Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Birdwatchers No Featherweights in Contributions to Economy

July 15, 2009


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

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

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:


Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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