Saturday, July 18, 2009

Birders and their dollars in the news

The release on Wednesday of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's addendum to the 2006 national survey -- "Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis" -- created a buzz among online birders, naturally. The new report also put America's 48 million birders and their economic contributions -- $36 billion in 2006 -- in the mainstream media's spotlight.

The USFWS press release spread the word on Wednesday morning: "Birdwatchers No Featherweights in Contributions to Economy." Coverage among the nation's newspapers, magazines and wire services included:

Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.: "Report: birdwatchers contribute $36 billion to U.S. economy"
Backpacker: "Birdwatchers: They're Everywhere!"
Duluth News Tribune: "Minnesotans go bird crazy"
Los Angeles Times: "Bird-watching participation boosts U.S. economy according to report"
Memphis Commercial Appeal: "Billions for birdwatching: One out of five in U.S. are, even more in Tennessee"
San Jose Mercury News, Calif.: "Birdwatchers no featherweights when it comes to contributing to economy"
United Press International: "One In 5 U.S, Citizens Is A Birdwatcher"

Will birders capitalize on the demographic and economic data as well as the recent news coverage?

Will they share the data with local, state and national politicans to increase their financial and political presence?

If birders don't, do we lose the right to whine about other groups' larger presence (such as hunters)?



Blogger Alan Tilmouth said...

What I'm not sure I understand (as a Brit) is how you can have 20% of the population birders but fail to have an effective political lobby organisation such as the RSPB or am I missing something?

July 18, 2009 2:46 PM  
Blogger John said...

There are groups that do political lobbying or activism to benefit birds, like Audubon and NWF (and some others). They are fairly effective in pushing (or blocking) legislation or regulatory changes. But they tend to have broader goals and are not birder-specific. The more birding-specific organizations like ABA tend to eschew organizing. I'm not really sure why that is.

July 19, 2009 1:21 PM  
Blogger Ecesis Factor said...

This is fascinating both economically and personally. I've just started birdwatching in a formal way. It's nice to know that there are so many other bird-folk out there whom i might turn to for ideas and info.

July 21, 2009 10:14 AM  

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