Bird Hobbyists Pay for Live Birds
As the bird watching and feeding industry has soared in the United States, bird hobbyists now outnumber all hunters and anglers combined. Additionally, the National Bird-Feeding Society affirms that "more people feed birds than watch football, baseball, or any other sport, or participate in any other outdoor activity" - making 'birders' another advocacy group for protecting all non-game birds, including the mourning dove and sandhill crane.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, showing that the most substantial increases in participation in the past 5 years were by wildlife watchers, whose numbers from 71.8 million to 86 million - a surge of 20 percent. Wildlife watching expenditures also increased by 28 percent in that time, from $59.1 billion to $75.9 billion. Now compare that to $25.6 billion in hunting expenditures. Wildlife watchers now outnumber hunters by more than 7 to 1, and outspent hunters by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. Adding to wildlife-watching total industry output (TIO $85.4 billion) is the overall economic 'ripple effect' which creates jobs, employment income, and state and federal income tax.
In Michigan (FHWAR MI Survey), approximately 3.2 million residents 16 years or older participated in non-consumptive wildlife-watching activities and spent $1.2 billion on equipment and other expenditures relating to the activity.
As a backyard bird, the mourning dove is the second most-frequently reported bird at feeders in the United States (Barker and Tessaglia-Hymes 1999).
With the economical and political influence of bird hobbyists, Michigan's mourning dove and sandhill crane population has a powerful ally to fight off and end unwarranted attacks by misguided special interests. Our donated dollars through Michigan Non-Game Fund also "pays" for our non-game birds!
Special Note: The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation is one of the oldest and most comprehensive continuing recreation surveys available. As a five year study, the reports are available online or by calling 1-800-344-WILD. In addition, the most recent National and State Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching Report can be requested.
Source, including but not limited to: Animal Welfare Institute, New York Times, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Bird-Feeding Society, Oregon State University.
Songbird Protection Coalition