BIRD WATCH: Some standby gifts for bird lovers

THREE OLD STANDBYS top the list for gift-giving bird-watchers or hints for bird-watchers to drop.

They also work as gifts to give when introducing someone to bird-watching. That’s my favorite.

Feeders, birdhouses and bird books are the popular top three.

They can be followed by binoculars and spotting scopes, but these fall into a higher price range.

The list gets really long once you enter the high-tech realm, but when it comes to young and not-so-young techies, this is a great way to go.

When choosing a bird feeder to give to someone for Christmas, there are several things to add to the gift.

Include these as part of the gift and you stand a better chance of them using it and enjoying it. A bag of good bird seed is important. The small black sunflower seeds are the most popular food for many Northwest birds.

If buying mixed bird seed, buy the best mix you can afford. Otherwise, a lot of waste may end up on the ground.

If the person receiving this gift is on the very mature side, offer to install the feeder for them.

Choose a location where the birds are safe and where the feeder can be enjoyed from inside the house or apartment.

Follow these simple steps, and you just may introduce someone to something new and something they will enjoy.

Birdhouses make wonderful Christmas presents. They come in many styles, and it’s important to choose one the birds will use.

This gift also needs some personnel attention.

Help the recipient choose the correct location when it comes to installing the house.

Make sure it is safe from predators.

Face it away from the wind and face the entrance either east or west.

Mount it as high as possible.

This is what cavity nesting birds like the chickadees and nuthatches prefer.

“What is a good bird book?” That is one of the most asked questions I receive.

It is followed closely by another: “What is a good bird book on local birds?”

When it comes to a good local book, my recommendation is “Birds of the Puget Sound Region Coast to Cascades” by Dennis Paulson, Bob Morse, Tom Aversa and Hal Opperman. It is loaded with excellent photographs of each bird.

It is also loaded with helpful information on each bird.

The newest edition came out this past year, and numerous improvements were added to this book.

It was a great local book to begin with and has only gotten better.

It costs $19.95 and is available almost everywhere books are sold. It is also available online at Young people, both students and young adults, approach bird-watching in their own special way.

It has become, for many of them, a competitive sport. They approach it more seriously than you might think and they hone their bird-watching skills to an impressive point.

Knowing a bird’s song or calls, where it might be found and numerous other characteristics are part of what has become bird study.

I think this is great that they are so involved with one of the most rewarding types of outdoor activities. Bird-watching can be a great stress reliever.

When I meet young adults who are working hard to make their way in the world while enjoying the sport of birding, I know it is great for them.

If you are shopping for someone like that, remember that anything tech-wise is second nature to them.

They do make apps for bird-watchers. They cover everything from field identification to bird calls.

If you are like me, a gift certificate may be the way to go in this area.

Shopping for bird-watchers, even potential bird-watchers, is easy. It’s even fun.

Just remember you are shopping for someone else, not yourself.


Joan Carson’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email:

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