It’s that time again, and we hope this helps you choose something special for the birder on your list, or maybe a reward for your own good behavior this year!
|First up, Sheridan spotted the Universal Extender 2.5x from Eagle Optics at the local Wild Birds Unlimited store. “This is a ‘doubler’ that you can put on the lens of your binoculars, effectively making them into a small spotting scope. It costs $119, much less than a scope!” The device pops on and off and works on the popular Ranger line of Eagle Optics binoculars, as well as on a bunch of other makes and models: check Eagle Optics web site for the list <www.eagleoptics.com>. Wild Birds Unlimited, 14602 Huebner Road, Suite 114, San Antonio; 479-2473.|
|Sheridan also recommends the high-quality Kiva field bags, like the Bumpy 2.0 (left), an excellent all-purpose sports tote with all kinds of pockets, including special ones for water bottles. It can be carried in the hand, around the waist (fanny pack) or over the shoulder, and is made of illumiNITE reflective fabric for safety. $39.95; 11x8x4 inches. Also available at Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU)|
|“ Finally, they [WBU] have Tilly Hats which have a great guarantee. They are rated 50+ SPF and will last a lifetime! I got one of these hats at the ABA convention in McAllen last year and it’s by far the best hat I have ever owned!” Insured against loss, unshrinkable, rain repellent, it floats, is machine washable, has a secret pocket, and it’s crushable and packable! Sizes and styles for men and women. Wow.|
|My own contribution is a book recommendation: National Geographic Complete Birds of North America: Companion to the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America; edited by Jonathan Aderfer (National Geographic, 2005), $35, ISBN 0792241754. Large and heavy, this is designed to fill in the details not included in the field guide. There are more illustrations, photos, migration maps, additional species accounts, and a lot of great information. Behavior and Similar Species sections for each listing are especially helpful. (It’s so new that I got mine for 20 percent off at Barnes & Noble.)|
|Steve recommends stopping by the gift shop at Government Canyon State Natural Area for the many useful and fun items with the GCSNA logo and/or name, including shirts, pens, hats, cups, water bottles, and more. Cedar walking sticks are also for sale and are very handy for hiking the trails. For many visitors, the Texas State Parks Map is a bargain at $2.50. The front side of the map is a basic highway map of Texas that denotes the location of state parks and natural areas with a green cone and the name of the park/natural area. The flip side has a map and lists of the ecological areas of Texas, with alphabetized lists of the state parks within the given ecological area. The info for each state park includes the phone number, the town it is closest to, and a series of pictographs denoting the services available there.|
|Giving a gift of the 2005-2006 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, better know as the Federal Duck Stamp, is a definite win-win-win situation: wetland habitat and its myriad residents are protected from destruction/development, you have taken an active part in helping the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) System, and stamp holders get free admission to all NWRs for the year. This isn’t a hunting license, it’s a habitat conservation measure that has already been enormously successful. Buy them for $15 at post offices, national wildlife refuges, sporting goods stores (like Sportsmans Warehouse or Academy), and retail stores (some Wal-Marts). <www.fws.gov/duckstamps/>|
|I know Susan would agree that a birdPod is a great way to carry all the sounds of birds with you in your pocket or bag and would make an excellent gift. birdPod is a system for using an iPod audio player with the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs on CDs to learn and identify bird sounds quickly and easily. The software transfers the sounds to the iPod and uses playlists to help categorize the sounds. Susan uses hers to call birds, too! $69, but price depends on your setup; birdPod Maker Software <www.ibirdpod.com>|
|This Bird Water Cooler looks ideal for many situations; Water conservation, easy maintenance, and space-saving are a few things that come to mind. Offered by Duncraft, the reservoir holds 3 quarts and has 4 drinking stations that are automatically refilled as the birds sip. It can be mounted on a 4x4-inch post or hangs from the included hook. $19.95; 1-888-879-5095 <www.duncraft.com>|
|And speaking of water, if you carry bottled water with you, this might be the perfect solution to how: the EasyGo Water Bottle Holder has a hinged ring that goes around the neck of bottles and the carabiner clip makes it easy to attach to belt loops, straps, packs, strollers, etc. $4.95, Mori Luggage & Gifts <www.moriluggage.com> 1-800-678-MORI|
|Last, but not least, a membership in the San Antonio Audubon Society or another nature or conservation society would be a terrific gift for anyone. You might start someone on a lifetime of birding. Priceless!|
San Antonio Audubon Society, 5150 Broadway
#257, San Antonio, TX 78209-5710, (210)
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