As December gets underway, you can almost feel the current of energy as people rush about trying to find just the right present for the most difficult person on their gift giving list.  In recent years more and more people have turned to on-line shopping   as a means of avoiding the crowds, traffic and general hyper-madness associated with Holiday shopping.  Granted there are still plenty (millions) of people who either don’t  know how to shop on-line, or actually enjoy the energy of crowds and the competing Christmas carols blaring from storefronts.


A Red-headed Woodpecker grabs a tasty peanut from a feeder.

For those who prefer to shop from the comfort of their own home, the choices are endless and you have time to consider all the different options that might appeal to those you know and love.  In our family we like to give gifts that are either consumable or provide long lasting entertainment and since we love nature and birdwatching, a gift of birdseed or birdfeeders is often our choice.  If you think about it, I bet there are many people in your circle of friends and family who also feed the birds, if not year-round, at least for some months.  According to the National Audubon magazine as many as 40% of American households do just that.  That’s a LOT of people.

When I give talks about birds and I always ask people if they consider themselves to be birdwatchers.  Usually a few hands go up; but when I ask how many people feed the birds, many more go up.  I then tell them that they are birdwatchers, because who puts seed out and does not watch the birds coming to the feeders?

At you can find just about anything you could want in the way of birdseed.  The company also sells a variety of birdfeeders.  Most are designed to dispense bird seeds of one kind or another, but they come in different shapes and sizes.  We all enjoy variety and we oftenanother-pine-cone discover that birds have preferences for one style of feeder over another.  By giving someone a new feeder they may find more or even different birds coming to their yard.  A suet ball is another option.  Suet is especially popular and valuable in the winter months when many bird species are in desperate need of extra fat and protein to see them through the long, cold, dark days and nights.

If you have children and would like to involve them in the gift giving process, buy some mixed birdseed for yourselves, gather pine cones and peanut butter (or lard) and make some special ‘ornaments’ that can be hung on tree branches.  It is a simple but purposeful craft, that even young children can do; grandppeace-birdsarents especially appreciate these kinds of handmade gifts.

By giving someone a gift of birdfood or a birdfeeder you can feel twice as good, knowing you are providing sustenance for our feathered friends, while bringing smiles to friend’s faces.  Make sure to enjoy all the Holiday Season has to offer.

By Kate Crowley