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Researcher Terry Rich launches survey of American birders

Birdwatchers at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Pennsylvania. Photo by George Sheldon/

A longtime contributor to BirdWatching and its predecessor Birder’s World is conducting a survey of American birders through June 15, and he needs your help. (Sorry to our friends in Canada and elsewhere; this research focuses on birders in the U.S. However, a similar survey of Canadian birders is under discussion.)

Terry Rich
Terry Rich

Terry Rich is the former national coordinator for Partners in Flight. He is a board member of the American Birding Association and Great Basin Bird Observatory and an honorary lifetime member of the American Ornithological Society. From 1992 to 2000, Terry was national Migratory Bird Program Coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management.

His articles for us have run the gamut. In our August 2016 issue, Terry wrote about how the Migratory Bird Treaty Act could finally become an effective tool for conserving birds. (That was before the Trump administration rolled back the law’s protections.) More recently he described a campground in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest – a top spot to look for the state’s endemic Cassia Crossbill. He has also written about sage-grouse, forest fires, and about what he called the seven stages of being a birder.

Terry is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Policy from Boise State University. His research zeros in on the interests and behaviors of birders in the U.S. That is why he has launched this survey.

“There is a serious disconnect between birder interests, needs for bird conservation, and public policies for bird conservation in the United States,” he says. “An estimated 45 million Americans feed and/or watch birds. At the same time, 233 species of birds (22% of all native species) need conservation action. To better respond to evolving public values and bird conservation needs, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of birders. Through my PhD research survey, I’m interested in discovering the link between the attributes of individual birders and the type of bird conservation action they take. Results will be used to improve public policies for bird conservation.”

Participants’ answers are anonymous and will be kept confidential. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. Obviously, if you have already taken the survey, don’t do so again. If you have not, however, please click here to begin.

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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and You can reach him at

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