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Re: [CALBIRDS] Per/capita birders by state; California 2nd to last

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  • Lidia Seebeck
    Having spent three years in Montana... I can tell you that birding is much more popular up there. It was a rare morning when I bundled up in subzero temps to
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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      Having spent three years in Montana...

      I can tell you that birding is much more popular up there. It was a rare morning when I bundled up in subzero temps to go look at waterfowl on a geothermal pond in the Gallatin Valley, that I was alone there. The average was four vehicles by 6 AM, more on a weekend. (This in a valley of only 60,000 people total)

      Just an example.

      Part of the obsession in Montana has got to do with migration and the fact that waterfowl congregate in incredible numbers in some spots (Central Ponds, Ennis, Quake Lake, Freezeout Lake, etc). Part of it is that Montanans are already going outside on virtually any day in which going outside does not give you frostburn in the lungs. Ice fishing, skiing, fly fishing, hiking, etc. Californians tend to stay inside with the A/C on a lot more. Montanans also learn to observe wildlife a lot more while with the dad on the tractor. Plowing a field can get pretty old sometimes and watching birds is one way to relieve the boredom. Part of the reason-- a big one-- is that the pace of life up there is a lot slower. The average commute home in Montana is about ten minutes. Up there, you have time to go birding.

      Don't know how much of how that would help California--- a lot of this is almost cultural up there-- but at least knowing some of the factors might be a little help.
      Lidia Seebeck
      lidia@...
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Joseph Morlan
      To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 9:03 AM
      Subject: [CALBIRDS] Per/capita birders by state; California 2nd to last


      Calbirders,

      The US Fish & Wildlife Service has published the results of its 2001
      survey, "Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic
      Analysis."

      http://library.fws.gov/nat_survey2001_birding.pdf

      It contains much interesting information on the status and impact of
      birding in the US, but one set of data struck me as disturbing. The chart
      on page 9 ranks the percentage of the population over 16 who watch birds by
      state. California and Texas, at 14% each, rank second to last. Only
      Hawaii at 9% has fewer birders on a percentage basis. Montana ranked first
      with 44%.

      Why do the two states with the most birds have so few birders?

      Page 10 breaks the data down by broader regions. California is part of the
      Western Region which has the 2nd lowest birder rate at 19% just ahead of
      last place West South-Central (including Texas) at 17%. In both cases
      these scores are brought down by 2nd to last place California and Texas.

      Perhaps there are defects in the methodology. E.g. a chart showing the
      number of nonresident birders in each state has a paragraph suggesting that
      Wyoming benefited from being a natural birding destination and thus
      attracting a lot of out-of-state birders (page 11). Something seems
      clearly wrong with that analysis.

      But I do get the feeling that California is lagging behind the rest of the
      country in the popularity of birding and in cultural acceptance of birding.
      The US as a whole ranks well behind parts of Northern Europe in that
      respect. I also feel that California leads in environmental awareness and
      is generally more environmentally friendly than much of the rest of the
      country. Thus it seems odd that we have so few birders.

      Does anybody have any ideas on what we can do to help pull California out
      of the birding cellar?

      --
      Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA 94044 jmorlan (at) ccsf.org
      Fall Birding Classes start Sep 13 http://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/
      California Bird Records Committee http://www.wfo-cbrc.org/cbrc/


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    • Lidia Seebeck
      Apologies, forgot the posting rules. Blame the lack of caffeine. Lidia Seebeck Riverside CA lidia@seebeck.us ... From: Joseph Morlan To:
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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        Apologies, forgot the posting rules. Blame the lack of caffeine.
        Lidia Seebeck
        Riverside CA
        lidia@...
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Joseph Morlan
        To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 9:03 AM
        Subject: [CALBIRDS] Per/capita birders by state; California 2nd to last


        Calbirders,

        The US Fish & Wildlife Service has published the results of its 2001
        survey, "Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic
        Analysis."

        http://library.fws.gov/nat_survey2001_birding.pdf

        It contains much interesting information on the status and impact of
        birding in the US, but one set of data struck me as disturbing. The chart
        on page 9 ranks the percentage of the population over 16 who watch birds by
        state. California and Texas, at 14% each, rank second to last. Only
        Hawaii at 9% has fewer birders on a percentage basis. Montana ranked first
        with 44%.

        Why do the two states with the most birds have so few birders?

        Page 10 breaks the data down by broader regions. California is part of the
        Western Region which has the 2nd lowest birder rate at 19% just ahead of
        last place West South-Central (including Texas) at 17%. In both cases
        these scores are brought down by 2nd to last place California and Texas.

