Birders have clout, survey finds

Posted on July 21, 2009

With a mixed sense of optimism and cynicism, I read the latest report on birding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service....

It's not that I don't believe that birders are growing in numbers, influence and buying power. It's just that I find some of the survey's numbers hard to believe in contrast to what my eyes see when I'm birding in the field.

Some of this may be a product of the definition of a birder used by the survey:

A person who either traveled a mile or more to watch birds, or someone who watched and tried to identify birds around the home.

By those standards, 48 million of us -- or about 21 percent of Americans -- are birders.

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