Did you know that birding is the number one sport in America? According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are currently 51.3 million birders in the United States alone, and this number continues to grow!
– Audubon Society
My short answer is, no I didn’t.
Like almost everyone I know, I like birds. I grew fond of ducks, geese and pheasants because I used to hunt them. Now, many years after I put away my shotgun, I like to watch snowbirds at the birdfeeder, and eagles and ospreys soar but I wouldn’t consider myself a true birder.
Birding in Nova Scotia
I guess the most famous attraction for birds in Nova Scotia is the annual eagles watch in Sheffield Mills. A few years ago we went for two Sundays in February and saw the great raptors tearing at chicken parts. Usually they just grabbed their lunch and ate it in the trees just out of camera range. But it was great all the same. One of the best parts of spending a February day in the Valley is going through the hall to see the display of stuffed birds and photographs.
However, this is by far not the only draw for birds in this area. Birders come at different times of the year to watch events that most of us would never notice. For example, the annual shorebird and warbler migration is an annual event for birders as far away as England and the southern United States. Books abound on the subject, many written by Nova Scotia birders like the late Robie Tufts.
Birds Important to Tourism
In fact the government of Nova Scotia has statistics which show that 9% of the travellers to the province in 2006 were birders, which puts the activity above golf, whale watching, cycling and sea kayaking. In all fairness to these other activities the bird watchers did not only come for avian events but our fowl friends did put a lot of money into the province. Here is the full report: Birding as a Tourism Product
So, tip your hat to a jay or chickadee.
*A few eagles have been sen at Sheffield Mills so they might be congregating early this year. For more updates:
Sheffield Mills Eagles Watch: Information and updates on the eagles in Sheffield Mills
Flying Like an Eagle in Eagle Country: author -Jodi DeLong, Editor of The Canning Gazette