Whether they have been naughty or nice, backyard birders, like anyone else, think they deserve at least one expensive gift, whether it’s during the Holidays or on any other special occasion.
Starting at the top of the Extravagance List yet providing excellent value is a Birding Trip. Birding trips allow the birder to visit exotic locations to be shown birds they have only dreamed of seeing. Locations on any birder’s list include San Padre Island in Texas, or further afield to Mongolia, Costa Rica, Belize or Peru. Birding trips in the US or overseas are run by private tour groups and conservation organizations. Some of the best trips (based on destination, accommodation and leadership) are put on by the Massachusetts Audubon Society (www.massaudubon.org).
Next on the list is Optics. A budget of over $1,000 but under $5,000 will buy a first glass pair of binoculars or a telescope. Expensive, comfortable and well balanced binoculars with 8 to 10 times magnification and a superb set of lenses will bring a life time of excitement for a birder. Similarly, a world class telescope with most importantly, a world class sturdy but lightweight tripod is essential to any birder’s tools for viewing birds that in large open areas such as on water or in prairies.
If the backyard birder lives in an area known for purple martins, in other words, near a body of water and near open fields, then an elaborate purple martin nesting system makes a great gift. A suitable set up includes a purple martin house, a mounting pole and accessories for lifting and raising the box, cleaning the houses and ensuring their stability under harsh climatic conditions.
Lastly, a handsome gift certificate to The Bird Shed would be very well received, especially in this house!