Audubon 2013 Gift Guide for Bird Lovers

An array of presents sure to delight any avian enthusiast.

If you’re still scrambling for a present for that bird lover on your list, check out our array of fantastic gifts. We have suggestions at every price point. A selection from this list—which includes books, apps, clothing, stocking stuffers, binoculars, even a chance to adopt a bird—will delight any avian enthusiast.


Give the gift of conservation. Adopt one of 16 birds, including the snowy plover, Atlantic puffin, burrowing owl, and bald eagle, and you'll help Audubon protect birds and their habitats. The gift includes a one-year Audubon membership, including six issues of Audubon magazine. The recipient receives an eCard notifying them of the adoption and describing all the benefits of their Audubon membership.

Buy it here: Audubon Gift Catalog 

Price: $30 (a $40 purchase comes with a northern cardinal plushy)


Chances are, the avian enthusiast in your life already has a field guide (if not, check out Audubon's selection here). Here are six other books birders are sure to find fascinating.

Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird, by Tim Birkhead: Nearly every page provides insights into how birds experience the world—from how they navigate to what they see to their long-unappreciated sense of smell—and reminds us of how much more we have to discover about these incredible creatures.

Buy it here:

Price: $16

The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle: "The book is a monster. It has over 1,000 photographs. It has 550 pages and weighs in at a hefty 2.75 pounds. The Warbler Guide is a reference book that you will want to have on your desk, on your nightstand, or in your car, for contained within its pages is more treasure than any birder could ever hope for," writes Wayne Mones in his review for Audubon.

Buy it here:

Price: $29.95

The Crossley ID Guide to Raptors, by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori, Brian Sullivan: "If you love raptors and want to improve your identification skills, buy this book. Leave it on your coffee table or bed stand and study it. Follow this prescription and show up at your next hawk watch ready to hold your own against the pros," writes Wayne Mones in his review for Audubon.

Buy it here:

Price: $29.95

The Unfeathered Bird, by Katrina van Grouw: "A gorgeous atlas to guide bird lovers to a far more intimate understanding and appreciation of birds than has been possible for all but those who have the freedom to rummage through museum collections," writes Wayne Mones in his review for Audubon.

Buy it here:

Price: $49.95

Charles Harper's Birds & Words (40th Anniversary Edition), by Charley Harper: The classic 1974 book features gorgeous, carefully restored images.

Buy it here: AMMO Books

Price: $34.95. NOTE: AMMO is offering a 40% discount to Audubon readers; just use the code Audubon40.

The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds, by John Muir Laws: This book offers a novel array of tips that are easy and rewarding to follow.

Buy it here:

Price: $24.95


Note: You can purchase any of these at the Apple App Store.

Audubon Birds ($14.99): Said to be the best bang for your buck by The Nature Conservancy, Audubon's app partners with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to list sightings on eBird, has bird photos, and allows users to listen to five different calls per species.

National Geographic Birds ($9.99): Provides a range map for each species, has bird illustrations, and two calls per species.

iBird Pro ($19.99): This, the first birding app on the market, provides bird illustrations and has a spectrogram for "geeky birders" to visualize the song.

Sibley eGuide to Birds ($19.99): This app has the most illustrations of species and provides six bird calls per species.

BirdsLog ($9.99): Ties into eBird and allows birders to report sightings from anywhere and at anytime, even without cell service, and find birding hotspots.


Tilley Airflow-LTM5

Hats: Tilley hats (above) are a great option for birders looing to keep cool and protect themselves from the sun (the fabric used to make the hats often has a SPF 50+ rating, says longtime birder Wayne Mones).

Buy it here: Tilley

Average price: $70

Bird Vests: They provide multiple pockets for storing binoculars, guides, and other gear, and contain shoulder padding to comfortably carry scopes or heavy camera equipment, says veteran birder Heidi DeVos. They come in weights and materials geared for either cooler or tropical climates.

Buy it here: Big Pockets

Average price: $120

Waterproof pants: Insulated, waterproof pants with multiple side storage pockets are a must.

Buy it here: The North Face has some great options.

Average price: From $70

Long-sleeved fishing shirts: These offer serious sun protection. Many are SPF 15 or higher. They're also lightweight, so the wearer won't overheat in the sun.

Buy it here: Cabela's has a large selection of fishing shirts for men and women.

Average price: $50

Heated Insoles: You can always put hand warmers in your shoes. For a high-end option, ThermaCELL's wireless, rechargeable heated insoles are sure to keep birders' feet warm while they're out in the elements this winter.

Buy it here: ThermaCELL

Price: $134.99


Water bottle: It's critical to stay hydrated when you're out in the field for hours on end. Camelback and Klean Kanteen (above) offer durable products that are BPA-free.

Buy it here: REI

Price: $14 and up

Flashlight: Birders are often up and at 'em before the crack of dawn. Wayne Mones says the Olight S20 LED from Battery Junction is an invaluable tool in those dark times.

Buy it here:

Price: $50

Poncho: Lightweight and easy to store, these are perfect to have on hand for birding in the tropics when rainstorms come and go.

Buy it here: Available at most drugstores and sporting goods stores.

Price: Around $5

Waterproof journal: Essential for listing birds and taking other notes, no matter the weather.

Buy it here: Rite in the Rain

Price: Starting at $3.95


Leica 8x42mm Ultravid HD / Black Armored Binoculars

For our full 2014 binocular buying guide, by Wayne Mones, click here.

Alpha Class ($1,300 – $2,500)

These are the best that modern technology and engineering can offer. Yes, they are expensive, but then, there can be no great art without suffering.

Leica Ultravid HD (above): (7x42, 8x42, or 8x32)

Nikon EDG (8x42 or 8x32)

Swarovski EL Swarovision: (8.5x42 or 8x32)

Zeiss Victory T*: (8x42 or 8x32)

Almost Alpha Class (Less than $1,300)

All are better than anything that was available just a few years ago and cost a lot less than today's top models.

Steiner Peregrine XP 8x44

Swarovski CL Companion 8x30

Vortex Razor HD 8x42

Zeiss Conquest HD (8x42 or 8x32)

Best-Value Class (Less than $600)

Bright images, accurate color, and very good resolution. Buy one of these and put the cash you save toward a once-in-a-lifetime birding trip.

Kowa BD 8x42

Minox BL 8x44

Nikon Monarch 7 ATB, 8x42 or 8x30

Pentax DCF SP 8x43

Vortex Viper HD (8x42 or 8x32)

Zeiss Terra HD 8x42

Get in the Game Class (less than $200)

Bright, satisfying images and wide fields of view at a very modest price.

Nikon Monarch 3 ATB 8x42

Pentax Papillo 6.5x21 (Although designed for butterflies, these are acceptably bird worthy, weigh almost nothing, and are fun to use.)

Vortex Raptor 6.5x32

Leupold Yosemite 6x30