        Perhaps there are defects in the methodology. E.g. a chart showing the
        number of nonresident birders in each state has a paragraph suggesting that
        Wyoming benefited from being a natural birding destination and thus
        attracting a lot of out-of-state birders (page 11). Something seems
        clearly wrong with that analysis.

        But I do get the feeling that California is lagging behind the rest of the
        country in the popularity of birding and in cultural acceptance of birding.
        The US as a whole ranks well behind parts of Northern Europe in that
        respect. I also feel that California leads in environmental awareness and
        is generally more environmentally friendly than much of the rest of the
        country. Thus it seems odd that we have so few birders.

        Does anybody have any ideas on what we can do to help pull California out
        of the birding cellar?

        --
        Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA 94044 jmorlan (at) ccsf.org
        Fall Birding Classes start Sep 13 http://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/
        California Bird Records Committee http://www.wfo-cbrc.org/cbrc/


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      • sgloverccc@aol.com
        Hi all, Apparently the list gurus are away from their computers so I thought I would try to squeeze one more message in before the thread is closed. First,
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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          Hi all,
          Apparently the list gurus are away from their computers so I thought I would
          try to squeeze one more message in before the thread is closed.
          First, the original number of 46 million bird watchers in the US clearly
          depends on an extremely liberal use of the word bird watcher. I would bet that
          of those 46 million at least 45 million wouldn't be what we would normally call
          a bird watcher. Even a million sounds an order of magnitude high.
          Second, Last year I traveled around Nebraska, South Dakota (Black Hills, Mt.
          Rushmore etc.), all the way across North Dakota (including Lostwood NWR),
          into Minnesota (including a half day at Agassiz NWR and also up into Manitoba
          (Riding Mt. Pro. Park). In 10 days I didn't see a single bird watcher! I just
          returned from a trip to Virginia, NC, SC, e. Tenn., ne. Georgia, including
          Shenandoah, almost the entirety of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky
          Mts. In Shenandoah we saw four birders. On the entire parkway we saw 2. In
          Great Smoky Mts. we saw none.
          And the thing is, this didn't strike me as unusual at all. Unless you go to
          a place that really concentrates birders like Pt. Reyes or the hotspots like
          coastal Texas or se. Arizona you don't run into very many birders. As much as
          we like to think that the popularity of birding is exploding, the rather
          serious people like ourselves are still relatively scarce.
          In defense of California, I once (probably 10 years ago) looked through the
          ABA directory (at least a good indication of a reasonably serious birder) and
          counted how many birders there were in the East Bay counties of Alameda and
          Contra Costa. It was several hundred. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot but
          at the time it was more than the total membership for something like 35 other
          states!
          Now I do agree that tossing out seed and saying "ooh, look at the pretty
          birdy" could be a stepping stone to becoming a more serious birder. If those
          types are increasing at a higher rate in other states then perhaps we are being
          left behind. But, as far as serious birders, I suspect California holds it's
          own pretty well.
          Mi dos pesos,
          Steve Glover
          Dublin


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Lidia Seebeck
          There are a lot of birders out here. Look at CALBIRDS, the membership is over 1100. However, in view of our gigantic population, it s not that much. Montana
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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            There are a lot of birders out here. Look at CALBIRDS, the membership is over 1100. However, in view of our gigantic population, it's not that much. Montana has a very low population (spend a few winters there and you will know why) but a fair number of birders. Yes, you do have to go to the hotspots (Central Ponds, EGRA, the fish hatchery, etc) to find them. However, I remember many a day spent playing hooky on my thesis when I did meet other birders on the trails. Here in CA, that seems rare. Even when the Little Gull was possibly flitting around Fairmount Park last Christmas, I never actually saw another birder in the nine or so hours my husband and I spent at the park (i.e. never saw anyone else with a scope, binocs, or birdbook either on foot or in a car)

            I really think there is just something about the culture out here that makes people not so interested in birds.

            Finally, I'll point out that it was a Black-billed Magpie in my backyard in Colorado which got me into birding. So yes, it can happen.
            Lidia Seebeck
            lidia@...
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: sgloverccc@...
            To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 10:58 AM
            Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Per/capita birders by state; California 2nd to last


