In 2006, there were 48 million birdwatchers (birders), 16 years of age and older, in the United States – about 20 percent of the population joining other wildlife watchers in contributing a total of nearly $80 billion to the U.S. economy. They annually account for an estimated $41 billion in trip-related expenditures and equipment purchases, generate a total economic impact of $106 billion, support 666,000 jobs and generate $13 billion in state and federal tax revenues.
20% of all Iowans watch birds, whether just in their backyards or on birding trips. Wildlife-watching expenditures in Iowa were reported to be $868,662,000 in a 2011 report from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, with the majority spent by birders. This is almost twice as much as spent by hunters or anglers in Iowa!
In 2005 this rare visitor from the north, a Northern Hawk Owl, spent more than one month hanging out near this Casey's in Manly. Sometimes it was found right here at the station. Many a birder, in need of gasoline, a cup of coffee, and maybe a snack, helped the store's profits that month! Maybe the next rare bird will be found because someone was drawn to birding in YOUR city? Your local businesses will thank you!