The Growing Popularity of Birding in the United States

  • Author(s): Cordell, H. Ken; Herbert, Nancy G.; Pandolfi, Francis
  • Date: 1999
  • Station ID: Miscellaneous Publication-SRS-


Every 5 to 10 years, several Federal agencies, professional associations, private organizations, and industries work together to conduct a survey of the recreational interests of the American people--the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE). The most recent of these national studies indicated that 94.5 percent of people 16 years old or older participate in some form of outdoor recreation.Walking for pleasure, sightseeing, picnicking, swimming in natural waters, fishing, bicycling, and watching birds are among the most popular of the outdoor activities pursued in the late 1990?s.All these activities involve participation by more than 25 percent of the country?s population.Based on results from the two most recent surveys, growth of participation in most recreational activities from 1983 to 1995 exceeded growth of population.Of the activities tracked, birding, hiking, backpacking, downhill skiing, and primitive camping were the five fastest-growing activities in the country in terms of percentage change in the number of participants between 1983 and 1995.The authors present an indepth look at the growth of one of these activities, birding.Not only do they look at trends in birding, they also examine where most of the growth is occurring, who birders are, what their outdoor personality tells us, and who is responsible for most of the growth in birding participation.The primary source of data is the 1995 NSRE.

  • Citation: Cordell, H. Ken; Herbert, Nancy G.; Pandolfi, Francis 1999. The Growing Popularity of Birding in the United States. Birding.31(2): 168-176.

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