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Birding proves popular in United States

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Steve Williams said nearly one in five Americans is a bird watcher. Many of them simply feed birds — and observe them — in their back yards.

A federal economic report estimated that 46 million birdwatchers across America spent $32 billion in 2001 pursuing their hobby.

The study was the first of its kind and analyzed data from the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

Wisconsin, with an estimated 41 percent of its citizens considered birding enthusiasts, trailed only Montana (44 percent) and Vermont (43 percent) as a percent of total state population.

To be considered a bird watcher, an individual must take a trip a mile or more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds or must closely observe or try to identify birds around the home.
— Kevin Naze, Press-Gazette correspondent
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