Published in Ecological Economics, Volume 189, November 1, 2021.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107174.
Feeding backyard wildlife has impure public good characteristics - it provides satisfaction to humans, both private and public, while also improving bird populations. We document a surge in human interest in connecting with wild birds during lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Using an event-study design, we find large increases in bird engagement began soon after the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns in Spring 2020. Responses were stronger for areas with more bird species. Investments appear sustained, beginning first with bird feeders, then seed and finally baths. Beyond bird survival, bird feeding can potentially enhance humans' connection to nature and improving human well-being. Increases in bird engagement in response to lockdowns may have been good for humans and good for birds.
© 2021 The Author(s).
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