As we ready ourselves for 2024, there is a daunting obstacle course we must face before a firework-filled date change. This challenging gauntlet is filled with exuberant aunts, ecstatic grandparents, and long-lost relatives. It is... the holiday season. And, of course, with the holiday season comes an annual gift-giving that can be overwhelming. Luckily for you, our yearly guide can offer some ideas for upping your bird-themed gift-giving.
A BUNDLE of joy
What is better than a single bird-themed gift unwrapped during the holiday season? A bundle of gifts to spark a lifetime of the joy of birds! But what collection of items can inspire a neverending love of wild birds? A grouping to answer that call should include a gift to LURE the birds, a present to SEE the birds, and finally, a boon to IDENTIFY the birds.
Lure the birds
Perhaps the most common location for the ignition of an unending bird joy is found in the backyard. In fact, surveys suggest the origin story for many birders and bird-feeders was written at the home of a friend or family member. So, this holiday season, bundle the perfect introductory bird feeder with a squirrel-resistant pole. As a birder and ornithologist with a yard full of feeders, the only feeder that has yet to yield its space to another option is the Birds Choice Fly-Thru feeder made from environmentally friendly recycled plastic. I keep this feeder mounted atop the Complete Bird Feeder Pole Set that arrives ready with flanges and an anti-squirrel and anti-raccoon baffle. As you can see in the following photo, this feeder is sturdy, and all birds, big and small, will partake in its offerings. Your giftee will love and appreciate it for years.
See the birds
Attracting birds to a comfortable spot is the crucial first step in our holiday bundle idea. The next measure involves enhancing the view of the new stunning visitor for your loved one. A lasso is an ineffectual tool (and highly illegal) to offer a close-up image, so bringing the bird closer is not a viable option. Instead, improve the vision of your present-receiver through the use of some quality optics. Birds Choice carries the Vortex brand of optics, a favorite of mine that consistently ranks within the top three optics for birding. While the 8x42 binoculars are generally a favorite among birdwatchers, a pair of small 8x32 Diamondback optics are the premium fit for enjoying birds in your backyard. (They fit nicely on a window sill.)
Identify the birds
The birds have arrived. The birds have been seen. But to truly appreciate something, we often have to understand it. This is where identification comes in. While nothing can beat taking a bird ID course or learning from a mentor, having a pocket-sized guide for common feeder birds of North America cannot be easily dismissed. I prefer the Cornell Lab of Ornithology guides, with regional focuses. These guides are worth every penny, and this author owns several. These easy-to-use booklets offer a great connection to allaboutbirds.org and the Merlin app, two boundless resources for all new birders.
Love the birds
You cannot trick anyone into loving birds. It is simply not possible. (Nor is it the way.) However, you can help guide their journey down the path laden with birds. While this bundle is not a guarantee to birth a birder, offering peak levels of accessibility may present the best opportunity.
And THAT... is a great present.
SPREAD holiday cheer
Many of us pack on pounds during the holiday season. Those extra calories help us deal with colder temperatures. (That is the only reason I get the second piece of pecan pie.) Birds are no different! During the colder months, foods with extra fats can help up the calorie consumption required for warm-bodied organisms. Last year, I SPREAD the word about offering suet to our favorite birds. This year, try gifting the fashionable Brazilian walnut Leaf-shaped spreadable suet feeder that is constructed of 95% recycled plastic and made in the USA. This novel suet feeder does not use the standard suet brick. Instead, users generously apply spreadable suet across the leaf's surface and edges. Be wary! Birds will feast upon this highly desired food source! Ensure you provide a healthy stock of the suet spread by gifting an eight-pack of suet jars. The birds will be full of cheer after feasting. (They will be full of fat, too.)
Spread the SEEDS of happiness
If your friend list is already full of fellow birdwatchers, they might already be stocked up on feeders, optics, and way too many field guides. There is something that all of those friends will be running out of during the winter, though. Birdseed! Birds Choice has more options than the typical hardware or big box store, and the options available are uniquely suited for various birds and purposes. For example, the Spicy Signature bird feed can help deter squirrels and other small mammals. Or if your friends and family want more robins, wrens, and bluebirds, a couple of bags of mealworms can attract some less common feeder visitors. Birds Choice has the seeds (or bugs) to maximize our backyard birds. Spread some happiness by spreading the gift of bird seed!
A GIFT that keeps on giving
We cannot all be filled with maximum gifting creativity every year. Sometimes, especially for a picky bird nerd, we need a gift that simply cannot go wrong. This is where the Birds Choice Gift Card can present itself, shining like a distant star. There are four options for these digital gift cards, ranging from $25 to $200. If you are scrambling at the last minute, struggle to mail packages, or just need a simple solution, this is the gift for you. Well, not for you. It is for you to give. Unless you want to give yourself a gift this season. Which I fully support.
We three gifts of under $50
Sometimes, we have to tighten our belts during the holiday season and keep to a tight budget. With the price of a 50 lb sack of black oil sunflower seed, who can blame us? For those needing to be an economical elf, I proffer three gift options under the $50 price mark. First, let's consider a gift that provides joy for humans and creates a stable living environment for generations of birds to be hatched and fledged from! The Spruce Creek Wren House is perfect for almost any North American yard, as wrens, chickadees, and others will use this cozy little birdhouse. Next, I suggest a protective hanging feeder cover that can keep birds, feeders, and seeds dry during rain and snowstorms. These covers are decorative, add a splash of color, and prolong seeds' longevity, preventing wasted feed due to excess moisture. For all smaller-sized feeders that lack a roof, these covers are a MUST. Your favorite bird lovers will appreciate such a tasteful yet fashionable prize. Finally, for those giftees with the ability to host year-round birdbaths, I recommend wrapping up an agitator. And no, I do not mean to tie a bow around an unpleasant boss or executive á la "Christmas Vacation." The agitator I recommend helps create movements in still water birdbaths, enticing more birds to take a sip or a dip. These little devices create ripples through a wiggling motion and can run for months without needing batteries or recharge.
That’s a WRAP
We cannot stuff wild birds into boxes, wrap them in cellophane, use too much Scotch tape, and slap a bow on the top. It simply is not allowed. Instead, I recommend sharing your passion for birds with friends and family the new-fashioned way. (The old-fashioned way would have involved shooting all the birds.) Of course, this season is not all about gifts, presents, and shopping. So please, this holiday season, share your love of birds in whatever way you can, even if it means inviting a friend for coffee and watching feeders. Let's share our birds and share our love.
From all of us at Birds Choice, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, a Happy Boxing Day, and a happy holiday season!
Author's Note: I sincerely thank you for joining me for another year of articles with Birds Choice. Writing these stories is an outlet for me to share my knowledge, joy, and creativity, and I greatly appreciate this opportunity. Your support of Birds Choice helps birds AND bird people like me. Thank you, and I hope you will join me again in 2024.