Gifts for the Birder on Your List
Nature Gifts for Bird Lovers at Christmas or Any Special Occasion
Are you looking for a holiday gift for the bird watchers on your list? If so, then you've come to the right place. We are nature lovers and have gathered suggestions for some great gifts that we, birders, would like to receive.
We have featured our favorite guide books, binoculars, cameras, apparel, feeders, nest boxes and more. There are also links to other pages with more great gifts for nature lovers that would be just right for your favorite birder for Christmas or any holiday or special occasion.
We Love Birding
We have been birders for over 30 years, probably longer. Since we were both children we spent most of our free time outdoors observing nature's fantastic creatures. I would tromp around the hills and dales on our ranch in north Louisiana and Al would spend the day in Audubon Park at the zoo, the lagoon and the hatchery.
Birds are such fascinating creatures that they soon became our favorite animal to observe. When we married and bought our first house, we put up bird feeders and baths and began to plant trees, shrubs and flowers that would provide food and nesting sites for the songbirds in our area. Before we knew it, we had created a backyard wildlife habitat that attracted a variety of permanent residents and migrants. Our life list grew and many of the more unusual sightings were in our own backyard.
Most birders feed the birds and many like to garden for them as we do. Birding is a hobby that you can enjoy during all stages of your life, from childhood on through your elder years.
Bird Watchers and Photographers
Any birder would be thrilled with a good pair of binoculars. I prefer straight line ones that are medium priced. My bird watching is in the forests and from the windows of my home. Since I watch hummingbirds and birds at the feeder, I prefer binoculars that perform well from 4 or 5 feet away as well as at a distance. My old Bushnell SLC 8x42 and the newer 10x42 have served me well.
Binocular Harness Strap
This is a great design. I love how it holds the binoculars close to the body so they are at the ready. The harness allows you to bend over and move around without having to grasp them with one hand. You can even garden while wearing your binoculars.
For bird photography, you need a camera with a minimum of 12x optical zoom and higher is better. We used a Canon PowerShot S5IS to take most of the photographs on this page.
We upgraded to the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black) It has a 50X optical zoom and just love it. The SX50 is an excellent camera. It's light enough to hold in one hand and has an automatic motion stabilizer. The macro and the zoom are fantastic and it's reasonably priced. We also have a Canon PowerShot SX60 which takes very large photos that can be enlarged to poster size prints.
See how you do on the Bird Song Hero song learning video below. Not a birder? Well give it a try.
Birders Love Books
Good Bird Guides
I have two favorite bird guides. Sibley is one of them. I like it for the descriptions and also the accurate drawings. This one covers the birds in the United States. There are also smaller guides that cover the east or the west.
Take it from me, birders can't have too many different guide books. Each one is unique. The Kaufman guide is another of my most favorite.
Many people specialize in a certain kind of bird, such as hummingbirds so there are many guides and other books written just about these winged jewels. Wildlife gardeners may enjoy Nancy Newfield's Hummingbird Garden book.
Sheri Williamson has written an excellent guide to North American hummingbirds. Descriptions are accurate and thorough and the photos detail several points of identification for each species of bird. This is one of my favorites.
Gifts to Improve Bird Habitat
Many people create wildlife gardens. Gardening for birds will bring the birds to you. Creating a habitat for birds and other wildlife adds another layer of enjoyment to your yard. Stokes Bird Gardening is one of the many books available that will help you plant the things that birds need to thrive.
The video below gives ideas about how to create a bird habitat.
Water Features and Good Feeders
Solar Birdbath Fountain
Fountains that are powered by the sun are more earth friendly and energy efficient. The sound of running water attracts birds to the source. This attractive birdbath can be used by small and large birds alike.
Squirrel Buster Standard 5"x5"x21.5" (w/hanger) Wild Bird Feeder with 4 Metal Perches, 1.3lb Seed Capacity
This Brome feeder is squirrel proof and also has a special perch for Cardinals. We have had one of the tube style for many years. It withstood attacks by squirrels and even chewing raccoons and still operates well. One trick we learned is to use safflower seeds instead of sunflower. The birds love them, but the squirrels and raccoons don't.
Bluebirds are permanent residents. During winter they gather in groups and feed on holly and other native berries. In late January, here in the south, the males begin to search for a nesting cavity. In the north, groups of bluebirds will seek shelter in nest boxes.
Spring Eastern Bluebird
Bluebird Nest Boxes
When buying bluebird boxes it is important that the dimensions and the hole size follow the specifications of the North American Bluebird Society. The house should also have a monitoring and clean-out door. The front should have no perch and the roof should overhang the front to provide shade and to act as a predator guard. A predator guard on the pipe or post is also needed if you have cats, raccoons or snakes in your area.
A hummingbird garden is filled with nectar-rich plants that bloom all through the year. A source of water is also a necessity as are nesting sites. Seeds and flowering plants are good gifts for birders who are maintaining hummingbird habitat.
Don't forget about the hummingbirds. In the Southern U.S. species such as Rufous, Black chinned and broad-tailed spend the winter. We leave our hummingbird feeders up year-round. I have twice as many Perky Pet feeders so that I can just exchange a batch to clean them. The newer pinch-waisted ones have an ant moat and a bottle with a wide mouth for easy filling and cleaning. Humzinger also makes a good one that holds a lot of sugar/water solution and is easy to fill and clean.
Art and Photographs for the Home
Nature Calendars - Beautiful and Useful
Beautiful nature calendars are a gift that can be appreciated throughout the year. I've found some of the most beautiful and unique on the web at print-on-demand shops. These calendars can be customized and personalized in every way - the year, special dates, styles, even the photos.
Hummingbirds of Louisiana Calendar
What gift would you like to receive?
© 2008 Yvonne L B