Love Bird Watching? Here are some things you might not know about birding in the U.S.
Birding, the more dedicated form of “bird-watching,” has become a very common pastime in North America. Initially focused mostly on the East Coast and in New England, birding has spread to places across North America, including Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, and the coast of California. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services study, one-fifth of Americans identify themselves as birdwatchers – in fact, those “20 percenters” brought $36 billion to the U.S. economy back in 2006 alone.
Even actors and actresses get in on bird watching! Indeed, those in the acting profession seem to be perfect birder candidates as they often film in exotic locales and have hours of free time to wander and explore. Take Jane Alexander as an example. She’s the former director of the National Endowment for the Arts (appointed by president Bill Clinton in the early 90s), who also taught at Quartz Mountain at the Oklahoma Arts Institute where I happened to attend when she was instructing in the 80s. In fact, Alexander, who hails from Boston, a very popular birder local, was named to the National Audubon Society and also serves on a number of wildlife conservation boards like the American Bird Conservancy and BirdLife International, among others.
So, would you guess there are more women or men birders? And the answer is…. men, which surprised me. Maybe men study birds’ identification for better hunting – or maybe not! But at any rate, both sexes agree that birding equipment is important. Most every birder counts two items necessary: a good pair of binoculars and a bird guide or two. Binoculars range from the inexpensive, such as Nikon Aculons (under $70), to high-end brands such as Swarovski EL Swarovisions (over $2,500) to every brand in between, such as Leica, Zeiss, Leupold, Meopta, Vortex, Redfield, Bushnell, Kahles, and Steiner. For the committed birder, there are a number of national and local communities, associations and clubs like the American Birding Association and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as well as fantastic magazines like Birding Magazine & Bird Watching Daily and most states have state specific handbooks like the Handbook of Texas Birds, the Birds of Utah Field Guide and the Birding Journal for Massachusetts to name a few!
Persons in the birding community are categorized by type much like the birds they watch. The three primary birding categories for humans are:
- Naturalists — strive to become experts on birds and enjoy traveling for their hobby
- Social birders – those who attend festivals and enjoy birding for the social aspect
- Casual birders — tend to stay in their local area and watch birds less seriously than others types
If you love birding and reside in or near the Austin, Boston, or Salt Lake City areas and might be interested in a $250 paid research study conducted by Resolution Research about the tools you use to bird-watch, please click here to learn more or paste this link into your browser: http://tinyurl.com/BirdingSurvey
Find some excellent birding resources below as well as some interesting birding stories!
I’m the CEO and owner of Resolution Research, a full service marketing research firm in Denver, Colorado, and we’re delighted to be conducting this most interesting study. I had to chime in and note that I’d classify myself a “casual birder” according to the definitions above and thought I’d share a couple birding stories of my own.
On an early morning in my apartment near downtown Denver, I snapped this picture of a red-tailed hawk that came to visit me on the balcony of my apartment on the 8th floor of my high-rise building. This was the hawk’s second visit within about a year’s time period. The hawk was gigantic and mesmerizing. No binoculars were needed. It hung out and posed for pictures about 20 minutes each visit. It was truly astonishing! And, I have to say that I felt so much better after its visit.
I have another birding balcony story with pictures, although these pics weren’t in Denver, but on my balcony in St. Francis Bay, South Africa on the Eastern Cape. I’d just purchased a new Nikon camera which I happened to be examining at my desk when this little bird landed. She was a radiant, beautiful, colorful sunbird. I couldn’t believe my luck in capturing a snapshot of this lovely South African sunbird. All I can say is that it certainly makes birding easier when the birds come to you!
Click here to read some interesting interviews with Birders from our research panel! And, we’d like to hear from you! Please share your birding pictures and stories with us in the comment section below!
If you’re not in the areas we’re surveying or not a birder or hunter, we invite you to join our research panel for many other paid research opportunities ranging from taste tests, mock juries, online surveys, focus groups, in-home product tests, and more. Go to ResolutionPanel.com.
If you work in the medical community in any capacity, please join our paid online medical research community, www.TheMedicalPanel.com, to participate in important research studies including pharma, medical devices, disease specific studies, payors, and more.
Find Birding Clubs by State in North America, visit www.aba.org/resources/birdclubs.html or search the American Birding Association for Bird Clubs. Clubs purposes range from study and conservation, to floating the river to conduct a bird census, to photography and field trips. A few examples of birding clubs by state follow:
Types of Binoculars and How to Choose Them with Reviews and Ratings by REI: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/binoculars.html
Birding Associations: American Birding Association; National Audubon Society; Audubon International; Ornithological Societies of North America; The American Ornithologists’ Union; The Wilson Ornithological Society
Paid Birding Survey: http://tinyurl.com/BirdingSurvey
Paid Hunter Survey: http://tinyurl.com/HunterswithScopes
Questions about Swarovski? As mentioned above, Swarovski is manufacturer of high quality binoculars; however, I found myself thinking about crystal jewelry rather than optics so I did a little research on the company…
First and foremost, how does one pronounce “Swarovski”? (sworr-off-skee)
Secondly, I learned that Swarovski, not only sells beautiful crystal jewelry (both online & probably at a mall near you), but they also have an impressive Swarovski optic division (which just celebrated its 65th anniversary!) that sells both spotting scopes for viewing and hunting, as well as eye pieces, photo equipment, and binoculars that many use for digiscoping as well as enhancing travel. Swarovski claims to hold the highest standards in terms of optics, design, functionality, and quality for its optic equipment — and by the beautiful nature pictures captured on their blog, one can see why! See pics here: http://www.swarovskioptik.com/nature/blog. Swarovski also has a smartphone app and offers different types of workshops around digiscoping and more. Swarovski Optik is a division of the Swarovski group of companies. Its headquarters are in Absam, Tyrol, Austria.