Speaking of petting, another way of de-stressing - especially when a man has a wife who spends a lot of time on her feet, as my wife does in 12-hour labor & delivery shifts, are foot rubs.
I don't really enjoy the exfoliating part of it, but following that with the emolient and smoothing lotion truly helps my wife's comfort, and I can put my mind in neutral and just coast.
And the music - putting on a good concert where I don't have to watch the tv screen is also good for relaxing and going with the flow.
As for the birds and squirrels, Marge and her sister Rosanne built a bird and squirrel feeding area for their Mom to watch out her bedroom window. It doesn't take the squirrels long to get the seed bell down from it's hanging place. Greedy little things, but cute.
And she loves the cardinals and even blue birds. Not seen any blue jays yet, which is good, because they are such bullies!