Holiday gifts for birders you barely know

A common question that I get asked this time of year is what is a good gift for a birder? That can be a challenge especially if you don’t know the person well like a niece from out of town, a coworker that you drew to be their Secret Santa or your uncle who you see once a year. Fortunately, there are some unique memberships and conservation organizations that can help you out.

Duck Stamp

Even if the person you are giving a Duck Stamp to already purchased one earlier in the year, it’s still a great gift because 98 percent of that $25 is going to go for habitat acquisition that benefits several species of birds.

American Birding Association Membership

The American Birding Association or ABA is North America’s bird club. They provide all sorts of birding community engagement online including a Facebook page for people to identify birds in seen, aggregate news of birding reports around the country and connect birders from all over. Originally seen as an organization for listing birds, it’s now interested in appealing to all sorts of birders. Becoming a membership gives you subscriptions to Birding and Birder’s Guide throughout the year and announcements of events they host throughout the year.

American Bird Conservancy

I strongly recommend supporting the American Bird Conservancy  a bird advocacy group that strives to be a voice for bird conservation. They advocate strongly for keeping cats indoors and helped stop the sale of d-Con rodenticide that caused secondary poisoning in birds of prey. A basic membership contributes to their causes and gets you a subscription to Bird Conservation Magazine.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Membership

For just $44, you can become a member of the acclaimed Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The member gets a subscription to the beautiful full color Living Bird magazine and the money goes to support their many citizen science projects like Celebrate Urban Birds, maintaining the eBird database of bird sightings, Project FeederWatch, NestWatch and the Great Backyard Bird Count.

If the person you are gifting is already a member, you can simply add another year to their subscription.

National Audubon Society

Audubon is an advocacy group raising awareness of critical habitat for birds. There’s the national group and several local chapters at the state level. They help get people involved with Christmas Bird Counts, guide lawmakers on conservation plans, establish Important Bird Areas to protect all sorts of bird habitat, not just for ducks. A membership includes  a subscription to the Audubon Magazine.

Local Bird Club Membership

Local bird clubs are happy to get new members and quite a few offer newsletters, monthly meetings with speakers and bird walks. Go into your favorite web browser and use search terms like the name of a town or state a birder lives in and enter in words like bird club, ornithologists society, Audubon chapter and see what comes up. Bird clubs have all sorts of names and many people are unaware of how many are out there.  

And of course, consider signing them up for a subscription to Outdoor News!

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