Words On Birds by Steve Grinley
Gift Ideas for Dads Who (Might) Appreciate Birds
June 13, 2015
By Steve Grinley
Next Sunday, June 21st, is Father’s Day. If Dad is head-over-heels about birds, or just has a passing interest, then I can suggest a few gift ideas that might help make his day.
For any Dad who would like to see birds closer, whether it be in the backyard or on Plum Island,, a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope would make a great gift! Today’s binoculars are lighter, brighter, and sharper, and they come in all price ranges. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good pair of binoculars these days. And most binoculars are versatile enough that if he gets tired of birds, then they can to be helpful at the ball park, at a concert, or on a boat.
A spotting scope will bring birds even closer than an eight or ten power pair of binoculars. If Dad wants a better look at an owl or an eagle in a nest, a shorebird on Joppa Flats, or an egret in the Great Marsh, a scope will bring those birds twenty to sixty times closer! A spotting scope used for birding can also double as an astronomical scope whereby he can see the craters of the moon, the rings around Saturn, or the moons around Jupiter.
If Dad is just curious about the names of birds in the yard or around town, a field guide might be the perfect gift. There are many field guides that are simple to use, even for the beginners. Some guides just include feeder or yard birds while others include all of Massachusetts. An Eastern US field guide will allow Dad to take it with him on his next trip to Florida and it will include those Southern specialty birds as well.
A bird feeder is a safe gift for any Dad who has even a casual interest in birds. Even if Dad has a bird feeder, he can always use another. The most popular ones today are the Squirrel Busters. They come in all sizes and price range, but they are the most effective feeders on the market for keeping squirrels at bay. The squirrel’s weight shuts off the food supply, frustrating them to the point of giving up. It will allow Dad to enjoy the tranquility of birds and reduce his frustration with squirrels.
If yard work and maintenance is not Dad’s thing, many of the latest tube feeders have been redesigned for easier cleaning. Many feeders now allow the bottom of the feeder to pop off with the simple push of a button. Dad will enjoy the ease of cleaning the feeders and thus making them healthier for the birds.
This time of year is a good time for Dad to try a hummingbird or oriole feeder. Hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water attract these fascinating little gems. An oriole feeder with oranges and grape jelly might draw these colorful birds close for easy viewing. In addition to orioles visiting our jelly here at the store, we also see catbirds and a mockingbird enjoying the jelly!
For those Dads who have enough feeders, a bird bath will draw more birds to the yard. Even birds that don’t normally come to seed feeders will enjoy the availability of fresh water. A Water Wiggler or Waterfall Rock moves the water in an existing bath and will help attract more birds.
If Dad is too lazy to fill a bird feeder or to put water in a bird bath, a bird house might be the right gift for him. A bird house is relatively maintenance free – though cleaning them out at the end or beginning of the nesting season is advisable. Birds will also use bird houses in the winter to keep warm and get out of the elements, especially at night. Houses come in all shapes and sizes, from plain cedar to painted with copper or Verdi-gris roofs. Matching a bird house to Dad’s personality could be fun.
If Dad is REALLY lazy- a true couch potato, there are a couple of excellent books by local authors for him to just read about birds and the joy of watching birds. Annette LeBlanc Cate’s Look-Up! Birdwatching in Your Own Backyard is a fun book for Dad to learn about birds. Its cartoon-like presentation and great sense of humor will keep Dad smiling while he learns all kinds of fun facts about birds. Groveland resident Doug Chickering’s Reflections on a Golden-winged Warbler is a collection of short stories and articles which will pull Dad into the birding experience.
So no matter Dad’s level of interest in birds, there is a gift out there which might help him appreciate birds just a bit more!
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
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