Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Birdwatchers No Featherweights in Contributions to Economy

“This U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study further reinforces the importance of bird conservation,” said Darin Schroeder, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President for Conservation Advocacy. “The State of the Birds report released earlier this year found that one-third of all bird species in the U.S. are in decline or facing serious threats. This report confirms that losing these species could have significant economic consequences.”

Contact: Joshua Winchell



Birdwatchers No Featherweights in Contributions to Economy

A new report released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows one

of every five Americans watches birds, and in doing so, birdwatchers

contributed $36 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006, the most recent year

for which economic data are available. 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.

Participation rates vary, but are generally greater in the northern half of

the country. 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 kinds of birds they watch. In addition to demographic information,

this report also provides an estimate of how much birders spend on their

hobby and the economic impact of these expenditures.

The report is an addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting,

and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. The 2006 survey is the eleventh in a

series of surveys conducted about every 5 years that began in 1955. The

survey, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with

state wildlife agencies and national conservation organizations, has become

the reference for participation and expenditure information on fish and

wildlife recreation in the United States. The survey helps quantify how

enjoyment of the outdoors and wildlife contributes to society and promotes

a healthy economy – and further strengthens the Service’s commitment to

conserve the nation’s wildlife for the enjoyment and benefit of the

American people.

A copy of the Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic

Analysis can be downloaded here:


In conjunction with the release of the birding report, the Service also

issued another similar addendum to the 2006 Survey entitled, Wildlife

Watching Trends: 1991–2006 A Reference Report. This report shows similar

trends in wildlife-watching, a broader category that includes large and

small-mammal viewing.

An overview of the Survey, and a wealth of other information, can be found

online at:


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to

conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for

the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and

trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific

excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated

professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our

work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Steve Holmer

Director of Public Relations

American Bird Conservancy

202/234-7181 ext. 216 or

202/744-6459 (cell)



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