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Endangered Species: Greater Sage Grouse
Endangered Species: Kirtland's Warbler
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Watching the Wild

The next time you peer out the window, snap a picture, or visit a park, consider yourself part of the country’s growing community of wildlife watchers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently published the results of its latest survey on how many people feed, watch, photograph, maintain habitat, and visit wildlife, and found that the number continues to grow. Whether it was gazing through binoculars from their homes or when on the road, nearly a third of Americans 16 years or older—about 71 million people—engaged in some kind of wildlife-watching activity in 2006, up 8 percent from 2001, when the most recent survey was done. (Note: Trips to the zoo, circus, aquarium, and museums do not count as wildlife watching; neither does hunting or fishing.) The agency started conducting recreational surveys in 1980 and updating them every five years. It credits much of the growth in wildlife recreation to the number of people who observe mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and insects. Birds were especially popular: Nearly 50 million people said they were taking a closer look at our feathered friends.—Susan Cosier

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