Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Birding Effect

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Birding Effect

Article excerpt

Spring is here, and with the warmer weather and blooming flowers come swarms of migratory birds returning home after the cold North American winter. This time of year is prime season for birdwatchers, better known as "birders," who are attracted to the concentrated flocks and bright plumage of the breeding birds. You may be familiar with birding, but many may be surprised at the significant impact birders have on the environment and the economy. In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sought to provide more comprehensive information on the identity of birders and their economic impact with its National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. Below, find some highlights from the survey, which helps shed some light on the true value of birding--and by extension, the value of birds.

47 million: Number of birders, 16 years of age and older, in the United States as of 2011.

88: Percentage of birders who "backyard bird," aka, watch birds around their homes.

38: Percentage of away-from-home birders, or those who travel more than a mile from home to bird watch on both private and public lands. …

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