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Friday, October 08, 2010

ABA Growth Opportunities

I spent a good amount of time last month looking at birding demographics. Here's a chart showing to scale various birding populations in the United States (click to enlarge).

There are various ways to calculate both Audubon and American Birding Association membership, so these should be taken as rough estimates. Either way, you can see that membership in these bird organizations is very small compared to the number of people that are interested in birds, or regularly birding. With 2.4 million adult Americans keeping a life list of birds seen, ABA has huge growth potential just targeting these people.

How does birding membership compare with other groups? Well, there are reportedly 1.1 million duck hunters in the United States. How many of them are members of Ducks Unlimited? 608,154. Over half of all duck hunters are DU members! So, what are the differences between birders and hunters that make it so that half of all duck hunters will join DU, but only a tiny fraction of birders will join ABA? Alternatively, what is it that DU provides its constituency, that ABA isn't providing right now for birders?

Can you imagine an ABA with 500,000 members? Imagine what we could accomplish if 500,000 birders were united in fun and the protection of the wild birds we enjoy!


Alyssa said...

My amateur opinion is that ABA is unofficially for listers and while I keep track of birds I see, I am not driven by listing. I'm a member of Audubon which strikes me as less-competitive. Are these just stereotypes perpetuated by blogs and websites? I've only been a birder for about a year and a half.

Lynn said...

ABA is definitely not just for listers! Many ABA members do not keep lists and are not competitive in their birding. In my opinion, it's for anyone who likes to look at birds and/or likes to encourage the bird-watching/birding habits of birders and birders-to-be. ABA is also for those who like birds and want to meet others across North America who like birds and have away-from-home organized birding opportunities with others. No organization can do it all - I'm a member of ABA and Audubon (and the Texas Ornithological Society). Lynn Barber (ABA board member)

birdchaser said...

There you have it Alyssa! Time to join ABA :-)

Alyssa said...

Thanks Lynn! I do think that the ABA is going to be in the "news" a lot now with Jeff Gordon in place as pres. I am always looking for birding friends, virtual or in real life. I'm going to look into ABA membership again. Especially since I'm in NJ! Thanks guys!

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