New project brings Calderdale moorland birdsong to care home residents

Moorland birdsong in Calderdale has been recorded for a special project which will bring their unique sounds to care homes.

The project brings the sounds of upland birds to care home residents
The project brings the sounds of upland birds to care home residents

The Moorland Chorus initiative, organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), will be used as a therapeutic tool for people who are no longer able to easily access the uplands.

Birdsong has been shown to have mental health benefits with studies by the University of Essex showing birdsong associated with memories can bring relief from mental fatigue and stress.

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It has also been used in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to relax travellers.

“Springtime in the uplands is a festival of bird noise, each song so varied yet recognisable,” said Jo Pearson, Calderdale Moorland Group co-ordinator.

“This campaign is about capturing the magical sounds and putting it in front of people who are less able to visit the uplands.”

The 15-minute recordings are made by a sound technician with the help of local gamekeepers and are free for people to access.

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

“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 also been designed for individuals to listen to, helping with relaxation and stress as well as promoting 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?”

Gareth said the aim of the project is to bring these sounds to a wider audience and introduce new people to the wonders of moorland birds.

“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.

Running from July 5-6 across venues in Yorkshire and the Peak District, this year’s event will see more than 2,000 primary school children visit their local moor to learn from those who work on the uplands.