[Tweeters] 1.8 Million Serious Birders in WA

Gene Kridler kridler at olypen.com
Fri Dec 24 23:07:11 PST 2004

Steve: I had hunted and pecked and typed the definition of birders from P. 4 of Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis. Report 2001-1, August 2003, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Aid, Washington,DC 20240 and inadvertantly kicked the power plug servicing my computer and lost all.
So here goes again. I quote from the 20 page booklet.

In 2001 there were 46 million birdwatchers or birders, 16 years of age or older, in the United States-a little over one in five people. What is a birder? The National Survey uses a conservative definition. To be counted as a birder, an individual must have taken either a trip a mile or more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds and/or closely observed or tried to identify birds around the home. So people who happened to notice birds while they were mowing lawns or picknicking at the beach were not counted as birders. Trips to zoos and observing captive birds also did not count. 

Backyard birding or watching birds around the home is the most common form of bird-watching.
Eighty-eight percent (40 million) of birders are backyard birders. The more active form of birding, taking trips away from home, is less common with 40% (18 million) of birders participating. 

Also from page 16 of this report is Table 10. Economic Impact of Birders: 2001*
Retail Sales (expenditures)                             $31,686,673,000
Economic Output                                              $84,931,020,000
Salaries and Wages                                         $24,882,676,000
Jobs                                                                                  863,406
State Income Taxes                                            $4,889,380,380
Federal Income Taxes                                        $7,703,308,000
*Amount that birders spent on all wildlife watching.

I also plowed through the 75 Page of statistics from the report for the state of Washington, March 2003 titled 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation-Washington to get the number of bird-watchers (1,827,000) and percentage of our total population (30.9%) and their total expenditures ($979 million) which included travel, lodging, equipment, bird feed, bird baths, etc.,etc.The number of hunters in this state (231,000) or 3.9% of residents and of 938,000 anglers (14.8) and their total expenditures ($853.8 million).

The reports can be obtained by http://federalaid.fws.gov 

Birding festivals bring in a lot of money to communities. There are over 100 of them annually. A few examples of money makers to communities is the $14.4 million to Alamo, Texas close to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge; the $9.7 million to Chincoteagu, VA close to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge or the $5.6 annually to Oak Harbor, Ohio with the Ottowa National Wildlife Refuge. I wonder what the Sandhill Crane Festival brings in dollars to Othello or the Shorebird Festival to Aberdeen and Hoquiam.

 In summary, these reports are eye openers. People chasing up and down looking for rarities aren't the only birders and shouldn't look down their noses at others that don't do that. If you got statistics that challenge those obtained by the Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Census and Economics and Statistic Administration who interviewed thousands of U.S. citizens 4 times a year during 2000, hop to it. Also ask Dennis Paulson where he got all those booklets.

Gene Kridler, Retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist, Refuge Manager, Wildlife Administrator and
Endangered Species Coordinator, Central and West Pacific Islands. 


----- Original Message ----- 
  From: SGMlod at aol.com 
  To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu 
  Sent: Friday, December 24, 2004 8:36 PM
  Subject: [Tweeters] 1.8 Million Serious Birders in WA

  Greetings All

  Sorry Gene, but I must wonder what is defined as "serious" in this study. I'll tell ya, if there are 1.8 million serious birders in this state, Gene's neighborhood might sink into the sound from the sheer weight of people looking at the Redwing. 

  Steve Mlodinow 


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