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A Podcast to change the way you listen

Introducing: The Bird Who Made Me Happy

a soothing soundscape awaits

Hearing Loss and Happiness

My next guest is Cowichan Valley Audiologist, Terence Miranda. Join us as he shares what happens to the birdsongs when we have hearing loss, and how preserving our hearing might be a key to happiness. Terence is a Doctor of Audiology at Resonance Hearing Clinic in the Cowichan Valley. He has a keen understanding as to what is about birdsongs that might be incredibly important when we consider preserving our hearing and happiness.

Sustaining Happiness

My next guest is Chris Adam, a specialist in sustainable happiness, join us as we explore how being with nature, and songs birds in particular, can increase happiness. Chris directs the sustainability and living campus office at Dawson College of Montreal. He has been recognized nationally and internationally for designing and implementing sustainability related projects and leadership and education. He was most recently recognized with the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal, one of the highest civil awards. Chris’s background is in wildlife management, leadership training and entrepreneurship.

In the Birdsong Garden

My next guest is Gail Mitchell of Cowichan Valley. Join us as we wander through the nuances of being a naturalist, building lifelong relationships with birds, and habitat conservation. Gail joined the Victoria Junior naturalist in 1956 at the age of 12, under the mentorship of the renowned Freeman “Skipper” King. She holds a BSc majoring in Botany and held a position as a biology and botany lab instructor at the University of Victoria. She is now a grandmother, the former president of the Cowichan Valley Naturalist Society and current volunteer at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. Her love for birds is contagious.

The Musicality of Birdsongs

My next guest is interspecies musician and philosopher David Rothenberg. Join us as we explore how birdsongs move us musically, can change our perspective on what music means, and can be musical co-creators. David is best known for the incredible music he makes live with the sounds of nature and other species. He is a distinguished professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His books and recordings in the field of interspecies music include Why Birds Sing, Thousand Mile song, Bug Music and Nightingales in Berlin. David’s ability to open our ears to a new way of listening and creating with songbirds is captivating

From Burnout to Birdsongs

My next guest is Anna María Pálsdóttir. Join us as we discuss how listening to birdsongs can help to prevent, rehabilitate and restore from burnout and mental exhaustion. Anna María is a horticulturist, holds a PhD in landscape planning and environmental psychology and is an associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her research engages the question of how do outdoor environments affect human health and well being and in particular benefit those experiencing burnout and mental exhaustion.

Your Brain on Birdsongs

My next guest is Avik Basu, an environmental psychologist at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. Join us as we explore a theory behind how our brains recover from cognitive fatigue and why birdsongs can be helpful. Avik is the co-author of Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing Out Our Best. And his research explores the questions of why it is that our attention fatigues after overuse, and how natural environments, understanding the ancestry of our brain development and listening to birdsongs can replenish our resources for better productivity and happiness.

Want to listen elsewhere

Recent research in Attention Restoration Theory and Stress Recovery Theory shows us how exposure to nature sounds, either real time or virtual, can help bring our systems back into balance after stressful events.

To a naturalist, the sound of a local bird call may signal a specific season, or the presence of a unique habitat. To one working in nature therapy, a bird song may be a tool for positively coping with life stresses and cognition fatigue. To an audiologist, bird songs may be a means of measuring an individual’s hearing loss. While each of these fields of study gain different insights from the presence of bird songs, they are all positively motivated to conserve the ability to hear them. 

The research and my curiosity for a more simple approach to dealing with stress took me out into the field to learn what my community has to say.


I live on the edges of one of the most important estuaries in BC. It is identified as an Important Bird Area, home to one of the largest heron rookeries in BC and a historic salmon spawning and fishing ground. The vitality of the ecosystem has profound cultural importance, located on the unceded territory of Quw’utsun Tribes, as well as significant economic and ecological value. More over, “According to Island Health, Duncan and neighbouring communities have higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide and drug-related deaths compared with the rest of Vancouver Island” (The Discourse 2019). This combination of unique ecology and staggering mental health concerns drives me as an educator and health practitioner to explore and give voice to the unique role our soundscape may play in supporting the wellbeing of our community members. To do this, it seems most valuable to bring together the diverse local experts who have lived experiences and deep knowledge of the potential benefits.

Unceded Territory of
Quw’utsun people 

I am incredibly grateful to be living and working on this land, and to highlight the bird species that know it more deeply than I may ever.


My background is in environmental education and communication and for the past 10 years I have worked in and around nature based therapy, land and watershed conservation, environmental education and mindfulness based stress reduction. In addition to this, I am a skilled educator and facilitator with a LOVE for voice work and interpersonal communication. My work in these fields have informed me how, on a whole, we have a need to attend to daily emotional and environmental stressors but are often looking to mal-adaptive coping mechanisms like food, alcohol, material consumption, and thought patterns that do little to resolve our tensions. With an academic background, I am deeply curious how the research on bird songs is lived in daily experience in my community. Holding positive relationships with naturalists, alternative and conventional health practitioners, and scholars I am excited to bring to life this topic and do it in a warm, engaging and rigours manner.