According to a new study published in the Ecological Economics journal, biological diversity, especially that of birds, can significantly increase life satisfaction just as much as a rise in income.
The researchers analyzed data from 26,000 adults across 26 European countries, compiled from the 2012 European Quality of Life Survey, to find that birds had a significant influence on people's moods.
The study results showed that people were over 50 per cent happier with a 10 per cent rise in bird species than an extra 10 per cent increase in their income.
"According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species," said Joel Methorst, a doctoral researcher at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre.
With the covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, many people have started to step out into nature and find solace in it. Spending more time with nature and animals has enabled them to relax and even lessen their physical and mental stress, suggested the research.
Diverse bird species is one of the best indicators of the health of the environment, and the growing threat to their lives will have a detrimental impact on humans as well, argues the authors.
The study, which proves that though money can't buy happiness, birds can, is a reminder of the invaluable role environment plays in the lives of humans, going beyond materialistic gains.