            Hi all,
            Apparently the list gurus are away from their computers so I thought I would
            try to squeeze one more message in before the thread is closed.
            First, the original number of 46 million bird watchers in the US clearly
            depends on an extremely liberal use of the word bird watcher. I would bet that
            of those 46 million at least 45 million wouldn't be what we would normally call
            a bird watcher. Even a million sounds an order of magnitude high.
            Second, Last year I traveled around Nebraska, South Dakota (Black Hills, Mt.
            Rushmore etc.), all the way across North Dakota (including Lostwood NWR),
            into Minnesota (including a half day at Agassiz NWR and also up into Manitoba
            (Riding Mt. Pro. Park). In 10 days I didn't see a single bird watcher! I just
            returned from a trip to Virginia, NC, SC, e. Tenn., ne. Georgia, including
            Shenandoah, almost the entirety of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky
            Mts. In Shenandoah we saw four birders. On the entire parkway we saw 2. In
            Great Smoky Mts. we saw none.
            And the thing is, this didn't strike me as unusual at all. Unless you go to
            a place that really concentrates birders like Pt. Reyes or the hotspots like
            coastal Texas or se. Arizona you don't run into very many birders. As much as
            we like to think that the popularity of birding is exploding, the rather
            serious people like ourselves are still relatively scarce.
            In defense of California, I once (probably 10 years ago) looked through the
            ABA directory (at least a good indication of a reasonably serious birder) and
            counted how many birders there were in the East Bay counties of Alameda and
            Contra Costa. It was several hundred. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot but
            at the time it was more than the total membership for something like 35 other
            states!
            Now I do agree that tossing out seed and saying "ooh, look at the pretty
            birdy" could be a stepping stone to becoming a more serious birder. If those
            types are increasing at a higher rate in other states then perhaps we are being
            left behind. But, as far as serious birders, I suspect California holds it's
            own pretty well.
            Mi dos pesos,
            Steve Glover
            Dublin


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          • creagrus
            One more thought before I end my part in this thread. I think it was William Tecumsah Sherman who said: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Statistics
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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              One more thought before I end my part in this thread. I think it was
              William Tecumsah Sherman who said: "There are lies, damn lies, and
              statistics." Statistics sometimes can and do completely misrepresent
              reality.

              According to the survey, 22% of all Americans are 'birders.' We have
              already seen that essentially 90% of them are 'backyard birders' and
              would not qualify in what this chat group considers 'birders.' But set
              that aside for the moment.

              Joe asks "Why do the two states [California and Texas] with the most
              birds have so few birders?"

              California and Texas have 14% of the population as 'birders,' according
              to the report, or 8% off the average. Further statistics show that
              'birders' are more common in rural areas than urban areas; California's
              population is packed into urban areas, immediately correcting a
              significant percentage of the 'low' score. Perhaps just as important
              are the statistics on racial/cultural attitudes. 24% of those assigned
              to "white" race are 'birders' but the statistics for 'birders' among the
              minorities are: Hispanics 9%, African Americans 6%, Asians 6%. I
              believe the statistics on California show that a very significant
              percent of the State's population is now Hispanic (maybe up to 35-40%?)
              and the same can be said for Texas. California also has
              disproportionately large populations of other minorities, in comparision
              with states like Montana.

              I believe that these statistics -- the proportionately low interest in
              birds by urban Americans and by minorities -- completely explain the 8%
              difference from the avaerage in California.

              Joe asks what can be done to get us out of the cellar? Statistically,
              it would be to get urban, Hispanic and other minority persons interested
              in birds. And perhaps that can best be done by having policies that
              permits low-income, urban, minority people to enjoy average American
              prosperity and have decent lives with sufficient free time to enjoy
              birds, among other things. But now I'm wandering into politics . . . so
              sorry.

              D. Roberson
              Pacific Grove "America's Last Hometown" [yes, City Hall actually has
              that motto].
            • John Harris
              Don et al., The quote lies, damned lies and statistics is of somewhat obscure origin but was attributed to Disraeli (British Prime Minister) by no less than
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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                Don et al.,
                The quote "lies, damned lies and statistics" is of somewhat obscure origin
                but was attributed to Disraeli (British Prime Minister) by no less than
                Mark Twain. Further speculation on the origin of this phrase can be found
                in The American Statistician, vol. 18, no. 5, December 1964.

                I second your observation about urban vs rural populations. My classes
                are filled with students from urban environments. I frequently take
                groups on field trips and nearly always have someone who has never been on
                any kind of hike (a remarkable statement!). I taught a bird class for
                non-science students two years ago and many of the students did not even
                recognize a robin! In contrast, growing up in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and
                South Dakota I found that many people who would not be considered birders
                by any stretch of the imagination could recognize quite a few species and
                some of the more frequently heard songs.
                We certainly have a lot of work to do here!

                John H. Harris
                Professor of Biology
                Mills College
                5000 MacArthur Blvd.
                Oakland, CA 94613
                (510) 430-2027
                johnh@...


