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Did you get a "Birding Calling Card"?

Birders love to travel (and eat!) and we do mean it when we "thank you" for your  services! Please feel free to explore our website and learn more about Audubon and birding in Oklahoma. ("Birding" is what we "birders" call birdwatching!) Feel free to email us with any comments or questions.

Wildlife-related recreation has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in the U.S.  Over the past 20 years, participation in wildlife watching, particularly bird watching, has increased nationally by more than 266% (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation).  The travel industry has noted the increased interest in outdoor and experiential travel, and in 2002, the Travel Industry Association of America declared:

  • 76% of American travelers want to visit somewhere that they have never been before;
  • 48% of these travelers are interested in “remote and untouched” destinations; and
  • 57% are attracted by an area’s culture.

A new report released in July 2009 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. Click here to view the report.

Click here for an excellent article on the Economics of Birding from the newsletter of the OSU Dept. of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.

Wildlife Watching is Big Business!

According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, wildlife watching is the largest economic growth sector in outdoor recreation. Across the U.S., nearly $40 billion was spent on wildlife watching—a figure that has increased by over 40% in the past ten years. These expenses ranged from supplies such as binoculars and bird seed, to hotel rooms and gasoline. In New Jersey alone, 1.64 million residents and 688,000 visitors watched wildlife, and collectively, these two groups spent $1.24 billion on their hobby.

Of the nation’s 66 million wildlife watchers, 45 million of them are bird-watchers. In 2001, these bird watchers spent $32 billion in retail stores, which generated $85 billion in overall economic impact and created over 860,000 jobs (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2001 Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis).

Business owners, click here for suggestions on way to make Your Business Appealing to Nature-Based Tourists

Birders - Ways YOU can use your economic might to motivate conservation

(1) Always make sure you're recognizable as an ecotourist or birdwatcher. If you are not recognized as an ecotourist, you are assumed to be a traditional tourist, for whom communities will continue to pave and develop their wildlands.

Get your own Birding Calling Cards
1) at your local Audubon Society
2) click here to download a sheet and print your own
3) contact John Kennington to get preprinted cards.

When you spend your dollars in a community, be sure to leave behind a Birding Calling Card each time you buy gas, eat at a restaurant, or stay in a hotel. These cards let people know you are spending money in their community because you are there to view the region’s wildlife. Talk to people at these establishments so that they recognize the growing proportion of their business which comes from birders. Compliment them on their healthy wildlands. If you are not recognized as a nature-based tourist, you are assumed to be a traditional tourist, which encourages communities to continue developing their wild lands.

(2) Visit responsible businesses and tell them why. Businesses that landscape with native plants, give back to local wildlands or restoration efforts, and provide educational opportunities for the local community should be rewarded with our economic support and praise.

(3) Don't fall prey to false "eco-marketing." As the size of the ecotourism market is gaining attention, more businesses want to share in the wealth. Be an educated consumer. Tell tour operators that you pay to see the natural behavior of animals, not their panicked reactions to disturbance. Tell them you don't want a canned experience--captive wildlife or wildlife lured by food--and that you recognize that a natural experience means you might not see your target species every time, but that doesn't diminish your having a good time. Lastly, visit businesses that not only show you wildlife, but teach you about that wildlife, too.








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