This year, my holiday gift guide is for the birds! Check out the Social Impact Traveller Local Holiday Guide for Bird Lovers and Bird Nerds.
*Please note that I have not received compensation for any of these product listings.
The pandemic has certainly grounded me since returning from Egypt in March 2020. But, not one to stay still for long, like so many others, I’ve been using this time to explore my own area. My family has been outdoors as much as possible, hiking and exploring. And bird-watching.
I’ve always been a bit of a bird nerd when I travel. My first real bird-love encounter happened in Australia with the laughing kookaburras. Later, I did bird-watching tours in search of parakeets and toucans on the Pipeline in Panama. In Galapagos, I gawked at the Blue-footed boobies. In Curacao, my family enjoyed spotting hummingbirds and yellow finches.
But it wasn’t until the pandemic that I joined so many others in taking up backyard birding.
It was actually my five-year-old son who got me into it.
During lockdowns and homeschooling, we would pack snacks and bird seeds and go for a hike in a local park where we could always count on seeing cardinals and woodpeckers. In the winter, we would wear our snow pants, pack seeds and sit in our favourite spot watching our little friends. At home, we would toss a handful of seeds out the patio door into the snow and watch the sparrows swarm (we did this until one day, a hawk swooped down).
For Christmas, we made bird feeders with pinecones and then hung them in the forest – a gift of thanks to the birds. A new tradition was born – my family plans to do a Christmas hike and leave feeders again.
With winter around the corner, I already have my feeders out. In my new home in Guelph, our backyard is blessed with birds – black-capped chickadees, white-throated sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers, red-breasted nuthatches, American goldfinches, house finches, warblers, dark-eyed juncos and jays are regular visitors. We’ve had a few surprise visitors, too: ruby-crowned kinglets, wrens, Northern flickers, and even a baby cardinal that I got to watch for two weeks from the time it hatched. We have lots of vultures and two hawks, so far.
To show my appreciation and give thanks to the bird, I thought to write this post with holiday gifts for bird lovers.
Holiday Gifts for Bird Lovers and Bird Nerds
Wild Birds Unlimited
Wild Birds Unlimited is a hobby store with locations in Ontario including Toronto and Guelph. They can help you find the best feeders and the right kinds of food for the season (especially important in the winter). They also have hot and spicy bird feed and since I started putting it in my feeders, the squirrels have completely left it alone.
They have super cute holiday bird feeders like this penguin or snowman. They also have holiday wreaths.
Wild Ontario, part of the University of Guelph works with native Ontario, non-releasable birds – many that have been injured and can’t be released back into the wild. Budding scientists volunteer and care for the birds. They also do private parties that you could consider gifting. My son’s birthday is just before Christmas and we are having Wild Ontario come and bring four raptors for the kids to meet – it’s a perfect outdoor party idea. You could also sponsor one of their raptors like Atwood the Owl in this photo – a perfect holiday gift for bird lovers.
Pass the Feather
I have so much admiration and respect for Dawn, the woman behind Pass the Feather. She is also the driving force behind IndigenArtsy and led the way for a powerful event on Parliament Hill for Canada’s first Truth and Reconciliation Day in remembrance of Indigenous children and families impacted by Residential Schools in Canada.
For gift ideas, check out Pass the Feather books and feather bundles.
I already have Dawn’s Little Book of Bird Medicine and I have a feather bundle that was gifted to me – Dawn was thoughtful to include (mother) goose and Peregrine Falcon feathers. The falcon feathers are for my son. When he finished forest school last year, the teachers gave him the nature name Dandelion. He wasn’t having that. He told me that instead, he will be called Peregrine Falcon because they are the fastest bird and the dive bomb. Dandelion was pretty cute, I thought, but he is who he is. These feather bundles would be such a beautiful, meaningful gift for any bird lover.
Dream Webs Dream Catcher
Check out Dream Webs Dream Catchers for amazing ideas to incorporate bird feathers into gifts. I can’t imagine any bird lover who would not want to receive one of these extraordinary dream catchers. I have an incredible oner with Blue Jay feathers as decor in my living room (Blue Jays for my husband who seems to attract them wherever he goes). We also have a fire yellow and red coloured one hanging in my son’s room, and I have gifted a friend one as well. These are beautiful, personal and powerful gifts.
Another great holiday gift idea for bird lovers is from Metal Birds. Made in Canada, they are for decorating your backyard and adding a little whimsy to your trees. I’ve got my eye on this cardinal and baby an
d my son’s namesake, the Peregrine Falcon.
Holiday gift for bird lovers: Books for bird nerds
Here’s a list of books for bird nerds and budding bird-watchers.
More holiday gift ideas for bird lovers
Here are a few other ideas and gift guides for bird nerds
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