What are birds worth?
Birds are very visible and popular animals with a huge public following. Approximately 63 million Americans watch birds and spend over $20 billion on bird-related activities and materials every year! Birds also support people. In the U.S. in 1991, there were more than 190,000 people employed in bird-related jobs.
Bird Conservation magazine documents the fact that birds are big business. In 1991, five states generated more than one-quarter of a billion dollars in retail sales related to the non-consumptive use of birds. California topped the list with $623 million in retail sales. And, while birds may not pay taxes, bird-related recreation generates tax revenue--$516 million in federal income tax and $306 million in state sales tax in 1991 alone.
The number of bird hunters is decreasing, but waterfowl and game bird hunters still spend huge sums each year. In 1996, hunters spent almost $1.3 billion dollars on travel and equipment to hunt migratory birds, such as doves and waterfowl.