Bird-watching Stratford resident lifts spirits - The Stratford Observer
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18th Aug, 2022

Bird-watching Stratford resident lifts spirits

A BIRD watcher has been giving spirits a lift at his care home residence in Stratford.

Ambleside resident Ralph Leach has been leading the home’s bird watching activities.

And ahead of the spring migration season, the 82-year-old has shared his top tips for bird watching – a hobby he shares with his son Marcus.

The key, Ralph says, is to be patient: “You need to sit and wait for something wonderful to happen.”

His interest in bird watching started from a young age, when his father used to keep canaries. Ralph followed in his footsteps and starting breeding birds himself, including budgies, and used to showcase them. He prides himself on having seen most of England’s native bird species, but his favourite remains the goldfinch.

To allow him to continue to his hobby, staff have added bird feeders to the garden, and the home takes part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch every year, giving Ralph the opportunity to share his knowledge with other residents.

Manager Julia Joy said: “Bird watching truly is a family affair for Ralph – he inherited his passion for birds from his father, and now his own son is following in his footsteps. Ralph is really passionate when talks about the canaries he used to keep and the birds he’s seen over the years, so we’re thrilled to now have bird feeders at the home so he can continue to enjoy bird watching with the chance of even more birds arriving in our garden.

“Connecting with nature is extremely beneficial for older people, promotes positive social interaction, improves wellbeing and provides an opportunity for sensory stimulation. This can be particularly helpful for those living with dementia, as it can conjure happy memories and the associated emotions – and that’s especially true for Ralph.

“We’re looking forward to the spring migration season – there’s no doubt Ralph’s knowledge will come in handy when it comes to identifying all the birds set to fly above our home.”

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