Almost half of Montana residents (44%) consider themselves birdwatchers, which is twice the national average of 22%. According to the report "Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis," ( 527 KB) no other state has a higher percentage of residents involved in wildlife viewing activities. This report analyzed information from the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation ( 1.1 MB).
Montana has become a destination state for birdwatchers from other areas. They come to see the Lewis' woodpecker and Clark's nutcracker, as they follow in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They come to see prairie birds like the burrowing owl, chestnut-collared longspur and Sprague's pipit. They come to see rare mountain birds like the great gray owl and white-tailed ptarmigan. And they spend money in Montana. In 2001, wildlife viewers (the majority of which are birdwatchers) spent an estimated $350 million in Montana for bird feed, bird feeders, gas, motel rooms, books, and other items related to their sport. In 2001, fifteen million dollars were spent in Montana on bird feeding alone!