Travelling birds generate eco-travellers: The economic potential of vagrant birdwatching

Full citation: 
Corey T. Callaghan, Michael Slater, Richard E. Major, Mark Morrison, John M. Martin & Richard T. Kingsford (2017): Travelling birds generate eco-travellers: The economic potential of vagrant birdwatching, Human Dimensions of Wildlife
Author/s associated with the CES: 
Corey Callaghan
Richard Kingsford

Avitourism is one of the faster growing subsectors of ecotourism, recognized for its economic value. Much of our current understanding of the economic value of avitourism revolves around bird festivals, migration events, or well-known birdwatching sites. Birdwatchers are a diverse group, some of whom competitively seek vagrant birds (i.e., birds outside their normal geographic range). The economic value from these unpredictable and transient birdwatching events remains poorly known. Using the travel cost method in a readily-quantifiable environment, we estimated that a vagrant Black-backed Oriole in Pennsylvania, United States of America, stimulated travel activity valued at about $223,000 USD or about $3,000 per day over 67 days. Some birdwatchers value rare birds, contributing significant time and financial resources to their viewing. Identifying such significant real economic value from avitourism can help to evaluate competing costs in debate over human land-use scenarios.

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