Percentage of birders in Australia

To: "Rosemary Royle" <>
Subject: Percentage of birders in Australia
From: "Dave Torr" <>
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 07:45:08 +1100
Thanks for some insight - of course both our main organisations (and
probably many of the smaller ones as well) also see themselves in
conservation and have been and are involved in habitat management - although
to a much lesser extent than the RSPB obviously.

Again it comes down to the definition of birder and I think that whatever
the criteria Aus has probably a lower participation rate than many places -
although I was in Korea on business last year and met a birder who reckons
there are 6 serious birders in Seoul!

On 18/02/07, Rosemary Royle <> wrote:

A quick note from the UK - beware of taking the numbers of people who
belong to the RSPB as a measure of the number of birders. The RSPB is not a
"birding club" - it is a bird conservation organisation and one of its prime
functions is to acquire and manage habitat as reserves. These reserves are
usually managed to make them very accessible to visitors, and provide a good
day out for anybody more-or-less interested in birds. The annual membership
fee is not large and provides free access to many reserves, and a good
glossy magazine, so membership has a financial benefit. Many RSPB members
would not describe themselves as birders.

The RSPB also runs local groups, which are much more like clubs, but again
are not really aimed at the serious birder - more the "garden birdwatcher".

"Serious birders" often do not belong to clubs at all (many do not even
belong to the RSPB which is pretty disgraceful), or belong to local clubs.
For instance, we belong to the Pembrokeshire Bird Club (though this is a
recent thing for us, not being very clubby people). But these clubs are
finding it difficult to keep up membership, for all the reasons mentioned in
previous mails. Basically you no longer need to go to a club to find out
what's going in the area, which you probably did have to do only 10 years

In the UK we also have the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) with 13,
000 members. This organisation carries out a huge amount of scientific
fieldwork, principally using volunteers. However, many of the volunteers who
do the survey work are not members so the membership figures are again not
really useful!

In summary I would say that there is indeed a high level of general
interest in birds in the UK, and in wildlife and conservation issues in
general, but there are probably not as many serious birders as the figures
might suggest.

Rosemary Royle

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