Gifts for minimalist birders
June 11, 2020 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a gift for a birder who doesn't like to own a lot of stuff.

Birder lives in the Bay Area, but I know he already has a lot of memberships. I would also assume he has the binoculars and field guides he wants (unless you know of something super cool and unusual). Books seem like a good possibility since they're easily donated - would really like to hear some recommendations. Something like H is for Hawk might be good or other interesting or unusual books about birds. Obviously, things like bird clocks, ceramic birds, bird salt and pepper shakes are out.
posted by FencingGal to Science & Nature (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
How about a donation on his behalf to a conservation charity, such as American Bird Conservancy?
posted by pipeski at 7:14 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature would be a wonderful, timely memoir to give.

Field guides are a little tricky since the best ones are location specific. I do love this Warbler Guide and the associated app (purchased separately) is fantastic.
posted by veery at 7:16 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]

Adopt/sponsor a bird at a local zoo or rescue centre?

Or a falconry experience?
posted by runincircles at 7:18 AM on June 11

My wife just bought me What It's Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley (of Sibley Guides). Kind of a coffee table-ish book.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:19 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

You can search to see if there is a falconer in your area. I set my wife up with one and she got to fly a bunch of hawks from her arm. It was an amazing experience, even for me as a spectator.
posted by bondcliff at 7:55 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]

People who don't like stuff sometimes like art.
posted by theora55 at 8:37 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

This is my partner! They adore their Birds of North America poster. It's decorative and useful and goes way beyond, "This thing is shaped like a bird so you'll like it!"
posted by brook horse at 9:16 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]

Oh, as for book suggestions, perhaps The Genuis of Birds?
posted by brook horse at 9:17 AM on June 11

Might also be worth seeing if there are any local anti-racist birding organizations in the area that you could make a donation to who would match. I know my partner is supporting his local conservation club at the place where he works who is donating their money to Birders of Color programs. I don't know if your birder is aligned that way but it's a thing that's been going on lately. Also I notices that formerly-expensive iphone software iBird Pro is on sale, so worth thinking about possible phone apps. Also a birding-themed face mask is low key and never inappropriate assuming they are someone who may be birding outdoors.
posted by jessamyn at 9:57 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

If they own an iPad or iPhone the iBird Pro app is the best book/app I have seen for birding. Good id features by colors, type, habitats, etc. Lot of calls and photos included.
posted by rtimmel at 10:01 AM on June 11

Point Blue is what the Pt. Reyes bird observatory is now part of. Their events page is sparse right now , but post COVID, there are many different kinds of events where you can help with research, doing things like banding birds.
posted by rockindata at 10:17 AM on June 11

The book 'Bird' by Andrew Zuckerman is photography of birds against a stark white background. Really striking stuff for any bird lover!

Amazon link
posted by Don_K at 10:17 AM on June 11

Minimalist bird person here. I get a real kick out of Effin Birds. (note: strong language. not for all audiences.)
posted by nathaole at 10:34 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

Experiences are great; there are always so many expensive bird trips I want to take! Ask if they’ve always wanted to go to the Arizona Birding Festival or the Yellow Rails And Rice Festival or something. Buy some binoculars for yourself and go with them!

Functional stuff like the bird themed face mask or a hat or fancy sunscreen or this harness or fun bird socks or something are also cool.

I would also enjoy donations made in my name to basically any conservation group. Birders love nature, so really you can open up your ideas to other things, like a good tree identification guide so they can say to their birder friends, “look at three o’clock in the sweetgum tree” instead of “um, this star shaped green guy with the spiky balls, like to the right of the, uh, pine tree I guess?”

Maybe they’ve always wanted a bird tattoo and you get them a gift card to a local tattoo place.

I hope my friends read this lol
posted by oomny at 10:56 AM on June 11

Yet another book suggestion, but suggested with my whole heart: this big fat tome called Birds & People. It's a blend of cultural and natural history, packed with rich detail and photos, made for dipping into again and again instead of digesting just once.
posted by nuannarpoq at 11:38 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

The board game Wingspan, a promise to play it with him, and an offer to "buy" it from him if he doesn't like it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]

Came here to recommend the Sibley 'What It's Like to Be a Bird' book--it's pretty new, so he probably hasn't read it, and if he donated it to a library, there's a good chance they'd add it to their collection.

When buying gifts for minimalist-leaning people, I tend to go for consumables. Does your person have any birdfeeders?
posted by box at 1:08 PM on June 11

As a birder who knows birders, the "stuff" side of gifts I love are art, prints or nice old birding books.

Experiences or donations are equally brilliant, but I really don't like falconry, I've met other birders who don't, so please check how they feel about it before you buy a falconry experience day. (they might love the idea!)

Instead, I would have loved a day (or half day) with a wildlife photographer, or tickets for a wildlife watching boat trip, or tickets to a talk by an expert, or something along those lines.
posted by sarahdal at 1:23 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]

Another book suggestion: The Mincing Mockingbird's Guide to Troubled Birds, source of the infamous, "I'd sell you to Satan for one corn chip."
posted by brook horse at 1:28 PM on June 11

H is For Hawk is an excellent idea. I have above average interest in birds, but knew nothing about hawks before reading this. The prose is so beautiful, it’s a book that doesn’t require any specific knowledge of hawks to enjoy it.
posted by little mouth at 3:39 PM on June 11

A birdhouse or bird feeder. Both go outside, so not much stuff to deal with. A birdhouse is less hassle, as you need to deal with bird food to have a feeder. A hummingbird feeder is super fun.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 7:41 PM on June 11

The game Wingspan has been a big hit with the birder in our family. Not sure if it is minimalist enough, but it is beautifully designed and an award-winning game - so might be worth a look.
posted by TofuGolem at 11:52 AM on June 12

a gift certificate to Bird Academy, to take a course of their choosing?
posted by smokyjoe at 11:38 AM on June 13

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