Interest in Bird Watching On the Rise as Americans Head Outside
As coronavirus restrictions continue, Americans are forced to recognize things they may not have been paying attention to before. Bird watching is one category that has seen a spike as people have the time and the opportunity to head outdoors and take up a new hobby. Many Americans have personally noted their own interest in bird watching, but the numbers don’t lie either.
Downloads of the National Audubon Society’s bird identification app in March and April doubled compared to this time last year, and unique visits to its website are up by a half-million. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in has also seen downloads of Merlin ID, a free bird identification app, increase by over 102% compared to last year. Additionally, Cornell’s live bird cams are seeing more visitors than ever. Retail sales have shown a 10-15% increase in the birding category, including bird feed, compared to this time last year.
So is it just boredom that’s getting people on to this new hobby? Some might say yes, but it’s also the ideal time of year to look for birds. Spring time is when birds are most active, being loud, migrating, building nests, and laying eggs, giving bird watchers an ideal show.
Those who were interested in bird watching and part of bird watching groups before the pandemic are finding this time to be a little more difficult and unusual in how they’re tracking birds. While bird watching groups would normally get together over the weekends to seek out new birds or go on extended vacations to new places to see new birds, these events have been postponed or have changed to virtual meetings to encourage social distancing.