The gift-giving season is upon us, and many people are scratching their heads, trying to figure out the perfect gift for that special birder in their life. I thought I’d make it a little easier for you and spell out exactly what I would like to receive this year. I bet other birders would like many of the same things as I do. (I seem to be into lists lately.)
- Life birds. Seeing all the usual suspects is all fine and good, and I appreciate the familiar ducks and finches very much. But—nothing stirs the blood like a first sight of a new species. Even if you aren’t a lister, new birds are exciting. I’d like several of these, please.
- A weather front that blows through right about the middle of May. All those migrating passerines will be happy to sit still for a bit, after all that buffeting. I don’t want them so exhausted that their lives are in peril. I’d just like them tired enough to hang around while I learn their names and take their mug shots.
- Good news about an endangered species. The Puerto Rican Parrot has been on the endangered species list since 1967. There are only about 300 Whooping Cranes left in the world, including those in captivity. On the other hand, the numbers of Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and Brown Pelicans are growing. I’d like to hear about more birds recovering from critically low populations to once again thrive in their respective environments.
- Plenty of rainfall. Not only do we need the water, but ample precipitation leads to luxuriant plant growth, which feeds a population explosion of small rodents. And that, in turn, brings in the hawks and owls. I really like hawks and owls.
- A hospitable birding friend in another state. While there are a few Colorado species that still elude me, I’ve seen most of the locals. I’ve been to all the nearby hotspots more time than I can count. Yes, I could go on my own, but motel rooms are expensive. I would enjoy your company and your expertise, too. Please invite me to visit you. You are welcome come birding here and stay with me as well.
- A rare bird alert for my neighborhood. So often all the rare bird sightings are in other parts of the state—or even further afield. I’d like that Roseate Spoonbill to turn up in my neighbor’s pond. (I’d settle for a rare bird in my own yard, but I’d prefer to avoid the hordes of birders that might trample my prized perennials.)
- A bumper crop of berries. I put out seed feeders and suet, and they attract finches, nuthatches, chickadees and the like. Sometimes, however, I enjoy watching bluebirds, thrushes and waxwings. Lots of berries will invite lots of berry-eating birds.
- Birding trips. I’m a birder; I like to go birding. I especially like to go birding with a few special people… people I like hanging around with in general… people like you! Will you keep me company, even if you don’t find birds quite as fascinating as I do?
That’s my list. I hope it helps! What’s on your wish list this year?