The Skunk Corner
Christmas Gifts for the Wildlife Enthusiast
The fall and winter are great times for observing wildlife. Different species of birds show up in backyards, rain may fill creeks with water, and the earlier sunset makes it convenient to go looking for owls and other night animals. It's also the time to start thinking about Christmas, so here are a few gift ideas for the wildlife enthusiasts in your life.
A New Type of Birdfeeder
Birdfeeders come in many shapes, sizes, and specialties. If someone you know loves birds, even if they already have a feeder or two, they might appreciate one tailored to specific feathered friends or one that gives more viewing opportunities. For example, a feeder designed to hold Niger (thistle) seed attracts visitors such as finches and juncos that might not eat from a standard mixed-seed feeder. Some feeders hold orange slices for orioles. Some hold standard birdseed and can be attached to windows for close-up viewing. There are plenty of options.
An Infrared Wildlife Camera
Some wildlife enthusiasts are interested in harder-to-observe wildlife, including nocturnal animals. These people might enjoy an infrared camera, also called a trailcam, which senses when an animal walks by and takes photos or video footage of it. This device can be attached to a tree or structure overnight and then checked for pictures in the morning. Many cost about $100, some even less, but you may want to avoid the cheapest ones and choose one from a reputable brand such as StealthCam.
A Flashlight, Headlamp, or Bike Light
A good-quality flashlight goes a long way for people who enjoy observing wildlife at night. Many of the ones being sold currently are rechargeable, so that disposable batteries are not necessary. Headlamps tend to be useful because you can use them hands-free, as well as bike lights for people who enjoy riding through areas frequented by nocturnal animals.
A Guide to Local Wildlife
There are many great field guides that identify birds, mammals, bugs, trees, and more. Visit a local bookstore or the Botanic Garden and you may even find a guide specific to Santa Barbara.