In an industry that generates close to $40 billion worth of economic value each year in the United States alone, birding is undoubtedly a growing hobby and one that greatly impacts local economies. Each and every one of these dollars spent on bird watching trips, bird seed, supplies or field guides stands to positively affect not only local economies but economic development on a larger, national scale.
In addition to injecting funds into the economy, active bird watchers also play a big role in the awareness and the conservation of our feathered friends. As local economies begin to benefit from the nature surrounding their businesses like restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts, they, in turn, begin to pay much more attention to the attractions that bring these birders in.
In turn, locals and business owners alike begin to take measures to care for and increase local bird populations and they themselves indirectly become a vital part of this growing benefit to their economy. In addition to this, here are a few ways we as birders can continue to grow local and national economies by doing what we love.
This is a given for any local economy but goes very well in a closely-knit community like birders. Find a great local bird shop? Spread the word! That local greasy spoon close to a great venue to spotting your favourite species? Spread the word! Birders are a great bunch of people and are more than happy to share their suggestions with fellow birders and friends through review sites, social media and word of mouth.
When out birding and visiting local businesses, be sure to let shop owners and employees know the reason for stopping in. The more folks in your town or the town you might be visiting know that birds brought you in; the more likely they are to carry and create products and services conducive to bird watchers.