I like watching birds. I also like shooting them–but I really do like watching them right up until that point. So does that make me a birdwatcher? A survey of Birding in the United States, newly introduced by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as an addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, seems to draw a distinction between hunters and birdwatchers, but I suspect there’s a lot of crossover.
According to the survey, “To be counted as a birder, an individual must have either taken a trip one mile or more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds and/or closely observed or tried to identify birds around the home.” The type of birds most commonly observed by away-from-home birders are waterfowl. Hmm. You know, as much as I hope to bag a duck or two when I hit the marsh, I have to “observe” and “identify” them first–and I’m usually perfectly happy if that’s all I do.
Anyway, here are a few highlights from the survey:
–1 in 5 Americans is a birdwatcher
–The top 5 birdwatching states are, in order, Montana, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, and Iowa
— The higher a person’s income and education level, the more likely that person is a birder.
–There are more female birdwatchers than male
–There are 48 million birdwatchers in the US.
And a question: Do you consider yourself a birdwatcher?