Gift Your Favorite Birder a Book for Christmas

Virtually everyone can easily identify a cardinal, but no doubt you'ver occasionally seen birds show up on your feeder that you can't identify. (Photo: Richard Simms)

When we hear the word “birdwatcher” we picture a little old lady in sneakers, wide-brimmed floppy hat, khaki cargo pants, pocketed vest and a huge set of binoculars slung around a skinny neck.

The truth is, we are ALL birdwatchers – you, me and everyone else.

Admit it – at least once you’ve looked out a window into your own backyard and thought, or said, “Look at that bird. What kind is it?”

Whether it is in the wilderness of Alaska, a Los Angeles suburb or even a pigeon begging for handouts in Miller Plaza — if there are birds around, we watch them.

So maybe it’s a hardcore, professional birder on your gift list or a budding backyard birder, all could enjoy and benefit from a birding book. Here’s a few suggestions from birding experts Paul Baicich and Wayne Petersen, who publish the monthly Birding Community E-Bulletin.

National Geographic Birds of North America, Birding is the fastest growing wildlife-related activity in the U.S., and even conservative estimates put the current number of U.S. birders at 50 million.

Better Birding – friendly skill-building by George L. Armistead and Brian L. Sullivan.

Baby Birds – informative and ultra-cute by Julie Zickefoose.

The Kiskadee of Death – a birder-murder mystery by Jan Dunlop.

Bird Families of the World: A Guide to the Spectacular Diversity of Birds – an elegant compendium by David Winkler, Shawn Billerman, and Irby Lovette.

Woodpeckers of North America – a handsome reference by Stephen A. Shunk.

Listening to a Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific – a ten-week bicycle journey by Don Kroodsma.

Cat Wars – investigating a cuddly killer by Peter Marra and Chris Santella.

National Park Roads – much more than a coffee-table book by Tim Davis.

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Richard Simms is a professional journalist and fishing guide in Chattanooga. (See He is also a former wildlife officer for TWRA, a book author and a self-proclaimed "River Rat" with a sincere desire for spreading the message about our bountiful natural resources and the people charged with using, or protecting them.


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