Percentage of birders in Australia

To: "Trevor Hampel" <>
Subject: Percentage of birders in Australia
From: "Dave Torr" <>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 12:18:00 +1100
You are of course correct in that there are many people interested in birds
who do not join clubs. But the fact is that the UK (and to a lesser extent
the US) have a much higher %age of the population in bird clubs than we do.
So are they better at getting the "interested" people to join clubs than we
are? Or are there just a higher %age of people interested?

On 17/02/07, Trevor Hampel <> wrote:

Sean Dooley wrote:

> But then again, my 1999 edition of Pizzey and Knight states on the cover
> that 40,000 copies had been sold. So unless people bought multiple
copies or
> 30,000 visiting overseas birders bought it, the actual figure may be
> than my 10,000 estimate.

Hi Sean and other dedicated birders,

Quoting sales figures of popular field guides and bird books gives a
truer indication of the broader interest in birds than just membership
of clubs and organisations. I suspect that the interest in the beauty
and sometimes the unusual behaviour of birds in parks and gardens is far
bigger than we think. For everyone who purchases a bird book, there
would have to be another nine who are "bird lovers" or "bird observers"
who would not identify with the term "birder" or belong to any club and
not even buy a book about birds.

Sean's comments made me do a quick summary of my friends, acquaintances
and family and I had no trouble coming up with thirty names of people I
know who observe birds from time to time. They all know I am a birder
and will comment to me on birds they have seen, or bird behaviour they
have observed. I often get emails or phone calls asking for help with

So for every person who identifies with the title "Birder" or
"Bird-watcher" there could well be 30-40 people who occasionally observe
birds in their daily lives, especially in gardens but who would not call
themselves a birder as such. These people rarely keep any formal records
of their observations.

Here is a huge, untapped potential membership for our birding
organisations. I suspect that the membership fees are too prohibitive
for those on the fringe. It could be as simple as not being a priority.

From my own experience in blogging about Australian birds (see link
below) over the last 18 months I would estimate that about 90 per cent
of people commenting on my articles would not call themselves birders,
but who are interested in birds ie they are "bird lovers". Then you have
  another group who are looking for information or help because they
have had a close encounter with birds in their garden.

In summary then, I suspect that the true number of Australians who
identify themselves as "birders" would be somewhere between ten and
twenty thousand but the number of people who are aware of our birds and
take a casual interest in them could well exceed 200,000. This is an
untapped resource for programmes such as the Atlas and Birds in Backyards.

Trevor Hampel
Murray Bridge
South Australia

Check out my BLOGS (web logs):

Trevor's Birding - observations and photos of birds at

Trevor's Travels - travels in Australia, Thailand and Nepal at

Trevor's Writing - read some of my writing at

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