Either you’re birder, an entrepreneur, or a college student working on a research paper, but either way you want to know how many people engage in bird watching in the United States. To categorize myself I’m a bird watcher and entrepreneur.
During my time in the hobby I thought to make it more interesting by documenting my journey on this bird watching resource Backyard Birdwatchers dot com. Our goal with this site is to answer just about every question related to birding.
So, how many birdwatchers are there in the United States? According to the latest National survey of Fish, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation there were approximately 45 million people engaged in bird watching in the United States. Since this report was published, some estimate a 50% increase in just 6 years!
Why Bird Watching?
Bird watching has quickly become one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America. After the Covid-19 pandemic many people were looking for new activities to engage in with so much extra time on their hands. Birdwatching was the perfect hobby to pick up for quite a few different reasons.
First off birding has a low barrier to entry, unlike other sports or games one doesn’t need much equipment or skills to get started. If you have a pair of binoculars and a notepad you’re all set. Second, there are a lot of benefits to getting outside and stretching your legs. There’s mental clarity in getting closer to nature, and it’s uplifting to get up close and personal with fascinating creatures like birds.
Lastly, there is a sense of accomplishment discovering new species nearby and far away. One can bird watch practically anywhere and at almost anytime. Sometimes I wonder if the creators of the popular Pokémon series were inspired by the concept of birding. Birdwatching – gotta’ see em all!
Birders Are Getting Younger
Something that has contributed to the rise of birding in the United States is the decrease in age amongst those participating. Bird watching was once just a past time for the middle aged and older but in 2022 birders are seemingly getting younger and younger.
According to chirpbirding.com the US Average age has decreased by 20% since 2011. Noted in the same article some of this shift can be attributed to technology. For example, mobile phone apps like Merlin and eBird make keeping track of life lists and bird identification easier and more exciting.
The Audubon society and many other Ornithology conservationists are focusing on the youth. Creating cool content and programs for children of all ages to enjoy the study of birds.
Same game new players, bird watching has gone through another change besides getting younger, and that’s become more diverse. Enter Ollie Olanipekun and Nadeem Perera, they are the founders of a nature collective called “Flock Together”. Growing up in urban London they recall growing up never being immersed in nature.
After getting their first taste of Birding, they had to share it with other people from similar backgrounds. Now they organize monthly walks for people of color. As birdwatching continues to grow and gain exposure the more diverse it will become.
Similar changes are happening in the US, there are many newly formed bird watching clubs and organizations being led by young people from all different walks of life.
It’s simple math open something up to a wider bucket of people there will be growth!
In review, how many bird watchers are there in the United States? According to the latest reports 45 million plus and an increase of roughly 50% since the covid-19 pandemic began, brings us to about 67 million people. Where did all this growth come from? Simply put younger people got interested and different people are being exposed to the great hobby that is birding.
Birdwatching is truly a rewarding and exciting past time that disconnects up from the screen, gets us moving, and helps us appreciation the beautiful things right underneath our noses. Thanks for reading, if you have any questions as always feel free to contact us via email or comment below.