We’re getting into the thick of the holiday season, so you’re probably already on the hunt for the perfect gifts for friends and family! This year, more and more people have become in awe of the nature that exists in their own backyards. If that sounds like someone you know, lean in and take this opportunity to make your shopping list a little more bird-friendly!
Don’t fret, we\’ve done the leg-work to bring you gift ideas for everyone on your list – from the budding birder to the gardener to those that prefer the indoors. We even recommend getting a special something for yourself – you deserve it!
If you need stocking stuffers, head over to the Houston Audubon Raptor and Education Center where you’ll find jewelry, apparel, books, and more in the nature store.
Gifts for the Bird Nerd in Your Life
We know them and love them – bird nerds are the backbone of Houston Audubon! From budding birders to seasoned pros, these gifts are a hit for all. (New birders can also check out our Birding Primer page for tips on getting started.)
Optics and/or Accessories – Optics are an important tool for birders! Land Sea & Sky is an excellent place to shop and get advice. The Opticron Natura 10×42 binoculars are a great first pair of binocs. You can support Houston Audubon by mentioning us in-store or by using promo code \”HOUAUDUBON\” at checkout through January 9, 2021. Not only do you get a 5% discount, but Land Sea & Sky will donate an additional 5% back to Houston Audubon!
Field Guide * – Field guides are an essential tool for bird identification. We have a number of different options at our nature store at the Raptor and Education Center, open Tues – Sat 10 am – 4 pm! We recommend calling ahead.
Adopt a Bird * – If you\’d like to support the care of our raptors (and one Purple Martin!) you can gift a symbolic bird adoption. Your donation contributes towards food, vet care, housing, and supplies for the birds that help us educate people of all ages at schools, libraries, hospitals, and more. Learn about our birds and Adopt a Bird here.
Gifts for Your Fledglings (aka Children)
It\’s never too early to get the kids in your life as excited about birds and nature as you are! (Check out our youth programs here.) Here are some great gift ideas to make a bird-nerd of your child!
Beginner Binocs – Binoculars can open up a whole new world for your child, and a good set of beginner binoculars will go a long way. There are a number of options available, but a great low-budget pick is the Celestron Outland binocs, starting at $54. (If purchasing at Land Sea and Sky, be sure to mention Houston Audubon in-store or use promo code \”HOUAUDUBON\” at checkout to get a 5% discount on your order and an additional 5% donation to us by Land Sea and Sky. Valid through January 9, 2021.)
Owl Prowl * – Adults and kids alike will have the time of their life on a Houston Audubon Owl Prowl. You’ll join our education team on a walk through either the Edith Moore Nature Sanctuary or the Raptor and Education Center, spotting and hearing owls along the way. You’ll also meet some of our education ambassador owls and learn all about these incredible birds. Purchase tickets to one of our Owl Prowls here. You can also get tickets to a Behind the Scenes Tour of the Raptor and Education Center.
Birdy Books and Games *
Head over to the nature shop at our Raptor and Education Center for a variety of kid-friendly books and games related to birds and nature. For $5/person, you can also visit our raptors and other education animals in their beautiful home, all while learning about these animals from our wonderful education team.
Gifts for Your Favorite Gardener
Gardeners will appreciate the benefits that native plants provide not only to birds and bugs, but also to their own plants. Attracting more pollinators will help fruits and vegetables thrive. Our Natives Nursery attracts many enthusiastic gardeners that want to invite nature to their home – here are some gift ideas.
Real-Deal Native Plants * – A big part of being bird-friendly is planting native plants in your yard and community! Houston Audubon’s Natives Nursery is a great place to shop for plants local to our area. The online store is open year-round, with curbside pick-ups on Friday mornings! Visit our online shop.
NPSOT Native Landscape Certification Course – Our partners at the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) have a number of classes available through their Natives Landscapes Certification Courses. The gardener in your life will love this opportunity to learn about our local flora and how to use these plants in their own gardens. This past fall, Houston Audubon partnered with NPSOT to launch the Native Landscapes for Bird Course! Click here for a class schedule.
Indoor Gifts for Outdoors Lovers
As much as we’d like to be, we’re not always outside birding. Here are a couple of gift ideas for when you’re stuck inside but still want to be in touch with nature!
Bird-Friendly Coffee – Did you know that drinking the right coffee can help protect birds? Bird Friendly coffee comes from farms using a combination of foliage cover, tree height, and biodiversity to provide quality habitat for birds and other wildlife. While there are many options out there, we personally brew Birds and Beans at our headquarters.
Paleican Beer – Drink for a cause by purchasing PALEican – a pale ale created by Bakfish Brewing Co. in 2019 for our inaugural Houston Bird Week. Bakfish is generously donating a portion of proceeds to Houston Audubon. In addition to purchasing PALEican at Bakfish’s brewery in Pearland, you can find it either in cans or on draft at several locations across Houston!
Wingspan – You can stay inside and play the award-winning board game, Wingspan, when the weather isn’t great for birding. This gift is sure to be a hit! You can purchase Wingspan through Amazon, but don’t forget to check out through Amazon Smile and select Houston Audubon as your charitable organization of choice! For more information on how to do so, click here.
Gifts for the All-Around Nature Lover
For the more generalist nature-lover in your life, there are a number of gift options that are sure to make them smile! Check out a few excellent options below.
High Island Patch * – Give access to all of Houston Audubon’s High Island sanctuaries for a whole year! This includes access to the new Kathrine G.McGovern Canopy Walkway at Smith Oaks, an exciting addition for birders and non-birders alike. Purchase a patch here.
Shop Shoes and Hats at AnthepLife – Shop local and support the local environment all at once. We’re excited to announce a new fundraising partnership with EarthShare of Texas and AnthepLife, a handmade apparel company based in Texas. AnthepLife will contribute 10% of its holiday profits to EarthShare of Texas and its participating organizations (including Houston Audubon!). EarthShare of Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit federation, raising and distributing funds to qualifying member charities. Check out AnthepLife and start shopping here.
Cornell’s Nature Journaling Class – Give the nature-lover in your life the tools to approach their outdoor experiences in a new light! Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a virtual course guiding participants on how to get started in this new hobby!
Other Bird-Friendly Gift Ideas
If you aren’t familiar with Houston Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities Program, it\’s a great tool to help Houston-area residents transform their yards and communities into habitat that can support birds and wildlife. To help the bird-lover in your life start their Bird-Friendly journey, we recommend heading over to your local Wild Birds Unlimited. Here are some of our favorite items:
Bird Feeder and Seed – The easiest way to attract birds to your yard is to set-up and maintain a bird feeder! There are a number of different types of feeders and seed, but a favorite is this Squirrel Proof feeder and some seed specially designed for supporting birds through the winter months.
“Drip” or Water Feature – A water feature is a great way to not only attract birds to your yard but to help migratory birds who stop by to rest and refuel. Birds are attracted to the sound of moving water, so try and pick an option that has either a drip or some kind of agitator.
Nest Box – There are many nest boxes available depending on the species you\’re trying to attract. One of our favorite backyard birds here in Houston is the Eastern Screech-Owl, which nests in our area and is often on the lookout for the perfect place to do so! You can often hear the owls’ distinctive “descending whinny” of a call at dusk. Check out this Eastern Screech-Owl box from WBU or get plans to build your own at the NestWatch website.
Items marked with * can be purchased directly through Houston Audubon.
This is only a starting point for the many Bird-Friendly items you can gift this year. Let us know if you have additional gift ideas in the comments!
By Anna Vallery, Conservation Specialist, Houston Audubon