7 Last Minute Gifts for “the Bird-Obsessed”

By Ryan Nakano

Not all of us are early birds, especially when it comes to finding the perfect gift for our loved ones during the holiday season. It’s been a busy time for so many of us, hence the timing of this blog. That said, I’ve put together a quick gift guide for the “bird obsessed” people in your life! Even if these gifts don’t make it “in time”, we all know time is simply a construct and your friends and family will enjoy these bird-themed gifts no matter the date and occasion.

  1. Alan Krakauer’s Birds of the Bay Area Desk Calendar $25

  One of our year-round Golden Gate Bird Alliance residents is none other than the incredible birder, biologist and wildlife photographer Alan Krakauer. We’ve been using Alan’s bird photos for years and years because he’s just that good. But don’t take our word for it, you can snag one of the few remaining 2024 Birds of the Bay Area Calendars from Alan’s Etsy page just in time to track the new year. That means you’ll be able to add at least one new species to your list as each month passes! 

  1. Bird Friendly Chocolate and Coffee  $13-40

While these are truly two separate bird-friendly items of indulgence, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to list these as a combo (who doesn’t love balancing a little bitter with their sweet?). Still, let’s break these two down so you really know what you’re in for, starting with the chocolate.

 Our very own board member Sharol Nelson-Embry has not only been instrumental in bird conservation efforts in Alameda and chairing our Annual Birdathon Fundraiser, but she’s also spoiled us year after year with some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had. It just so happens, this chocolate is bird-friendly! What makes it bird-friendly? Sharol explains how farming and harvest techniques friendly to native birds is what makes this chocolate truly sweet in her blog here

Okay, on to coffee! For all you earlybirds trying to go owling at unreasonable hours, I have to believe the day starts with coffee. And if that’s the case, make the best part of waking up bird-friendly coffee in your cup! This shade-grown organic coffee by Birds&Beans is the only coffee we drink in the office, making it essentially a daily ritual and it’s surely fueling the writing of this very blog post. Whether you get it straight from the source or you want to join our coffee-club, you won’t be disappointed! 

  1. Golden Gate Bird Alliance Membership $35-50

Alright, shameless plug and an auto-include. But come on folks, you didn’t think I was just going to leave out gifting a membership to one of your loved ones, right? Giving the gift of a Golden Gate Bird Alliance membership is not only great for birds in the Bay Area, it’s great for the recipient who can use their membership to get 20% off all of our birding classes and receive a print-copy of our quarterly magazine! Call (5108432222) or email us at info@goldengatebirds.org and we’ll get you all set up!

  1. Sapphic Bushtit’s Zines, Holiday Cards and Prints $4-8

I’m not trying to play favorites here, but I’m so excited to include Skylar Wang’s amazing artwork and zines in this list! One of our very own 2023 Birding For Everyone Fellows, Skylar is giving us zines (small DIY publications) titled “Trash Birds: A Photo zine about Gulls” and “OwlBoy” which I assume to be some beautiful photos of burrowing owls??? In the mix, are holiday cards featuring Gay Cardinals, a small ID guide to Crows and Ravens, and some beautiful photo prints. If you had a chance to make it out to the Berkeley Bird Festival this past year, you might have seen our zine-making workshop, that was Skylar. 

  1. Two Poetry Books… 

As a poet myself, I felt like offering up one book of poetry was simply not enough. Luckily we have some wonderful poets in our Golden Gate Bird Alliance community who continue to write on birds. 

David Rice’s Sequela $8 

A couple of weeks ago David Rice wrote up a blog to share his latest book “Sequela”, a book of Tanka poems that contend with the current climate crisis. It is a wonderful and important read for all of us concerned with the impact of climate change on birds and wildlife writ large. I’m not sure what else to say but to suggest; the poems are beautiful, devastating and real. To say nothing of Tex Buss’s wonderful contributions of illustration. 

James Roethe’s Poetry Takes Flight $30

And then there is James Roethe’s “Poetry Takes Flight: Birds of California”. This is a book that answers the question, what if a Bird ID field guide was written by a poet. With almost 80 different species represented, each with an accompanying photo and poem, I highly recommend birding by poetry with Roethe’s book. There is nothing but reverence displayed in the work, where each piece is essentially an ode to a particular species as well as a  field guide for understanding physical characteristics, behavior, habitat of each. 

  1. CatioSpaces’ Catio Plans or Custom Design $35+ (Plans), Price Varies for Custom Built Catio

Alright, this one is for all of you cat-owners and lovers (myself included). Being a cat owner and a bird lover are not incompatible identities, but you know what they say, “with great cats comes great responsibility.” While some of us are completely fine with keeping our cats indoors to keep them and birds from danger, it’s always nice to give your cats the option of feeling the breeze on their fur and catching the scents of the outdoors. Enter catios. CatioSpaces sells both design plans and custom catio builds that give your feline friend(s) a safe enclosed space to explore. 

  1. Bird Safe Window Deflectors and Decals $8-10

We’ve been working hard to try and protect birds from fatal window collisions in San Francisco, Oakland, and most recently Berkeley through advocating for strong bird-friendly building ordinances. While these efforts have been largely successful for the buildings they do cover, we know that so many collisions take place in residential neighborhoods, against homes and apartments. To better co-exist with your feathered neighbors, setting up deflectors and decals to make windows more visible to them is surely a worthwhile effort and definitely something we support!