KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – You can find a group of veterans gathered in the courtyard of Ben Atchley Tennessee State Veterans Nursing Home, quietly enjoying fresh air and listening for the birds.

Studies have actually found a link between the number of birds you see in a day and lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. A local business is stepping up to donate bird feeders and supplies to military veterans.

“I enjoy birds,” Korean War veteran George Waggoner. “That’s signs of life.”

Wild Birds Unlimited manager Tiffany Hamlin has a heart for veterans and spearheaded the effort. With help from her vendors, 32 bird feeders and bags of bird seed were donated so that everyone at the nursing home can enjoy the sights and sounds whether they’re outside or in their rooms.

“Sometimes, all they get to look at is out their window, and so we want to make sure they have a full feeder with pretty birds to look at,” Hamlin said.

“My dad was a veteran. My husband is a veteran, My son is a veteran. So anything we can do to help people that sacrifice so much for us, it makes us happy,” Bird feeder specialist Donna Monroe said. “It makes my heart sing.”

Taking in the new feeders and the spring flowers in the courtyard brings World War Two veteran Paul Phelps right back to his childhood.

“Me and the birds,” he said. “To me, they’re something I wouldn’t want to be without.”

“It’s very relaxing,” Gaines Pittenger, another Vietnam veteran said. “That’s what I like about it.”

This is the first of what Wild Birds Unlimited hopes is many donations to keep the feeders well stocked or replaced when the time comes. It’s a beautiful way to blend nature and honor for our veterans.

“We want to make this go not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day or things like that,” Hamlin said. “We want people to remember them all year long, every day.”

If you’d like to help, go by Wild Birds Unlimited and make a purchase to donate bird feeders or bird food or both. The store is located in the Gallery Shopping Center at 7240 Kingston Pike in West Knoxville.