One in five Americans watches birds, according to a recent item on the Outdoor Wire.
Incidentally, the link to the survey there seems not to work. Try this one.
I would like to think it's true, but I suppose the key term is "watches." It seems unlikely that 20 percent of the population are serious birders, as cool as that would be.
A couple of weeks ago, M. and I camped at a lake on the Pike National Forest with some friends. A bald eagle was hanging around the area--the first one that I have ever noted there, and I usually visit at least annually in June or July.
We all watched it, making us "wildlife watchers." But the woman who pointed it out to me also referred to a great blue heron as a "crane," so it's not like she is a birder.
Speaking of that, my "I wish I had brought a camera" moment this week when M. and I were walking the dogs after supper and saw a great blue heron fly up off the creek to perch at the very tip of a mature ponderosa pine. It looked like a Chinese painting.
The 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Related Recreation runs 168 pages, so there is more to be studied there.