Thursday, December 8, 2011

"You're So Hard to Shop For!"

My family always says, "You're so hard to shop for!" at Christmas time. They are getting better over time (and an Amazon wish list helps). However, for those of you who have birders on your Christmas list and just don't have a clue what to get them, let me give you a hand. I tackled this topic in a 2009 post and that one is still valid, but let me update it here.

First of all, just because the item has a bird on it, doesn't make it the perfect gift. I have received some truly horrid items because of this thought process. Your friend will appreciate the thought, but probably regift the item at the next Chinese gift exchange.

Next, consider the type of birder they are. How old are they? How long have they been birding? Are they a casual birdwatcher or a hard-core birder? There is something for everyone. I don't want to repeat the entire list from the previous year--you can click and read that--but here are some ideas.

Bird people love books and magazines. Even though we can find a lot of information on line and there are a lot of e-zines and blogs, most of us still love a good book and our favorite magazines, especially if they have lots of pretty pictures. I reviewed three good books earlier this year I would recommend: The Atlas of Birds, The Crossley ID Guide and Avian Architecture. If your birder is a more casual backyard birder, consider giving Birds and Blooms or Birdwatcher's Digest.

Consider purchasing a membership in some birding organizations. Some that have magazines associated with the membership include Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Birding Association. The ABA used to be rather snooty, but seems to be trying to reconnect with "regular" birders. These organizations do great things and at the same time, have magazines and programs that appeal to the more serious birder (Audubon reaches across the divide and has articles of interest to birders of all stripes.)

For the person who has everything, consider donating to a bird-related cause. Locally, Wild Bird Rescue would appreciate the support. Your friend may appreciate being a sponsor for one of the Avian Ambassadors, used for educational programs in the community. The Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) continues to expand its preserve network and a donation to the sanctuaries account would be appreciated. Unfortunately, they don't have any sanctuaries in our area, but I have visited some of the ones in east Texas and they truly are birding hot spots. In addition, our state parks are severely underfunded--many are wonderful birding spots. You might consider a donation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation or to our own local Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park.

This year I am on a kick to redo my new yard with more drought-resistant plantings attractive to birds. Consider a gift certificate from a local nursery or a bird-friendly, native plant. Winter is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs.

Between this post and the previous one linked above, you should be able to find lots of birding ideas for your birding friend that will fit any price range.

Good birding!


Traveler Literary Gnome said...

Memberships to new organizations and subscriptions to magazines are always winners in my Christmas stocking! A membership with Smith Farm's Wild Birds Unlimited would be helpful, too.

Penny Miller said...

Amen, Elizabeth.

For the information of other readers, the annual membership for the Wild Birds Unlimited Daily Savers Club is $25 and gets the member discounts on food, gift certificates and free stuff throughout the year.