WORDS ON BIRDS
Gifts Encourage Interest in Birds
November 25, 2017
By Steve Grinley
holiday shopping season has begun, so it must be time for my annual
gift suggestions for the birders in your life. Now that bird
watching is so popular, it is likely that there are some bird
enthusiasts on your holiday list. Or perhaps now is the perfect time
to help someone close to you become more interested in birds.
A gift membership to a conservation
organization will benefit the recipient and the organization alike.
On a local level, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Essex County
Greenbelt Association, Trustees of Reservations, or Parker River
Clean Water Association are all worthwhile investments in the future
of local bird life. Mass Audubon runs many programs and field trips,
such as Wednesday morning birding, which would make unique gifts for
the birder on your list.
that might prefer more tangible gifts, a bird feeder is always a
great gift. A bird feeder can provide hours of entertainment for
young and old alike and it is a great way to introduce most anyone
to nature. Feeders come in all shapes and sizes, from window feeders
to one complete with pole and squirrel baffle. Even if someone has a
bird feeder, they can always enjoy another one. Perhaps a thistle or
suet feeder will expand the number of feathered visitors to their
backyard. If squirrels are of concern - and they usually are - the
Squirrel Buster line of feeders has been the most successful at
keeping squirrels at bay and allowing just birds to feed. They also
help lower the blood pressure of those obsessed with squirrels at
Though spring seems
far away, bird houses help to bring it a little closer. They make
super gifts, especially for those that want bird activity without
the "chore" of filling a feeder. Birds will nest in spring and
summer and they may also use houses in winter for roosting, getting
out of the cold and inclement weather at night.
Screech owls love to roost in boxes and are a thrill for the hosting
family to se the owl sunning itself in the hole during the day!
There are also cute roosting pockets made of straw, sea grass and
other materials, that birds will use for nighttime roosting. Wrens,
chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and other birds will use roosting
pockets and bird houses, and then nest in them come spring.
Perhaps it is time to bring nature closer to someone by gifting a
new pair of binoculars or perhaps a spotting scope. Optics have
improved so much in recent years that you don't need to spend a
fortune to get a crisp, clear view of beautiful birds in the
backyard or the ones in the marshes of Plum Island. A quality pair
of binoculars will enhance the experience of watching a cardinal at
the feeder or a red-tailed hawk soaring overhead. For those who have
good binoculars, a spotting scope would provide a closer view of
that snowy owl on a distant dune or an eagle in the trees across the
Merrimack River. The better the optics, the better the view, but
good quality binoculars and scopes are within most people's budgets
To help identify the birds at
the feeders or through binoculars or scopes, identification guides
are appreciated gifts. One can always use another field guide.
Peterson’s, Sibley’s and the National Geographic guides are the most
popular. Richard Crossley just added a new Waterfowl Guide to his
offering of unique field guides.
general reading, local birder Doug Chickering’s Reflections on a
Golden-winged Warbler will stir any readers interest for birds. Any
of Pete Dunne’s stories of birds or birding are both informative and
entertaining. For children, classics like Owl Babies or Make Way for
Ducklings are always popular, and the more recent On Bird Hill by
Massachusetts author Jane Yolens will be well received.
There are also CD's to learn bird songs and the popular Bird Songs
books have been re-released. These coffee table books have built in
players that play the songs of the birds detailed in each of its
pages. The Bird Song Identiflyer, with cards for learning groups of
birds, remains popular for a simple push-button player to take into
the field for learning the more common birds.
For more general gifts, there are calendars, mugs, pillows and
potholders, towels and bottle stoppers and jig-saw puzzles with bird
motifs. Bird earrings and bracelets, t-shirts, hats and socks are
always popular. Children enjoy bird bingo and memory games and kits
to build bird house and feeders.
gift that helps someone enjoy birds and nature is one that will
surely be appreciated this holiday season and, likely, for years to
Bird Watcher's Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
years of service to the birding community!
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