Major online survey launched to assess the 'economics of rarity' in birding


Researchers from the University of Kent and the University of East Anglia have launched a new study aimed at better understanding the behaviour of UK twitchers.

In particular, the group is trying to learn what economic value is placed on vagrant birds when people go to great lengths to see them. In order to do this, they are teaming up with bird news services to make contact with those people who are most keenly focused on seeing rarities in Britain. The researchers hope that the study could provide insights into the economic value of rare species and so help make a case for their conservation. This comes after a US study found that a large-scale twitch in Pennsylvania contributed an incredible US$223,851 to the economy.

The distance most British twitchers would travel for a Red-flanked Bluetail has decreased somewhat in recent years, but what if this had been a Siberian Blue Robin?

Dr David Roberts, from the University of Kent, commented: "Launching a large-scale survey like this gives us the potential to gain insights about the economic behaviour surrounding birding. Since birders are such a unique community in terms of spending significant amounts to see particular species we’re excited to find out what effective value is being placed on species, but overlooked in terms of their conservation.

If you consider yourself a twitcher, the team would be very grateful if you could spend 10 minutes completing the survey. All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence and at no point will the details of any individual respondent be made public. To ensure this, the survey has been designed so that it can be completed anonymously."

If you would like to participate in the survey, please click on link that corresponds to the last number of your year of birth:

0-1: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/Twitcher-Survey-Online-January-2018-Version-1
2-3: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/Twitcher-Survey-Online-January-2018-Version-2
4-5: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/Twitcher-Survey-Online-Draft-January-Version-3
6-7: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/Twitcher-Survey-Online-January-2018-Version-4
8-9: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/Twitcher-Survey-Online-January-2018-Version-5

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team. You can email either I.M.Fraser@kent.ac.uk or D.L.Roberts@kent.ac.uk.