If your favorite humans love birds, this IS the list you are looking for (insert Jedi mind trick).
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When I considered how to organize the gifts I am recommending for this season, I sorted them by gift category. Then, within each category, I recommended items based on your bird person's level of interest and/or skill, if it is applicable. I will offer a short description of why I am recommending the item, what skill level I feel it best fits, and a general thought on price and if the gift is worth the price. Sprinkled throughout this article will also be photos of me. And no, not because I'm vain, but to show you that I actually have used or do use the items I am offering as a birding gift recommendation.
If you have questions, use the comment section at the bottom of the article to ask!
Categories of Bird Gifts
FOCUS on the holiday spirit with these binoculars!
These are our recommendations for those who have indecision syndrome. If reading our FULL binocular article does not tell you what you need to know, then pick whichever wobbly goggly best fits your loved one's needs. If you pick off of this list, we cannot guarantee how merry your December will be. You have been warned.
Binoculars for Beginners
The Nikon Monarch M5 is a sleek binocular. Though this ain't no fashion contest, so sleekness does not add to this optic's position in the list. What does place this "noc" in our Christmas list is the durability and optics quality for a reasonable price! Yes, there are cheaper binoculars. And yes, we will recommend them to someone considering this hobby. But if your loved one already has some feeders and a smartphone app, buddy, do not reach for the Celestrons. You need something that will last well over a decade, and Nikon Monarchs are the model to achieve it.
Flocking Thoughts: Depending on where your purchase is made, the cost of these binoculars definitely fits the quality you are receiving. If you do not know where to purchase, you can order this binocular at our helpful link!
Binoculars for Advanced
Would I buy the binoculars I am about to recommend? Nope. BUT... not because they are not worth the money. The Swarovski NL Pure binoculars are absolutely worth every penny. However, I rarely need to use the best glass that money can buy, and I am pretty attached to my old Nikon Monarch binnies from 2011. If these binoculars are within your budget, and you are buying for a hardcore birder, then this is the pinnacle of a birding binocular. Do not be fooled by all the other brands. I leica this brand better. (It's a joke because there is a brand called Leica. But go Swarovski over them.)
If Swarovski were to send me a pair (hint, hint)... I might suddenly retire my sentimental Nikons and frame them in a place of honor next to the "Golden Sibley of Life." Otherwise, my pockets do not floweth over enough.
Price: $$$$$$ - It's a lot. Seriously. If you click on this link, you may wet yourself.
Flocking Thoughts: Are they expensive? Yes. Are they worth it? Yes. But only if you can truly afford them. I am not a smarmy salesperson. I do not try to maximize my earnings by selling you something you cannot afford.
P.S. I have, for 33 years, thought it was schwarmy salesperson. I just learned it is smarmy. And now I want shawarma.
BOOK a new hobby with my favorite bird books!
The title of this section might be misleading. It is about books, not booking trips. My bad! If you want a full breakdown of my favorite birding books, I have you covered. (If you want a breakdown of my favorite birding bookings, join the flock!) Every book listed or linked here is on my bookshelf. No fakery here. Only flocking around.
Bird Books for Beginners
Picking a bird book out for someone interested in birds is a challenge. If they have been interested in birds for a while, they likely own TOO MANY bird books (my poor wallet). If they are very new, they might not like a field guide because they are unfamiliar with it. What do you do?! Buy them a pack of golf balls and tell them to get a new hobby. (Joking!) Give them a Sibley guide. There are three options: North America, East, and West. We recommend the book for all of North America, but it is not great for fitting into a small field pack. I recommend supplementing the complete guide with a region-specific guide.
Flocking Thoughts: If your loved one watches birds at feeders or is very new to birding, you cannot beat these guides. But please, for the love of all that is owly, tell them to read the first section of the guide before trying to use it! It will save all of us a myriad of complaints.
Bird Books for Advanced
Those who have been birding for years do not need entry-level guides to the hobby. Instead, they need one of the many advanced guides that help to identify particular groups of birds, such as gulls, sparrows, waterfowl, shorebirds, pelagic birds, warblers, raptors, or hummingbirds. Of course, guides are all fine and dandy, but if you really want to stand out, you should consider a book that contains all birds of the world. And it is fully illustrated. I have this book, and it is worth every penny.
Flocking Thoughts: Stop. Right this moment. Go to your gift receiver's bookshelf, and make sure none of my recommendations are already on the shelf. If they are, your book may get donated to someone else. Please, just do some research. Do not suffer the heartbreak of double book buying.
AAAAAND, if you actually want to plan a trip instead, I recommend a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I wrote an article on birding there, but I also created a complete ebook to aid you in fully absorbing the birds and other wildlife of the park.
Our Flocking Around calendar is a great Christmas gift!
I am not above begging. Please, please, please buy my calendar. I put a lot of heart, soul, love, and Photoshop into creating these ancient time-keeping devices. You read correctly; I used Photoshop to make these calendars. Why? The birds refused to stand next to a bunch of random numbers! (Ba dum tsh.) Want free shipping? Join the site, leave a comment with your request, and we will send you a little something! (Or order over $75 worth of flocking stuff.)
Note: There are no advanced vs. beginners sections in this category. We assume skill levels are reasonably even with calendars. However, if we are wrong, we recommend this calendar for those with limited experience using a paper calendar. (It's a far more advanced desk calendar than I can render.)
P.S. Calendars are NOT a great Christmas gift for younger groups. Phones do a great job of being a calendar. Stupid phones ruin all the fun. And if someone complains about a calendar gift, give them a flocking glare on par with the front of the calendar.
Capture some holiday spirit with a wildlife camera!
This is the priciest section of this gift guide. However, if you have been staring at cameras for days, I will make it very simple. Bridge cameras make great gifts for those who have not had a camera before. The Sony Alpha 1 is an upgrade over ANY camera available on the market. If you are looking to upgrade your loved one's camera, it is the best there is.
Camera for beginners
Bridge cameras are great for those learning camera use and photography. It is a saturated category and can be overwhelming. However, the Sony RX10 IV is unmatched in the bridge camera market when it comes to focusing speed and image quality. Yes, the Nikon P1000 has more zoom, but too much zoom is not always a strength.
Flocking Thoughts: The juice is worth the squeeze. Unless you cannot afford the squeeze. If that is the case, squeeze the Panasonic Lumix FZ300.
Camera for advanced
I have used the Sony Alpha 1 once. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wowzer. If you can afford it, it is the best camera on the market. Get. It. Its biggest flaw? You will need more image storage space. Of course, you can get unlimited photo storage with a Prime membership. Not a bad combo.
Flocking Thoughts: Who needs a retirement or savings, am I right?! (I make bad choices when sitting at the computer.)
Give a HOT gift... it's coffee.
Need a small but effective gift that will be used daily? Coffee. BUT! Do not just offer regular, old, everyday coffee to your bird lover. Use bird friendly coffee! It protects winter habitat for birds, helps farmers have healthier lands, and does a better job supporting the workers in the industry. I do not like most coffee due to its acidity. The Bird Friendly Guatemalan coffee is the lowest acidity I have been able to find, and the flavor will force your taste buds to bloom!
Price: It costs less than two cups of your favorite boutique coffee. C'mon!
Flocking Thoughts: More people need to get on the Bird Friendly coffee train! Share it far and wide! It is delicious, well-priced, and supports our feathered friends!
Stuff the bird(s)! Grab a new feeder for the backyard!
A bird feeder is always a beloved gift. I prefer platform feeders because all birds can utilize them, both big AND small! Birds Choice makes some of the best feeders, and they are made by removing plastic from the landscape and recycling it into feeders! It is a meaningful AND impactful gift. We love the pole-mounted platform feeder, and we use a squirrel baffle with the segmented pole system.
Hey, now, you're a birder; get your game on, go play!
If you do not like Wingspan, I won't 'Smashmouth' you. (You will only get that joke if you enjoy music from the early 2000s.) But you really should give Wingspan an honest effort. You do not need bird knowledge, but you will undoubtedly pick up some bird knowledge while playing! To pile on, Wingspan Asia was just released, so now there is Wingspan North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia. Yes, there are three expansions available to help keep the game extra spicy!
Deck your halls... with my prints!
We sell photos. Buy them. Please! You can see them all here! These are some of my favorite images from my flocking adventures, and I am adding more every month! Have you seen a photo on the site that you want a print of? Reach out to me!
ZOOM into the holidays with a new scope!
Spotting scopes take the birding game to a new level. A level so far out there that you would need a spotting scope to see it. (See what I did there? OOO! I did it again!) They are pricey, bulky, and burdensome in the field. However, certain aspects of birding cannot be easily achieved without a birding scope. We recommend a proper birding scope to those who are very interested in birding and wish to continue to grow in the hobby.
Spotting Scope for a Budget
I really like most of Celestron's products. I have used their Regal M2 80 scope for eight years, and it stands up to most scopes until you hit the scopes that are in the "used car" price range. The optics are excellent, the price is outstanding, and the build is sturdy. Whenever someone asks me which scope I would recommend that is not top-tier, this is the scope I suggest.
Spotting Scope for Scrooge McDuck
Do you dive into piles of solid gold coins? Did you invent kitten mittens? Were your hands made of diamonds during the GME run? Have you owned Apple stock since the 1980s? Then this is the scope for you! The Swarovski ATX scope with modular objective is not a camera. But it sure is priced like one. Is it better than the Celestron I recommended? Yes. Is it $5,000+ better? Probably not.
Flocking Thoughts: To the moon, apes! (This is a pop culture reference to a period in the stock market where a bunch of casual traders tried to stick it to the corporate investment firms. It's a whole story. But it's hilarious.)
Regardless of which scope you choose, pick a reasonable and sturdy tripod. If you purchase a flimsy tripod, your views through the scope will give the appearance that you are standing on one of those cheesy hotel beds with the $0.25 "magic fingers." (Because... vibrations.)
It's time to STICK together... with my stickers!
Need a cute add-on gift or stocking stuffer for a bird lover? Stickers make a great addition to anything purchased above (except for photos, do not put my stickers on my photos). Or, maybe the birder you are shopping for is only a <$10 friend, even better! Regardless of why you are going this route, I have you covered!
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