Calderdale birdsong featured in new therapeutic recordings

The songs of moorland bird species have been recorded in the Calderdale area as part of a new campaign to provide their unique sounds to local care homes.

The Moorland Chorus recording will be used as a therapeutic tool for those no longer able to easily access the uplands.

Organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and undertaken by a sound technician with the aid of local gamekeepers, the 15-minute session has been made free to access.

Birdsong has well-researched therapeutic benefits. Studies by the University of Essex have shown birdsongs associated with memories can offer relief from mental fatigue and stress. In Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport birdsong has been previously used to relax travellers.

Jo Pearson, the Calderdale Moorland Group co-ordinator, said: “Springtime in the uplands is a festival of bird noise, each song so varied yet recognisable. This campaign is about capturing the magical sounds and putting it in front of people who are less able to visit the uplands.

“The offer of the session has already been taken up by several care homes in the local area, and no doubt more will follow.

“Our thanks go to the local gamekeepers who took the time off to help us record the sounds of the moors.”

As well as being recorded for local care homes, the Moorland Chorus session has been designed to be listened to individually, to aid relaxation and promote the wildlife on our moorland landscapes.

Gareth Dockerty, BASC head of uplands, said: “Birdsong is known to be a rewarding antidote to our increasingly stressful lives, it can harness memories and help unwind.

“The sound of the first curlew returning to their moorland nesting grounds is always a joyous occasion. What are these landscapes without the bubbling curlew, chirping grouse and electric lapwing? It is our aim to take these sounds to a wider audience.

“Listeners may know every birdsong or none, either way, they will benefit from closing themselves off to the world and immersing themselves in the sounds of the uplands.”

The Moorland Chorus is also being sent to all the schools in the area that are taking part in BASC’s upland education initiative Let’s Learn Moor, later in the year.