Birdwatching is a great way of combining recreation with education, and can become a bonding team activity for the entire family, or a group of friends. However, if you want to bring other people into the fold of birdwatching you better set them up with proper equipment.
If you already know a long-time bird-watcher enthusiast, they could always benefit from a practical gift. After all, proper birdwatching hobby requires a lot of maintenance. Here are some good gift ideas for bird-watchers that should cover all your bases.
Like all living creatures, birds flock to where there is a regular supply of food. A bird-watcher wants to observe birds from the comfort and security of their backyard, and the birds want to eat, especially when they are trying to feed their young. A win-win situation for everybody!
Still, not every bird feeder is created the same, and the price is not even the biggest factor involved. It may seem counter-intuitive, but feeders made out of wood are not your best choice, because they will not last long under the sun. They will crack and blacken under the onslaught of hot sun, and as the seasons change. Trees are living organisms, which have natural defenses against the elements – dead wood doesn’t.
Therefore, if you want to gift someone a bird feeder, it should be made out of recycled plastic. Yes, plastic. We all know how sturdy and long-lasting plastic is, and by buying a product which is made entirely from recycled plastic, you help reduce the negative effects of plastic waste on the environment. The more plastic is in demand for recycling, the less of it will end up in oceans, woods, and parks.
The EcoTough line of bird feeders offers just such an opportunity. Like they say, two birds with one stone!
There is nothing stopping you from watching birds with your own two eyes, but if you are living outside their main living area, you may need some help in augmenting your vision.
Binoculars, for the explicit use for birdwatching, are not the same as your regular binoculars you may have lying around. Birdwatching binoculars would have to have large field of view, not be too bulky, have a single knob for focus adjustment, and have an Image Stabilization feature, especially if they offer higher zoom levels.
You should search the right binoculars for your ideal gift according to these two basic parameters:
- Zoom should be not higher than 8x. The more powerful the zoom the more the slight motion of the hand will be augmented – not a good birdwatching experience! On the other hand, if you opt for the IS feature, it doesn’t matter. Just keep in mind that those are more expensive.
- 40-45mm lenses diameter – to accurately take in all the visual detail your eyes are capable of taking in, even under less than ideal lighting conditions.
In addition to binoculars, you can also pick up eyecups so it is easy to use them with glasses, and a microfiber cleaning kit.
Birdwatching Spotting Scope
You can find compact and cheap binoculars made from very light polymers, but you still have to hold them up to your eyes, which can become exceedingly tiring. Furthermore, if you want even greater magnification, because the birds live far off, even the binoculars won’t do the job.
This is where a spotting scope comes in: huge magnification power, image stabilization by default, and much larger field of view. All the while you can just effortlessly lean in from your comfy chair and observe, losing yourself for hours on end without getting tired.
Don’t worry, you can get one for well under hundred bucks, and you not only get a birdwatching powerhouse, but also a scope for general wildlife viewing. Check out our guide on birdwatching binoculars for beginners for more detailed information.
Solar Birdbath Heater/Fountain
Solar panels are becoming more efficient per surface unit, and cheaper than ever before, so it is no surprise that you can even find bird-related, solar-powered products. If you want to ensure a permanent home for you small flock of birds, in addition to feeders, it would also be wise to include a way to ensure that birdbaths are remaining at optimal temperature – definitely above the freezing temperature.
On top of that, solar-powered birdbath fountains work by scattering sunlight in order to attract more birds to their new source of clean water. These make a great gift for birdwatchers in colder climates.
Just like with solar panels, mini-cameras too have skyrocketed in quality, while decreasing in price. Who said that birdwatching requires a patient and attentive personality?
All you have to do is get a birdhouse cam, set it up, and every time a bird comes in to feed, you get a first seat experience!
There are all sorts of mini-cam solutions, but if possible get one that is solar-powered, has a WiFi connectivity, and has a motion sensor.
Smartphones are perfect for accommodating birdwatching apps, giving you encyclopedic bird knowledge, amazing pictures of every bird under the sun, journal and note taking, maps, and so much more.
Birdwatching has never been easier when you combine it with the flexibility and economic benefits of digital technology. There are a lot of birdwatching apps on the market, some of them free, but for a full, comprehensive package that you can easily gift someone, go for the iBird Pro – compatible with all platforms: Android, iOS, Kindle, and Windows.
Bird Themed Gifts
They can be mugs, plates, blankets, kitchenware, T-shirts, pillows, socks…anything you can think of, just add ‘bird’ at the end and you will find a suitable gift for birdwatching enthusiasts. But make sure that they have their basics covered first, a practical gift that employs some kind of technology is always better than an ornamental gift.
Better yet, you could opt for a problem-solving gift. One issue that frequently occurs is when squirrels take advantage of bird feeders, so they rampage through your entire stock of bird feed without giving birds any chance.
The best option here would be to get either a bungie cord specifically designed for squirrels, so they leave the bird feeders alone, or a weather guard or baffle – a solution that guards the birds both against harsh weather conditions, and against rapacious squirrels.