- TV Nature Shows are great, but Backyard Nature Shows are Incredible
- Birds, Rabbits, Squirrels, Butterflies, Deer, and so much more…PEACE.
- Sunrise and Sunset are the best times to Sip a Coffee on a Quiet Chair in your Backyard.
By Larry Whiteley
For some of you, your only experience with nature is watching shows on PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, and others in the comfort of your home. I also love watching nature shows. However, they are much better when I watch them out the windows of my home rather than on television, my tablet, or my smartphone.
I am entertained more through those windows than my recliner watching TV nature shows. At home, I see colorful birds coming to our feeders. Bright red male Cardinals. Iridescent blue Indigo Buntings, yellow and black Finches, gray Mourning Doves, and blue Bluejays. Woodpeckers and other birds of all colors and sizes join them, along with the tiny Hummingbirds. Colorful Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks add even more color to the bird show during springtime.
Our squirrel population is also part of the nature show out our windows. I watch young squirrels play tag and wrestle. I have even seen squirrels do the same thing with rabbits. In the fall, adults gather acorns for the winter and build nests high in the trees. In spring, birds dive-bomb squirrels that get too close to their nest. During summer’s hot days, I watch squirrels spread their bodies and lay flat in the shade. They are trying to cool off and are doing what is called splooting. Squirrel tracks are everywhere in winter snow.
I am also blessed, at times, to see Deer, Turkey, Red-Tailed Hawks, lots of Crows, Great Horned Owls, and sometimes even an Eagle. All the butterflies are another special treat. There is always a nature show going on every season of the year. But it is like watching nature TV shows on my devices with muted sounds if I stay inside. To enjoy nature shows even better, I open the door and go outside with my binoculars. That way, I can take in all the sights and sounds of the nature shows. I take pictures and record all the sounds with my smartphone. They will bring me many hours of enjoyment later.
I try not to make noise while I am there. If I am successful, the wildlife tolerate me being in their world. They continue to do what they do. Geese honk, Crows caw. Birds will sing and feed. Squirrels will chatter and run around everywhere. Both will scatter and hide if they hear the sound of a red-tailed Hawk flying around looking for a meal.
I go outdoors any time during the day to watch and listen to nature shows. I love to be there as the sun rises, a cup of coffee in hand. The wildlife wake up and start their day. They don’t even know I am there with them as I watch and listen. Bird songs start, turkeys gobble, a breeze blows through the trees, and crows begin talking to each other. I might also see a chipmunk scurrying around or a turtle slowly walking while exploring my yard. A lizard or two is usually somewhere. Movement under a bush is probably a snake looking for his next meal. Sunrises are always beautiful. I can never take enough pictures of them or the rainbows after a rain. It is much better than watching the morning news on TV and getting all depressed before the day even starts.
Sunsets are also a favorite time for me. They are beautiful. Deer move around looking for a place to bed down for the night. As it gets darker, owls hoot and coyotes howl. Bats begin to dive for bugs. Summer nights also mean a light show performance by thousands of tiny fireflies. I can also record or enjoy the sounds of frogs, crickets, cicadas, and katydids. A little thunder and lightning only add to the night. Pull up a chair and enjoy the show.
You probably think I live in the country to enjoy nature like that. When we built our house fifty years ago, it was in the country. There were few neighbors. Today, I not only see nature shows out every window, but I also see other homes out every window. Most people probably don’t even realize a live nature show is happening outside near their homes. I hear their barking dogs, their mowers, and weed eaters. Their cars and trucks drive down the road. Most of you can probably hear and see all that, too. But even with all that, I bet there are nature shows right outside your window if you take the time to look and listen.
Now, why would you bother to do that? First of all, we should all be mindful of the different types of media we consume on a regular basis and how it impacts our mind. That includes TV, movies, books, magazines, news, and social media. Everything we choose to consume daily has an effect on our thoughts, feelings, and perspectives in some way. There are lots of studies that show how spending more time in nature is good for you.
One study showed nature can reduce symptoms of depression. Another study showed that bird-watching around your home can reduce stress and anxiety. Another study found that just listening to the sounds of nature can put us into a more relaxed and comfortable state. Other studies have shown experiencing nature can lower blood pressure, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve our mood. Do you need any other reasons to start getting involved in watching and listening to nature shows out your windows and outdoors?
After learning to enjoy the nature shows around your home, I encourage you to take the next step. Go camping, even if starting off, it is in your own backyard. Hopefully, you will take the next step and go camping outdoors at places away from man-made noises and artificial lights.
Get on your computer or smartphone and find places to go hike. Enjoy nature along the way, and when you reach the top, look out over the valley below and be amazed. Find a river or lake and catch a fish or relax in or on the water. Learn to enjoy wildflowers in the spring, snow in the woods during winter, colorful leaves in the fall, and a star-filled sky on a summer night. Discover how incredible nature is.
Get away from the TV, computer, and smartphone. Escape all that is going on in your life and our broken world. Find the peace you seek. Restore your body and soul. I personally know Who created the outdoors, and He did a great job. Let Him and all the nature shows change your life for the better.
As Anne Frank said, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature.”