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Being Birder-Friendly: What is birding/birdwatching?

In this second in a series of articles drawing from the Birder-Friendly Business Program (first article), we discuss birding and bird-watching. We mentioned talking about "Birders as Clients" in this installment, but decided to discuss more about birding/birdwatching before moving on to marketing.

Understanding aspects of bird-watching can help a business connect with their bird enthusiast clients. In the last article, we discussed the impact an pervasiveness of bird-watching in North America. Here we'll talk about what exactly birding is, and some of the motivations of birders.

At it's base, birding is simply the act of viewing wild birds. Bird enthusiasts have differing levels of enthusiasm and commitment. Many draw a distinction between "bird-watching" (often described as the casual observance of birds, usually at birdfeeders) and "birding" (associated with those more dedicated to viewing birds, including taking trips exclusively to view birds). For the purposes of this article, we'll use the term birders to refer to all bird enthusiasts.

Birding is appealing to many because birds are beautiful, easily observed, and occur almost everywhere. Bird identification presents a fun challenge, gets them to visit interesting natural habitats, and can be a social activity.

There are over 900 bird species in North America, half of which can be seen in North Carolina. Birders often keep lists of the species they have seen and go to great lengths to see new species, and setting goals to see all the birds that occur on the each continent, country, state, or county. The eBird website is a popular way to store and keep track of bird sightings electronically, and also allows others to see which species have been seen in an area recently. Sightings of rare species will often attract birders to an area, and local clubs will often maintain "rare bird alerts" to keep other birders informed.

If you want to learn more about birding, there are many resources online to help identify birds, and tips on how to bird responsibly.

In the next article, we'll discuss ways to make your business more attractive to birders. If you have any real-world experiences to share marketing to birders, please let us know and we'll include it in the next post!

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