Words On Birds by Steve Grinley
Gift Ideas for Dad
June 09, 2023
by Steve Grinley
Father’s Day is a week away and some of you might still be procrastinating over what to get the man. A feeder that deters squirrels is always a good choice as it will help to lower Dad’s blood pressure if he is constantly stressing about the squirrels eating all of his bird seed. Of course, if you get him a feeder that stops the squirrels, Dad might put on a few more pounds from the lack of exercise of getting up and chasing the squirrels away. He also won’t be lifting those bags of seed to fill the feeders as often. But he will be happier.
There are several good feeders on the market that work most all of the time against squirrels. (I never say “never” when it comes to squirrels.) The line of “Squirrel Buster” feeders, which use a weighted system that closes off the food supply when a squirrel gets on, are among the best. They come in different sizes and offer feeders for different seeds that may attract different birds.
One most popular Squirrel Buster in our yard is the Nut Feeder that holds raw split peanuts. We have downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers visiting the feeder regularly. Nuthatches and titmice love it as well. Even blue jays feast from it when there aren’t enough sunflowers and peanuts in our tray feeders. The newest Squirrel Buster for Suet also allows all these birds feed but closes off the suet to any marauding squirrels.
If Dad is particularly frustrated with the squirrels and has some aggression to take out on them, you might consider the pricey Droll Yankees Flipper feeder. The Flipper has a battery-operated motor that spins the perch with the weight of the squirrel throwing it right off. Just think of the hours of entertainment this would provide him (Dad, not the squirrel!)
Perhaps squirrels are not a problem in Dad’s yard, or he has them beat with a baffle on a pole system. Maybe Dad’s life can be made easier by getting him a new feeder that is easier to clean. Several manufacturers are now making feeders that are easier to take apart to clean. Aspects have tube feeders that hold sunflower, mixed seed, or Nyger that all have bottoms that pop right off –no tools, no stress. They provide easy access to the bottom of the tube where mold might form. If you are the one that cleans the feeders, would be gift for Dad that you can both enjoy! And they have a lifetime guarantee.
If feeders are “too much work”, a bird house is a better passive gift that will bring birds into his life. This is nesting season and many birds are in the midst of raising families. Just mount the bird house and watch! Many birds have multiple broods during the summer so there is still plenty of time to attract them to your yard.
If Dad enjoys watching the birds and the bird feeder or bird house is not close to the window or his favorite outside chair, (or maybe is eyes aren’t as sharp as they used to be), you might consider a pair of binoculars to bring those birds closer. Oh, he probably has his father’s old World War II binoculars, which weigh a ton and require each eyepiece to be focused separately. Maybe he even thinks those are good enough. But you can get him a good quality pair of lighter binoculars for not a lot of money these days.
The most popular binoculars come in 8 and 10 power magnification. The full size binoculars are best for watching birds as they let in the most light. Smaller, compact binoculars are lighter and easier for Dad to put in his pocket for hiking, sports or concerts. Most are waterproof – important if Dad likes kayaking or birding in the tropics. Any of them will help Dad see birds closer and more clearly.
As Dad is enjoying watching the birds, he might enjoy sipping some Birds & Beans shade-grown coffee from a mug with his favorite bird on it. He may also like a new t-shirt with his favorite bird or saying on it, or a quick-reference guide to help him to identify that new bird in the yard. Whatever gift you choose will help enhance Dad’s enjoyment of birds.