Arizona Birdwatching Booms
The US state of Arizona, in the arid southwest of the country, has begun to spawn a tourism industry based around birdwatching, drawing ardent enthusiasts from around the world. "It's one of the two or three best places in the United States to look for birds," said David Pashley of the American Bird Conservancy. "Arizona makes a lot of money off of bird-watchers going down to the southeast corner of the state." One of the best-known birding destinations is the southeastern city of Sierra Vista, which hosts the annual Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival. The Aug. 3-6 festival, in its 20th year, typically draws thousands of participants. Arizona is such a great place for birdwatching because of the variety of Mexican species not found anywhere else in the USA that often cross the nearby border – despite the fact that arid, desert-like Arizona is often not thought of as a haven for birds. Arizona birding generated $838 million in trip-related spending in 2006, bringing about $1.2 billion in revenue into the state.