Ten Gifts for Southern Birdwatchers 

A smart bird feeder, a bounty of garden seeds, avian artwork, and more thoughtful finds to delight both birders and feathered friends

A collage of three photos. On the right a cardinal, on the left a bird with red speckles, in the center a clear bird feeder with a camera attached.


One of the great things about birdwatching is its universality. Trekking through the woods with binoculars and a guidebook and peering out your window into the backyard both fit the definition. Which means the below gifts are perfect for the bird-obsessed people in your life—and pretty much everyone else.

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Call of the Wild

Gabriela Gomez-Misserian, digital producer

As a kid I loved the small, squeaky bird-call toys I received in my Easter baskets and Christmas stockings. These bespoke wooden calls from French artist François Morel are artful, beautiful modern tools. So much of birding comes down to listening—you often will hear a bird more than you’ll actually see it—so learning the sounds and using them to attract curious birds is a welcome gift. Morel has over sixty distinct calls, but I really like this set of three, which includes black-capped chickadees, a tiny species I look forward to seeing every morning at my feeder. ($66 for three;

Bird’s Eye View

CJ Lotz Diego, senior editor

My favorite Christmas gift of all time was last year’s surprise from my husband—a bird feeder with a camera that takes pictures of the species in our own backyard! He splurged on the solar roof version that doesn’t need charging too often, and it zaps surprisingly high-resolution images and videos to our phones throughout the day. Stressful ride in traffic? Much easier when I stop and find three text message postcards from Mr. Cardinal, Mr. Blue Jay, and our regular house finch couple, nibbling on sunflower seeds. Another tip: Get the perch extender, which positions the birds at their most flattering angles so they can be ready for their close-ups. ($299;

Hummingbird Haven

Dave DiBenedetto, editor in chief

I’m over those thin, paper packets of seeds when it comes to sowing flowers for the birds. Instead, I opt for more coverage with John Scheepers Hummingbird Habitat Flower Garden seed bag, which contains nearly 50,000 seeds (about a quarter pound) and covers about 450 square feet. The results have spoken for themselves…just ask the hummers! ($17.25;

Splish Splash

Elizabeth Florio, digital editor

I was recently bequeathed a beautiful stone bird bath, and while I adore watching the songbirds preen and frolic in it (and the occasional crow dunk its dinner), the basin becomes a cesspool and mosquito hatchery if not refreshed every couple of days. A floating solar bubbler like this one keeps the water cleaner longer and makes the birds happy too. ($14;

Perfect Match

Gabriela Gomez-Misserian

I treasure scientific illustrations and field guides and have always admired how John Derian spins his beautiful collection of vintage artwork into whimsical functional objects. I have this egg matchbox on my dresser right now, and I love the solid dots of earth-colored eggs against the loose handwritten script. My matches have long been burned, but I’m thinking of tucking found feathers or shells inside. ($5;

I Spy 

Emily Daily, newsletter editor 

We spend a lot of time exploring on the weekends, so my husband knew just what to get me for Mother’s Day this year: a pair of Nikon binoculars. Complete with a nifty carrying case and neck strap, they’re compact enough to slide into a jacket pocket. Plus, they’re waterproof (and fog-proof for humid summer mornings), just in case we get caught in the inevitable downpour. I tested these nocs out last weekend at a nature preserve and easily spotted a trio of Mississippi kites. Thankfully, for those of us who are technically challenged, these are simple to use—and affordable. ($65;

Letter Art

CJ Lotz Diego

Remember passing a note in class after folding it into a square or sealing its edges together with a tiny sticky heart? A new series of sticker books from Workman hits right at that nostalgic sweet spot. The bird edition is packed with 675 stickers fluttering across themed spreads—woodpeckers and chickadees in a forest, toucans and parrots in the tropics, and two whole pages of owls. ($15;

Jay Is for Juice

Amanda Heckert, executive editor 

Charley Harper’s childhood on his family’s West Virginia farm inspired much of his “minimal realism” wildlife artwork, and I’ve always been particularly drawn to the conservationist’s native birds—a framed giclée of his Sing Spring sparrow enjoys pride of place on my mantel, and I’ve long sent thank-you notes on stationery featuring the likes of his Blackburnian warblers, indigo buntings, and red-bellied woodpeckers. Goodness knows I have enough glassware (thank you, grandmas!), but I can’t resist coveting this set of juice glasses, too, printed with his Cardinal with Berries, Blue Jay, Green Jay, and Western Tanager paintings and perfect for crack-of-dawn birdwatching fuel. ($65 for set of four;

Keeping It Cool 

Gabriela Gomez-Misserian

Some of the most exciting birding in the Lowcountry arrives when the weather warms up and we can spot indigo buntings, painted buntings, scarlet tanagers, and prothonotary warblers in the marshes, dunes, and bottomland forests. But summer also means mosquitoes and strong UV exposure, and I can never find a happy medium in picking a top that will protect my skin and keep me from sweating bullets. But I’m eyeing this breathable, long-sleeved Japanese typewriter cotton shirt that looks as perfect for gardening and refilling my bird feeders as it does for hitting the trails through swampy nature preserves. ($118;

Game On

Emily Daily

I’m always scouting out new options for family game night, and this bird-themed bingo game, with colorful portraits by avian expert and illustrator David Sibley, checks all the boxes. It’s cheap, portable, and perfect for any age player, and you can teach your kids (or spouse…) to identify common North American birds. Also, the little bingo “markers” are adorably egg-shaped. ($22;  

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