Re: [CALBIRDS] Per/capita birders by state; California 2nd to last
- 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
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94613
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
> 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
> D. Roberson
> Pacific Grove "America's Last Hometown" [yes, City Hall actually has
> that motto].
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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!
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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!
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
- 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.
Work: cogan@... 707-825-2952
Home: chet_ogan@... 707-442-9353