Last week I offered some suggestions on donating to conservation organizations to help out these important groups during this season of giving. Many of these organizations are hurting this year due to the cancellation of so many revenue-producing programs.
This week, I’ll offer some tips on getting more traditional holiday gifts for your birder. A gift list for birdwatchers has to start with optics. Technically, no equipment is needed to go birdwatching. You can simply head to the woods or look out your window and scan for birds. Realistically, however, you need a few essentials, namely binoculars and a field guide. If you have a budding birdwatcher on your list, an inexpensive pair will likely suffice. More experienced birders will appreciate better-quality optics.
With optics, as with most things, you get what you pay for. A $15 pair of binoculars will serve you just fine, but a $150 pair will seem like a different world. A really great pair of binoculars will set you back hundreds of dollars, but they will last forever. (At least they’d better at that price.) Spotting scopes run the gamut in price as well, starting at around $50 and going into the thousands of dollars. As a fan of duck watching, I will say a good spotting scope is an invaluable tool.
With apps taking over everything these days, including field guides, it’s always a nice treat to unwrap a good bird book. There are tons of bird books out there, new and old, and all are worth reading. “Birdwatching in New Hampshire” by Eric Masterson is a good one to get for your Granite State birdwatcher. One of these years I’ll be able to put my own book on the list of must-have gifts. I just need to write it first.
There are also tons of specialty field guides that focus on a particular family of birds, such as warblers, raptors or waterfowl. There are a few good birdwatching magazines out there. That’s a gift that will be repeated monthly throughout the year. I suggest Northern Woodlands, which is published in New Hampshire.
Bird feeding has increased in popularity this year due to the pandemic-caused quarantine. Feeders are always a fun gift to receive — or buy for yourself.
There are other birding gifts, of course, such as apparel, tree ornaments, decoys and wildlife art. Be creative and have fun choosing the right gift. Your birder will love it.
Happy holidays everyone.