Birding Demographics & Economics

Compiled by Greg Wagner, Athene Environmental Limited

According to Lang Research Inc. (2006)

  • in 2006/07, 30.7% (7,605,527) of adult Canadians went wildlife viewing while on an out-of-town, overnight trip of one or more nights
  • wildlife viewing was the second most common outdoor activity undertaken by Canadian Pleasure Travelers
  • visiting a nature park (22.8%) was the most popular activity, followed by viewing landbased animals (10.4%), whales and other marine life (8.4%), wildflowers and flora (7.7%), birds (7.5%), and the Northern Lights (4.4%) Of those who went wildlife viewing, 35.3% (2,681,779) reported that this activity was the main reason for taking at least one trip
  • relative to the average Canadian Pleasure Traveler, Wildlife Viewers are slightly more likely to be female (52.9%), 25 to 54 years of age and married with dependent children living at home
  • more likely to have a university education and their household income is close to the average Canadian Pleasure Traveler ($74,554)
  • wildlife viewers are overrepresented in the Western Provinces and especially in Alberta
  • frequently travel within Canada (97.9%) and were more likely than average to have taken trips to other provinces or regions in the past two years
  • especially more likely than average to have visited the western provinces
  • more likely to have camped, stayed in the wilderness and to have taken wilderness tours in the last two years
  • more likely to have participated in outdoor activities when on trips than the typical Canadian Pleasure Traveler and especially in nature-oriented activities (e.g., hiking, climbing & paddling; cycling; cross-country skiing & snowshoeing, wilderness activities). Don’t market to golfers!
  • very active in culture and entertainment activities when traveling, and were particularly likely to have patronized educational attractions (e.g., historical sites, museums & galleries; science & technology exhibits; aboriginal cultural experiences)
  • relative to other Canadian Pleasure Travelers, Wildlife Viewers seek vacations that are intellectually stimulating, novel and memorable
  • more likely than average to use the Internet to plan (69.2%) and book travel (44.9%)
  • likely to use official tourism information sources (e.g., brochures & guides, visitor information centres, websites) to plan trips.
  • can be most effectively targeted effectively through travel, nature and home-related media

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on the Importance of Nature to Canadians (1999):

  • in 1996 38.3 % of Canadians observed or cared for birds and other wildlife around their homes. These activities appealed most to Canadians between the ages of 35 and 65, and to rural residents.
  • 18.6 % participated in wildlife viewing in Canada. This activity was most popular among Canadians between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • an estimated 1 . 1 million Alberta residents participated in outdoor activities in natural areas, 779,000 in residential wildlife-related activities, and 397,000 in wildlife viewing
  • Alberta participants in wildlife viewing spent 7.6 million days on this activity
  • Alberta participants reported taking 12.0 million trips to natural areas and 5.1 million trips for wildlife viewing

Carolinian Canada Coalition, EarthTramper Consulting Inc. and Pier 8 Group (2011):

  • greatest number of birders are in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups, with people age 55-64 having the highest participation rates
  • some differences between expert and novice birders.
  • expert birders are on average a little older than recreational birders, and have even higher levels of income and education, and spend more money on birding. Two to five times more likely to take trips and of longer duration.
  • birders enjoy nature centres, hiking trails and driving trails
  • younger/family visitors, camping on site or close by is a preference

US Fish and Wildlife (2006):

  • Birders on average have a higher income, education, are female and with an average age of 50
  • Birding is one of the most popular and fastest growing recreational activities in North America
  • 48 million birders in the US

Birding Economics

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on the Importance of Nature to Canadians (2000):

  • in 1996, Canadian residents and U.S. tourists spent $11.7 billion on nature-related activities in Canada, which contributed $17.3 billion to gross business production and $12.1 billion to gross domestic product (GDP). These expenditures also led to contributions of $5.9 billion in personal income generated by the 215,000 jobs that were sustained by this economic activity, and $5.4 billion in government revenue from taxes.
  • of this Canadians spent $7.2 billion on outdoor activities in natural areas, and$1.3 billion for wildlife viewing
  • Alberta residents spent $901.7 million of the total on outdoor activities in natural areas, and $171.6 million on wildlife viewing
  • on average, wildlife viewers spent $433, or $23 per day of participation
  • Alberta wildlife viewers spent $4.4 million on accommodations, $15.8 million on transportation, $9.5 million on food, and $142.0 million on equipment and other related items

Maples et al. (2010):

  • At PointPeleeNational Park, intermediate and expert birders reported longer visits to the region and more overnight stays than beginners. This is significant because of the difference in visitor spending between those who stay overnight and those who are simply visiting for the day. Even among those staying overnight, beginner birders spent an average of $330.68 in total during their stay , as compared with $549.38 for expert birders. This reinforces the point that the expert birders are a high-value visitor group

US Fish and Wildlife Service (2006b):

  • in 2006, trip-related and equipment-related expenditures associated with birding generated over $82 billion in total industry output, 671,000 jobs, and $11 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue.

Literature Cited

Anonymous. n.d. Summary of KWNC Visitor Survey April 1995 to end of February 1996

Carolinian Canada Coalition, EarthTramper Consulting Inc. and Pier 8 Group. 2011 (May). Birding in Southwestern Ontario,  Premier Birding Destinations and Tourism Marketing Opportunities, Product and Regional Marketing Plan. Prepared for the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation.

Curtis, C. 1999. 1993 FortNormandeau Visitor Survey. Memo to J. Robertson dated 23 November 1999.

Dagg. M. 2013. Vistior Use Information. Email to Greg Wagner dated 10 January 2013

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on the Importance of Nature to Canadians. 1999. The importance of Nature to Canadians: Survey Highlights.

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on the Importance of Nature to Canadians. 2000. The importance of nature to Canadians: the economic significance of nature-related activities.

Gardiner, C. 2013. PolicePointPark. Email to Greg Wagner dated 11 January 2013

Helen Schuler Nature Centre. n.d. Business Plan 2012-2014. City of Lethbridge.

Lang Research Inc. (2006). TAMS 2006. Canadian Activity Profile, Wildlife Viewing While on Trips. Prepared for: Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Quebec Ministry of Tourism, Travel Manitoba, Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism Saskatchewan, Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership, Alberta Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture, Department of Canadian Heritage, Tourism British Columbia, Parks Canada Agency, Government of Yukon, Government of Northwest Territories.

Maple, L. C., Eagles, P.  F.J., and Rolfe, H. 2010. Birdwatchers’ Specialization Characteristics and National Park Tourism Planning, Journal of Ecotourism, Vol. 9 (219-238).

Pullis LaRouche, G. 2001 Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. 2007. 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. WashingtonDC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2006a), Wildlife Watching in the U.S.: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006, Addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, Report 2006-1.

 US Fish and Wildlife Service. 2006b. Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis. Addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. Report 2006-4

 Waskasoo Environmental Education Society. n.d. Education and Interpretation Framework.

3 Responses to Birding Demographics & Economics

  1. Pingback: Festival de Aviturismo de Campeche 2014: ¡excelentes noticias! | RIDE INTO BIRDLAND

  2. Pingback: (Español) Festival de Aviturismo de Campeche 2014: ¡excelentes noticias! | RIDE INTO BIRDLAND

  3. John White says:

    I just wrote a blog article on birding in Canada based on newly released data from the Canadian government. I thought you might be interested:

    Birding in Canada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *