"A federal study indicates one of every five U.S. citizens was involved in birdwatching during 2006, contributing $36 billion to the nation's economy," says the UPI. Oh yea? Bullshit. Saw a bird, maybe.
Ass-covering fineprint from the study (PDF):
All data presented here are from the wildlife-watching section of the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR). It is the most comprehensive survey of wildlife recreation in the United States. Overall, 11,300 detailed wildlife-watching interviews were completed with a response rate of 78 percent. The Survey focused on 2006 participation and expenditures by U.S. residents 16 years of age and older.
In 2006, there were 48 million birdwatchers or birders, 16 years of age and older, in the United States-about 21 percent of the population. What is a birder? The National Survey uses a conservative definition. To be counted as a birder, an individual must have either taken a trip one mile or more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds and/or closely observed or tried to identify birds around the home. Thus, people who happened to notice birds while they were mowing the lawn or picnicking at the beach were not counted as birders. Trips to zoos and observing captive birds also did not count.
Backyard birding or watching birds around the home is the most common form of bird-watching. Eighty-eight percent (42 million) of birders are backyard birders. The more active form of birding, taking trips away from home, is less common with 42 percent (20 million) of birders partaking.