|Christmas List for Adults|
|November 20, 2008|
|Last year at this time I did a Christmas list for young birders. This year I’d like to do a short list for adult birders who think they already have everything they need. They may have the latest field guides and apparel, but let me suggest three cool things which will help them branch out and delve more deeply into their avocation.
An annual state parks pass
Arizona’s state parks preserve some of our most scenic and historic areas from development and overcrowding, so it’s no coincidence that they also provide some of our state’s best habitat for birds, a fact often overlooked by many birders, particularly during winter. The term “snowbird” may apply figuratively to visitors of our own species from the north, but it also applies literally to avian visitors from the north and from Mexico.
This large format book is a fascinating account by Amadeo Rea of the prominent place that birds held in the culture of the Native Americans who occupied central and southern Arizona before us. It speaks to the origins of their folklore in their proximity to the natural world, a proximity which we have lost. They knew, for example, that the common poorwill hibernated in winter, a fact not known to modern ornithology until quite recently. Wings in the Desert, published by the University of Arizona Press, is $70.
This huge, 18 volume reference work, a ten year project of Cornell University covering everything you’d ever want to know about every breeding species in North America, is now available by subscription online for the price of a magazine. You can put this virtual ornithological library at your favorite birder’s fingertips for just $5 for 30 days or $42 a year.