Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hawk gifts for the holidays

On my own blog I've always thrown together some ideas for what to get the avid birder in your life for a Holiday Gift. This year I thought I try and pick out some rare gems that might be cherished by the most avid of your hawkwatching friends. Or maybe you can just add them to the list you send to Santa.

Hawkwatching T-shirts - Birdspot
Cool Apparel 
I know it’s winter, but nothing makes a HMANA Winter Raptor Survey (details here) go more smoothly than having a comfortable and super cool hawk t-shirt on beneath your layers of smartwool and silk long underwear. I may be a little biased, but I reckon there probably aren’t many super cool t-shirts designed by hawkwatchers for hawkwatchers; including my favorite ‘I watch hawks. For a living.’ You can find more cool hawkwatching shirts here.

For the ladies, perhaps something a little more swanky to wear: how about these super cute bird necklaces and earrings from Piper NYC (here).

And on the practical level: keep the sun off your head or neck, create a temporary sling, have a cloth for cleaning up spills and be able to twitch birds in dodgy Los Angeles neighborhoods (choose colors carefully). All that, and use that same item for identifying the raptor that just flew over your head: Hawk Mountain Hawk Bandana (here).

HMANA Membership, Hawkcount etc
Give the gift of giving. If you want to do something awesome for hawks, hawkwatches and hawkwatchers this holiday, perhaps a gift membership of the Hawk Migration Association of North America (membership page here), sign up to support the hawkcount page of your local hawkwatch (here) or if you really want to treat yourself perhaps join us for a trip to witness the majesty of hawk migration at Braddock Bay or the Florida Keys next year (here).

Though a classic in the UK (rated as one of the ten best British Movies of all time by the BFI) I don't think many US movie fans are aware of the wonderful Kes. The story line revolves a young teenage outsider who finds purpose when he starts to train a Kestrel he takes from a nest from a local farm. It's an awesome movie and probably the only one where a hawk takes center stage. It's also rated by the BFI as one of their top fifty children's films. Available on Amazon (here).

There have been a slew of excellent raptor ID books in recent years. The reworked classic Hawks in Flight and Jerry Liguori's two guides have set the bar pretty high. This year saw the release of the Crossley Raptor Guide. The guide takes Crossley's innovative approach to field guides and is a book any hawkwatching aficionado would want in their library (available in all good stores). You, or the recipient of the gift, can come and get it signed by Richard himself at the HMANA Conference in April (find out more here)

I've been lucky enough to be asked to review Conor Mark Jameson's Looking for the Goshawk. It's a fine read and definitely one that those with an interest in raptors and raptor conservation will have an interest in. It's combines being both nicely written as well as being informative.

Beyond the world of just raptors, the book of the year bird wise in many estimations is Mark Cocker's Birds and People. The book charts mans relationships with birds and their importance to us as simply food or as part of our recreation, art, origin stories and religion. The photography by David Tipling (website here) only adds to this fantastic tome. 
Adopt a Hawk - BBRR 
Adopt a Hawk
This always struck me as being the awesome gift for the birder/hawkwatcher who has everything - their own bird. Worth noting that you don't get to actually take the hawk home, as one of the 'adopters' at Braddock Bay thought one time - bless 'em. What you do get though is an awesome image of your bird a certificate with details on the bird and the promise that you will be updated if the bird is recaptured in the future. I know Hawk Ridge in Duluth have this as an option to support their work (here) and so does Braddock Bay Raptor Research (here) and I am sure there are others.

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