                On Mon, 6 Jun 2005, creagrus wrote:

                > One more thought before I end my part in this thread. I think it was
                > William Tecumsah Sherman who said: "There are lies, damn lies, and
                > statistics." Statistics sometimes can and do completely misrepresent
                > reality.
                >
                > According to the survey, 22% of all Americans are 'birders.'  We have
                > already seen that essentially 90% of them are 'backyard birders' and
                > would not qualify in what this chat group considers 'birders.' But set
                > that aside for the moment.
                >
                > Joe asks "Why do the two states [California and Texas] with the most
                > birds have so few birders?"
                >
                > California and Texas have 14% of the population as 'birders,' according
                > to the report, or 8% off the average.  Further statistics show that
                > 'birders' are more common in rural areas than urban areas; California's
                > population is packed into urban areas, immediately correcting a
                > significant percentage of the 'low' score.  Perhaps just as important
                > are the statistics on racial/cultural attitudes. 24% of those assigned
                > to "white" race are 'birders' but the statistics for 'birders' among the
                > minorities are: Hispanics 9%, African Americans 6%, Asians 6%.  I
                > believe the statistics on California show that a very significant
                > percent of the State's population is now Hispanic (maybe up to 35-40%?)
                > and the same can be said for Texas. California also has
                > disproportionately large populations of other minorities, in comparision
                > with states like Montana.
                >
                > I believe that these statistics -- the proportionately low interest in
                > birds by urban Americans and by minorities -- completely explain the 8%
                > difference from the avaerage in California.
                >
                > Joe asks what can be done to get us out of the cellar?  Statistically,
                > it would be to get urban, Hispanic and other minority persons interested
                > in birds. And perhaps that can best be done by having policies that
                > permits low-income, urban, minority people to enjoy average American
                > prosperity and have decent lives with sufficient free time to enjoy
                > birds, among other things. But now I'm wandering into politics . . . so
                > sorry.
                >
                > D. Roberson
                > Pacific Grove "America's Last Hometown" [yes, City Hall actually has
                > that motto].
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Unsubscribe: mailto:CALBIRDS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > Website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CALBIRDS
                > Listowners: mailto:CALBIRDS-owner@yahoogroups.com
                >
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                > Membership and set your mail option to No Email. Or, send a blank email
                > to these addresses:
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                >
                >
                >
                >
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                >

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              • Brooke McDonald
                Kaufman s got his Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America guide out in Spanish. In Spanish it s Kaufman guia de campo a las aves de norteamerica.
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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                  Kaufman's got his "Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America" guide out in Spanish. In Spanish it's "Kaufman guia de campo a las aves de norteamerica."

                  Purchasing copies and donating them to local libraries might help us to make inroads in the Hispanic populations in the state. I'm under the impression that many of them are interested in birds and conservation, but the resources and outreach haven't been there.

                  Other than the depressing lack of birders in minority communities, the USFWS survey seemed to me to be overly broad in the definition of what a birder is, as many have noted here. Defining "expert" birders as those who can identify more than 41 species seems like they set the "expert" bar pretty low. And this puts only 8% of all their birders into the "expert" category. And their demand curve for birding trips indicating that birders who spend 50 bucks on a birding trip are only likely to take one or two trips a year really gave me a good chuckle.... would that every birding trip only cost 50 dollars!



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • JONES,JENNIFER MARIE
                  I volunteer at Debs Park, which is run by National Audubon and leased from the city of L.A. It s a terrific place, 200+ acres of oak/walnut scrubland tucked in
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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                    I volunteer at Debs Park, which is run by National Audubon and leased from
                    the city of L.A. It's a terrific place, 200+ acres of oak/walnut scrubland
                    tucked in the middle of the city. The surrounding neighborhoods are
                    primarily Spanish-speaking, as are many of the visitors to the park. If
                    we don't already have a copy of this Spanish bird guide, I plan to
                    request we order one!

                    Thanks,
                    Jennifer Jones
                    jjones@...
                    Los Angeles


                    Quoting Brooke McDonald <BMcDonald@...>:

                    > Kaufman's got his "Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America" guide
                    > out in Spanish. In Spanish it's "Kaufman guia de campo a las aves de
                    > norteamerica."
                    >
                  • Chet Ogan
                    Hi All! That s 5,025,132 birdwatchers in California! While a small percent of our 35,893,800 population (estimate by the census bureau), over 5 million
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
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                      Hi All!

                      That's 5,025,132 birdwatchers in California! While a small percent of our
                      35,893,800 population (estimate by the census bureau), over 5 million
                      birdwatchers is a large number.

                      Redwood Region Audubon is printing our NW Calif checklist in Spanish and
                      plan to lead one field trip each month in Spanish. Others may think about
                      the outreach also.



                      Chet Ogan

                      Work: cogan@... 707-825-2952
                      Home: chet_ogan@... 707-442-9353
                      Cell:
                      707-496-9001
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