Sunday, March 22, 2009

Business of Birding

The New York Times recently ran an article describing birders' propensity to mix their passion with business travel. The article states:

In fact, business travel, reviled by many forced to endure it, is frequently a boon for the nation’s 20 million birders, and their employers as well.

To begin with, bird watchers are often more eager to hit the road than their nonbirding colleagues. Cyndi Lubecke, a birder from Prospect Heights, Ill., said she had to travel 46 weeks one year for her work as a leadership training consultant. “I looked at it as an opportunity to see a lot of birds.” Some of her nonbirding co-workers, by contrast, balked.

Travel to out-of-the-way places that many nonbirders find unappealing can be especially attractive to those who pack binoculars and field guides in their carry-on luggage.

From the US Fish & Wildlife Service report entitled Wildlife Watching in the U.S.: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006Addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

Wildlife watching is one of the most popular types of outdoor recreation in the United States. Nearly a third of the U.S. population, 71 million people, enjoyed closely observing, feeding, and photographing wildlife in 2006. Wildlife watching around the home and on trips is an important and growing form of recreation. Eight percent more people participated in 2006 than in 2001.

In addition to contributing significantly to people’s enjoyment of the outdoors, wildlife watching has a substantial impact on the nation’s and states’ economies. The $45.7 billion spent on wildlife equipment and trips in 2006 contributed substantially to federal and state tax revenues, jobs, earnings, and economic output.

Of course, this is not news to Audubon South Carolina! Spectacular birding opportunities are available in the habitats at both centers in South Carolina (Francis Beidler Forest and Silver Bluff), in addition to programs such as Wine & Warblers (Apr), Swallow-tailed Kite Survey (Apr), bird summer camp at Beidler Forest, Storks & Corks (Aug), bird walks, Christmas Bird Count (Dec), and the Great Backyard Bird Count (Feb)!

Come join the bird nerds!

Image by Mark Musselman

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