Birding and Mindfulness? Of course! Watching birds brings you into the present, accepting of the conditions, fully aware of the surroundings and your sensory intake for all of the above. No judgement, no rush; instead it's a fully-loaded meditation on nature. Yeh!
All right, the idea is not mine, and in fact I only recently even made an association between the experience of birding and a mindfulness, meditative practice as a way to achieve less stress and better health. Two colleagues of mine where I work, Becky and Jennie (both MSWs in the Behavioral Health department), suggested the connection after I described what it feels like to be in the field, using all my senses to watch birds.
"That sounds like mindfulness!" said Becky. "You should totally write about that--you might get more people into birding if you approach it from that angle!" As a psychotherapist, Becky has incorporated mindfulness training as part of the therapy she offers her patients. Jennie, at the time an MSW candidate (she's now part of the team on staff, having graduated), led weekly group mindfulness sessions for patients and staff at our place of work.
Jumping on this idea (and the thought of getting more folks out birding!), I pitched a story idea to the marketing department on this topic after interviewing one of the physicians at our clinic who is an avid birder (we bird nerds all find each other). Here is the result for your reading pleasure--and a few beautiful shots of birds, care of Mike Hamilton.