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

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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 1 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
      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 2 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
        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].
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • 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 3 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
          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 4 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
            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 5 of 11 , Jun 6, 2005
              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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