13.9 C
Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Birdwatchers – a tern for a better economy

Latest News

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon...

Other News

ALP puts war power reform on the agenda

The Australian Labor Party will hold a public inquiry into how Australia goes to war if elected to government next year.

Rotary Downunder Baton handed over at Byron Bay

The Rotary Club of Byron Bay recently took the Rotary Downunder Baton to the most easterly point of Australia as part of its national journey. As well as being the national celebration of one hundred years of service by Rotary in Australia, the theme for the centenary is 'Rotary says no to domestic violence'.

My own pandemic imaginations

Robert Podhajsky, Ocean Shores Imagination is a powerful mechanism; I must admit I get unsettled with my own pandemic imaginations...

Overcharging and misrepresentation

Josh Scrivener, Palmwoods Three weeks ago I looked online to buy a Bluesfest 2021 ticket. The Google ad directed me...

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration...

Interview with Jean Kittson

Comedian, writer, and social commentator Jean Kittson has the ability to distil complex ideas into commonsense. Jean is one of the national treasures in conversation with Mandy Nolan and Fiona O’Loughlin at No Eggs for Breakfast, a comedic chat themed around life beyond fertility! It seemed remiss not to ask Ms Kittson on her take on the debacle that is federal politics and gender equity.

Aleutian Tern – Photo Wikipedia.

Birdwatchers boosted the NSW economy in December 2017, when hundreds flocked to Old Bar on the mid north coast to watch the Aleutian Tern.

The birds which are not usually found in Australia, attracted hundreds of birders to the relatively remote town, resulting in a significant boost to the economy.

The new report by UNSW scientists – recently published in the Journal of Ecotourism  – estimates that the birders who came to see the Aleutian Terns brought in more than $200,000 in revenue to the NSW economy over about four months.

Aleutian Terns breed in Alaska (USA) and east Siberia (Russia), and usually spend our summer in the North Pacific and parts of Indonesia. To experts’ surprise, they turned up at Old Bar, and on 11 December 2017, Aleutian Terns were photographed using a sandbar that many birders are familiar with for its impressive congregations of shorebirds.

The who’s who of Australian birders

Lead author and UNSW Science PhD student Corey Callaghan says that after word got out to the birding community, the who’s who of Australian birders travelled to see these birds until about the end of March 2018.

‘It was a unique case because there wasn’t just one individual vagrant bird, there were more than a dozen,’ he said.

The study by the UNSW Sydney-led team is the first to quantify the economic impact of a vagrant bird – a species observed outside its normal geographic range – in Australia. It estimates the birders’ activity brought between $199,000 – $363,000 to the Australian economy.

The study comes after a similar study published last year, also led by Corey Callaghan, estimated that a single Black-backed Oriole in rural Pennsylvania resulted in more than $US220,000 revenue for that local economy.

‘I think together, these studies are demonstrating the exceptional pull of vagrant birds to birders, while also showing the real economic potential of these events. They are contributing to local economies around the world all the time,’ said Callaghan.

One of the other authors of the study – Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science – says the untapped potential of these visitors also has implications for much-needed increased conservation funding.

Viewing rare birds

‘We found that birders were generally conservation aware and would be willing to donate up to $30,000 to view rare birds. Often vagrants are in National Parks and protected areas, providing a potential fundraising opportunity,’ he said.

Vagrant bird chasing is just one aspect of the bird watching hobby.

‘The total economic benefits of birders, generally, is much higher,’ said Callaghan. ‘Many birders don’t travel or “competitively” seek out birds; they appreciate them in their local park or bush.’

For example, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, up to $US40 billion dollars per year are spent on watching birds in the US.

‘Ultimately, all birds depend on their habitats and so the benefits to the economy from birdwatching need to be factored in as real contributions, stacked up against development threats that destroy their habitats, such as land clearing,’ said Professor Kingsford.

‘The contribution of biodiversity to the economy is quite clear and needs to be factored in more in the future – at the moment, this is rarely done’.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Common courtesy

Anonymous, Byron Bay First of all, thank you to those customers who did the right thing and wore their masks in hospitality venues on the weekend. However,...

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane blocked drains are the tip...

Electricity ‘fun facts’

Anonymous, Ballina I’m surprised that a part of David Lowe’s online article of March 15 slipped under the fact-check radar (‘Tamara Smith Calls for More Fairness’) in...

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration of women and protection of...