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Great Gifts That Do Good: A Bird Lover’s Guide

Eastern Bluebirds by Tami Gingrich/GBBC.
Eastern Bluebirds by Tami Gingrich/GBBC.

Holiday season is a wonderful time to let friends and family know how much they mean—but holiday shopping isn’t always easy on the world’s natural resources. If you’re looking for ways to say “I treasure you” to your loved ones and to the planet simultaneously, we’ve got a few good ideas that combine gift-giving with sustainability.

Put some shade in their mug. Drinking shade-grown coffee is possibly the easiest way to make a daily investment in saving habitat for migratory birds. And it’s an economic boost for coffee farmers, too. Smithsonian-certified Bird-Friendly coffee is organic, fair-trade, and meets the highest criteria for shade coffee habitat. Birds & Beans coffee roasters use 100% certified Bird-Friendly coffee: order it online or find out where to buy Bird-Friendly coffee near you.

Help make their windows safer. Window collisions kill more than 500 million birds each year in the U.S. alone. Although hawk decals are popular as “fixes,” they don’t work nearly as well as bird tape or the “zen curtain” design of Acopian bird savers (tip: if you’re into DIY, the website even has instructions for making the curtains yourself). The American Bird Conservancy has more on window safety.

Give a gift made of something real. It can be hard to avoid disposable packaging and single-use items these days—but plastic pollution is a gargantuan problem that is putting seabirds at risk (not to mention fish, whales, turtles, and the microscopic marine food web). Reusable gifts can become cherished keepsakes, so look for canvas tote bags, reusable coffee cups, bamboo straws, and products made of paper or wood rather than plastic.

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Help them go native. If there’s a gardener on your list, give them what they need to plant native species. Native plants do a better job of supporting our native bird species, and they harmonize with the native communities in nearby wild spaces. Our bird-friendly home page has a handful of articles to help you select everything from seeds to native plants.

Don’t just recycle, cycle. Biking is a great way to stay in shape, have fun on a birding outing, explore a neighborhood, and get to work, all without using a whiff of fossil fuels. Live in a hilly area? eBikes are becoming easier to find and have a much lighter footprint than taking a car. Bonus: no time spent looking for parking spots or trekking from parking lot to destination.

Shop with us and support our cause: Check out these gifts from the Cornell Lab. They’re sure to make the bird lover on your list smile, and they help support our mission, too:

The Cornell Lab

All About Birds
is a free resource

Available for everyone,
funded by donors like you

American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library