Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Dad
June 18, 2016
by Steve Grinley

     Tomorrow, June 19, is Father’s Day and some of you may still be procrastinating over what to get Dad. So now may be a good time for reviewing my gift suggestions for Dad:

     A feeder that deters squirrels is always a healthy 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 best against 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. These are so effective against squirrels that people come back for two or more of them. They come in different sizes and there are even specialized ones for Nyger or finch mix and another for shelled peanuts.

     Droll Yankees Dipper, Whipper, Tipper, and Flipper series of feeders also work very well. They are large capacity feeders (think less filling) and they are long enough and wide enough that the squirrel can’t hang on them. Three models have weighted perches or tray that collapse with the weight of the squirrel. The Flipper has a battery-operated motor that is activated with the weight of the squirrel and spins it right off. It will provide great entertainment any Dad that may otherwise be bored!

     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 simple to clean. Several manufacturers are now making feeders that are easier to take apart to clean. Many tube type feeders now have bottoms that pop right off –no tools, no stress. This feature provides easy access to the bottom of the tube where mold usually begins to form. One tube feeder model has a “pull ring” system. Dad would simply pull a rod from the top and all the perches and the bottom fall off the tube. This makes for easy cleaning with no tools necessary.

     Now is a good time for Dad to try a hummingbird or oriole feeder. Hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water attract these fascinating little birds. 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. Adding a battery or solar powered Water Wiggler, solar fountain or a waterfall rock will move the water in any bath and will help attract more birds. More birds makes for a happier Dad!

     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 build their own nest, and they 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 wood to painted with copper or shingled roofs. Matching a bird house to Dad’s personality could be fun.

     If Dad enjoys watching the birds a pair of binoculars to bring those birds closer. He probably has his Dad’s old World War II binoculars that weigh a ton and require each eyepiece to be focused separately. Maybe he even thinks those are good enough. But his eyes probably aren’t getting any sharper, and you can get him a better quality pair of lighter binoculars for not a lot of money these days.

     The most popular binoculars come in 8 and 10 power magnifications. The full size binoculars are best for bird watching 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 binoculars today are waterproof – important if Dad likes kayaking or birding in the tropics. Whatever binocular you choose will help enhance Dad’s enjoyment of birds and give him a closer look at their fascinating world.

     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 that will pull Dad into the birding experience. 

     So whatever Dad’s level of interest, there is a gift out there which might help him appreciate birds just a bit more!

Steve Grinley
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
Celebrating 2
4 years of service to the birding community! 
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