Care Home Residents Enjoying Local Wildlife Thanks To Video Bird Boxes

Residents at Friends of the Elderly’s Malvern-based Davenham, Perrins House and Bradbury Court, the residential, nursing and dementia care homes which are collectively known as Friends of the Elderly Malvern, have been celebrating this year’s World Wildlife Day by enjoying their regular ‘Twitching’ video sessions.

Twitching is the term used for observing and watching birds, which the residents have been experiencing and delighting in thanks to the care home’s video bird boxes. “Our first video bird box was donated to us by the family of a resident who sadly is no longer with us,” said Selena Whittaker, the Activities Coordinator at Perrins House. “Our residents were keen to have the box put up so they could view the birds in real time and see what they got up to every day. It has been extremely popular and with springtime nearly with us, the residents are waiting for the birds to start nesting.”

“The video bird box at Perrins House is linked to the television in the care home’s Lounge,” added Jo Bennett, the General Manager at Friends of the Elderly Malvern. “Our residents love wildlife programmes, so to have their very own ‘Birdwatch’ is a lovely activity for them and a great addition to our existing wide and varied daily activities calendar.”

The ‘Twitching’ has quickly caught on, with some of the residents now using their own binoculars to watch the birds in the care homes’ beautiful grounds. “At Friends of the Elderly Malvern, we have beautiful grounds and gardens surrounding all three care homes. The Twitching has sparked a real interest in our feathered friends and the residents have noted seeing a wide range of different birds, including Blue Tits, Robins and Sparrows,” Jo added. 

“Our residents have seen some funny bird behaviour and rather unusual birds too,” continued Selena. “We’ve had Pigeons deciding to have an argument over who should be on the bird table first and a Sparrow Hawk who nested in a tree near Davenham, our residential care home.

“It’s a wonderful activity for individuals or groups to participate in and can be a very thought-provoking and absorbing activity. It can provide those taking part with the opportunity to spend time in a quiet place without any distractions and, for those living with dementia, being able to see and experience the nature around them, has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression,” added Selena.

The video bird boxes are now located in the grounds and gardens around the three care homes, together with a range of bird feeders and bird tables. “We make sure the birds are well fed,” continued Jo. “We regularly fill them with bird seed and also hang out fat balls for them to enjoy.”

However, birds are not the only wildlife at Friends of the Elderly Malvern. Muntjac Deer have also made the care homes’ expansive grounds their home. “We have Muntjac Deer which roam around our lower wooded grounds and gardens, so we are hoping to get an outdoor device to capture them on video for our residents to watch as well,” added Jo.

“The Muntjacs are rather vocal, hence also being known as Barking Deer. Their calls sound more like screams, so they are often mistaken for foxes. I’m always learning something new from our residents and the other day was no exception. I was told that Muntjacs have been around for between 15-35 million years and that fossilised remains have been found in France, Germany and Poland. So, to have the beautiful creatures here for our residents to watch, enjoy and admire is wonderful, and they are another addition to our Friends of the Elderly Animal Family,” concluded Jo.