Sunday, July 19, 2009

1 in 5 Americans Are Watching Birds?

A new report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows one of every five Americans watches birds and that birdwatchers contributed $36 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006.

The report – Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis –shows that total participation in birdwatching is strong at 48 million, and remaining at a steady 20 percent of the U.S. population since 1996. So where are they?

The five top states with the greatest birding participation rates include Montana (40 percent), Maine (39 percent), Vermont (38 percent), Minnesota (33 percent) and Iowa (33 percent).

The report identifies who birders are, where they live, how avid they are, and what general kinds of birds they watch. However, the report does little to give insight as to the bird feeding participants.

In addition to demographic information, the report provides an estimate of how much birders spend on their hobby and the economic impact of these expenditures. According to the report, the average birder is 50 years old and more than likely has a better than average income and education. She is slightly more likely to be female and highly likely to be white. There is also a good chance that this birder lives in the south in an urban area.

Backyard birding or watching birds around the home is the most common form of birdwatching. 88% (42 million) of birders are backyard birders. The more active form of birding, taking trips away from home, is less common with 42 percent (20 million).

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