Audubon NY touts business benefits of birding

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Audubon New York is spreading the word about how birders help local economies.

The group has launched a campaign that will distribute calling cards for bird-watchers to hand out at restaurants and other businesses. The idea is to show businesses and tourism agencies how much money is spent by people traveling to see birds.

The cards feature the slogan, "Birds mean business." On the back, birders are supposed to write their name and contact information.

Audubon spokesman Sean Mahar says the cards will encourage communities to develop events and programs designed to attract birders.

Hamilton County has taken the message to heart, hosting the annual Adirondack Birding Festival. Officials say birders make up about 5 to 7 percent of the county's tourists.