November 10, 2008 // Franchising.com // CARMEL INDIANA - During these turbulent economic times, more Americans are looking for easy, inexpensive hobbies they can enjoy while traveling less. For some people, the answer is no farther than their backyard. According to a Department of Interior's National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, more than 41 million Americans are backyard birders, making it the second most popular hobby next to gardening.
"Getting started is simple", according to John Schaust, Chief Naturalist with Wild Birds Unlimited.
"Backyard bird feeding is a great hobby the entire family can enjoy. You can make a game out of identifying different bird species."
The average backyard may be visited regularly by 15 to 20 different bird species. However, a bird-friendly yard can attract up to 60 or more different species. Providing an easy-to-find source of food not only gives birds nourishment, but it also gives them more time to find mates, build nests, raise their young and perform other duties that are key to their survival.
Becoming a bird feeding enthusiast does not have to be an expensive endeavor. A family activity could be to make a bird feeder from items around the home. Take several pine cones from the yard, coat them with peanut butter, and then sprinkle on raisins or unsalted peanuts.
When comparing bird feeding to other varieties of family entertainment, bird feeding is a greener choice that delivers more hours of entertainment. For one evening of entertainment, a family of four (two kids and two adults) can spend about $55 for a movie with popcorn and soft drinks or a few games of bowling with a pizza and soft drinks. With the purchase of a bird feeder, a tree hook to hang the feeder and a bag of bird seed, that same dollar amount can bring several weeks of entertainment to any family's backyard.
Bird feeding is more than a hobby; it's a way to connect with nature and preserve green spaces and help wildlife.
Birds are essential to a healthy ecosystem, and birds' population growth, decline and migration patterns are key indicators of nature's balance.
For more information about bird feeding, visit Wild Birds Unlimited and talk to a Certified Birdfeeding Specialist® or go online at www.wbu.com.
Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit our Web site, and shop online at www.wbu.com.