Economic Benefits of Designation

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!

Northern Hawk Owl at Casey's (c) Ann Johnson