Comfort Birds — a Gift from the Naismith Men’s Shed

 The concept of comfort birds is hidden in the depths of carving history. Locally, our Mississippi Wood Carvers (about 15 members from Almonte, Carleton Place & area, some of whom are Men’s Shed members) tried our hand at these because (1) they use very little resources, (2) are a simple carving for new carvers to practice on, having little detail, and (3) they have a proven, useful track record. 

That useful track record includes medically documented ability to lower blood pressure and pain in stressful or painful situations such as: sitting in a dentists chair, waiting for results in a doctor’s office or just about any situation that can make us tense or nervous.  

How do they work?  Very much like “pet rocks” were used in a past day.  Just holding one in your hand in your pocket, rolling it around in your hand, gives us something on which to focus other than the stressor of the moment.  Perhaps we may use them as an aid to imagining our fears and worries “flying out the window like a bird and leaving us at peace.”  As such they are an aid to personal meditation that has long been used to lower our stress levels. Our little birds are coated with a preserving finish of oil and wax that makes them safe should a child accidentally find them and suck on them.

Who or What is the Men’s Shed?

Women have long known the benefit of connecting and seem to foster it wherever they go with book clubs, sewing groups, gardening groups etc.  Men do not so easily seem to do this.  Enter the phenomenon of Men’s Sheds.

While each Shed is separately started and designed to meet the needs and interests of the men in that community, there is a more or less universal purpose to Men’s Sheds, which is:

  • To give men a safe place where they can experience the fellowship and camaraderie that once was found in the workplace and is often missing in retirement or after losing one’s employment;
  • To alleviate a sense of isolation and loneliness;
  • To give men a sense of purpose and value through using acquired skills to contribute to their communities that often replaces the purpose found in their work but in retirement or unemployment men may begin to feel rather worthless;
  • To be a place where life situations and challenges can openly and safely be discussed thereby supporting one another with life’s challenges;
  • To promote men’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing and thus improving their family life and the communities in which they live.

To learn more about Naismith Men’s Shed and the organization’s history, please visit: