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20 Days to Open Fire on Native Waterbirds in Victoria


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Around the world, communities are reaping the rewards of revering their birdlife.

In the US, birdwatching is a $41 billion industry. After just ten years, "The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival" has put Northwest Ohio on the International map, with over 90,000 visitors from 52 countries coming to this one area for a week bringing their $40 million with them.

In Columbia, quieting war zones have given rise to locals being able to prosper from birdwatchers who spend up to $400 a day each to go on tours. This "trickles down and benefits many people from the hotels, to the guides to the villagers who cook for them". One farmer set up an observation deck on her modest home making a living out of serving drinks to birdwatchers. Another turned his struggling farm into a birdwatching centre, with 30 birdwatchers paying to visit his farm every day to watch birds feed at his makeshift bird feeding stations.

In Vancouver, birdwatching is "so popular among young people that the Stanley Park Ecology Society is calling their next walk The Rise of The Hipster Birdwatcher". Over 150 young people now attend a single event, equipped with the latest mobile apps to record bird species.

In China, birds "lead poor villages into prosperity" with old villages that used to kill their waterbirds for food, now valuing them another way. Nonggang, bordering China and Vietnam, now needs 18 full time bird tour guides, has 10 accommodation inns and 57 local farming families prospering from nearly 10,000 visitors to this one small town a year.

Australia is blessed with stunning species of native waterbirds, many unique to our country. Sadly, most are on a long term decline, made worse with this year marking one of the worst environmental challenges they have faced in history.

With Australia losing species faster than any other modern country and in Victoria, our small rural towns doing it tough financially, isn't it time we too looked to protect and celebrate our stunning birdlife?

References

  • The Daily Beast 18/1/19 Birding is a multi billion dollar industry

  • The Star Vancouver 5/7/18 Hipster Birdwatchers Bump Bird Enthusiast Stereotype

  • Xinhuanet 29/6/18 Across China, Birds Lead Poor Village into Prosperity

  • DW.com 3/7/28 Can Birdwatching Help Save Columbia's Forests

Picture: Pied Cormorant and Grey Teal, courtesy Eleanor Dilley

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