra Seagraves)

I’ve had numerous friends come to me almost in tears over the difficulty of their classes and how the anxiety stemming from these courses is clouding their daily lives. Despite my two older sisters always telling me to not get validation so strictly from academics, I’ve also experienced and internalized the crushing pressure to overachieve at GBHS, which is why I believe bird watching is a brilliant, accessible excuse to take a step back. 

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Because of this, along with the fact that it’s spring, when all the birds are either out and about or hatching, I think the passive hobby of bird watching would deeply benefit the average Granite Bay student. 

Nuttall’s woodpecker clinging to a branch. (Kendra Seagraves)

I have also found that birdwatching has made me appreciate nature more in any given situation and has indirectly taught me to be more in the moment. Even walking to my next class on campus I am drawn back into the allurement of nature when I hear the house finch singing in the callery pear trees, or spot the cliff swallow dashing under the overhang again. 

To identify the birds, I use the app Merlin Bird ID, rated 4.9/5 stars in the app store with 84,000 reviews and ranked #4 in reference, only after Google Translate, CoinIn and The Bible. It allows you to identify birds with audio, with a photo or by taking a step by step identification quiz. It then allows you to log the ones you’ve seen. 

I’ve had this app for about a year and I can now easily identify the majority of the common birds in our area simply from their songs, such as the hooded oriole (which is beautiful!), the black phoebe, the lesser goldfinch, the yellow-rumped warbler, the white-breasted nuthatch, the California Towhee, the Nuttall’s woodpecker, the red-shouldered hawk, the cedar waxwing… and the list goes on (and on and on). Some I can identify simply from the sound of their wings when they take off! 

Cedar waxwings traveling in a flock.
(Kendra Seagraves)

For those who are sentimental like me, you may end up assigning a certain personal significance to specific birds. For example, after a few encounters with a red-shafted northern flicker and her feathers during difficult times, I now feel a sense of tranquility and reassurance in my tasks upon hearing her call. 

When you find yourself overwhelmed with the fast-paced academic environment at Granite Bay, consider stepping outside and allowing 10 minutes to appreciate and engage in the nature that surrounds you; it might be the answer to some of the chaos clouding your life.

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About the Contributor
Kendra Seagraves
Kendra Seagraves, Staff Writer
Kendra Seagraves is a junior at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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    Mackenzie RodriguezMay 22, 2024 at 10:07 pm

    YES KENDRA this is AMAZING! I will definitely be taking this advice. Thank you so very much for sharing and helping everyone!