Why a backyard that's 'for the birds' is great for kids, too

Plus, 5 ways to grow your family’s circle of feathered friends

Here’s something worth tweeting about: Being around more birds can boost your family’s happiness. A German study of more than 26,000 Europeans found that the cheeriest folks lived near natural areas with a wider diversity of bird species.

And no need to know the difference between wood thrush and white-throated sparrow whistles—turns out simply seeing and hearing a variety of feathered friends is enough. (Although learning how to ID birds’ songs and calls is a cool way to tune into nature with kids. And here are some bird bios to get them started.)

Since songbirds in particular tend to be cute and colorful, it seems natural that having more of them close by would be a good thing. But the mood lifter isn’t from the birds alone, researchers say. Instead, it’s the rich biodiversity, or variety of life, found in places birds call home. Here’s a quick look at why nature makes kids happy, as well as some tips for turning your backyard into a mini birding sanctuary.

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