Backyard Chirper

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White-Tailed Eagles raise about $12 million annually

One of the themes continuously explored on this blog is the economic importance of birds.

For example, a few months ago, I wrote about how birds are economically important in terms of protecting valuable crops from intrusive insects and weeds.

Now, a recent study pointed out that the White-Tailed Eagle brought in millions of dollars in tourism money to an island in Scotland, according to BBC News.

The study surveyed 1,200 people who visited Mull, an island in Scotland, and found that a quarter of them said the eagle was a significant factor in bringing them to the island. Then, through economic modeling, they estimated anywhere between £5 million and £8 million (roughly $8 million and $12.8 million) were spent because of the eagle’s lure. Tourism from the birds is also estimated to support 110 jobs.

Those numbers were up from 2005 when the eagles brought in £1.4 million and 366 jobs.

White-Tailed Eagles, which are very close relatives to the Bald Eagle, became extinct in most parts of Europe a few decades ago because of hunting.

The majestic birds are known as “flying barn doors” due to their broad wingspan of about 8 ft. and mainly brown body.

White-Tailed Eagles are such a big draw because they’re being reintroduced to Europe in selected areas, including Mull. As a result, people are interested in seeing these rare birds take flight and go about daily activities.

One of the great outcomes of this study is the realization by the UK that conservationism has positive effects not only for birds and nature, but for the economy. It shows that there are monetary reasons to support environmental protections.

Hopefully this will also be an incentive and eye-opener for the US federal government’s effort on conservationism of birds.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.