Most everyone likes wildlife -
some in the abstract, others up close 'n personal.
Well-chosen wildlife gifts can please them all.
Since prehistoric times, people have felt an affinity with wildlife. We admire birds and animals as symbols of strength, speed, cunning, even nobility. Wildlife gifts speak to people's love of animals and, when well chosen, can enhance the experiences that nature provides.
Enjoying wildlife in its natural habitat
If your recipient loves being outdoors - hiking, camping, hunting or fishing, boating, picnicking, gardening, environment conservation, or country life in general - one of these gifts will surely be appreciated:
- Binoculars - in the backyard or in the wild, your recipient can get a close look without startling shy animals (or inciting dangerous ones!).
- Digital camera - a gift for nature lovers that keeps on giving. Photos are great to frame, but also to document fish stories or rare creature sightings! Does your recipient already have a camera? An additional memory card or photo album will be welcome, maybe presented by a stuffed animal mascot.
- Wildlife motion-detection camera - to find out who is leaving those strange tracks or getting into your recipient's campsite or trash cans.
- Membership at a wildlife park or nature center - benefits often include discounts on special events or field trips and at the gift shop.
- One-year America the Beautiful pass to all U.S. National Parks and Federal Recreation Areas - $80 admits your recipient and 3 adults (children under 16 admitted free). Check out the $10 Senior Pass: lifetime admission for US seniors 62 and older!
- Items that attract wildlife are good gifts for nature lovers who have limited opportunities to get out into the wild. If your recipient can't go to wildlife's natural habitat, bring the wildlife to your recipient!
- Bird feeders - a reliable source of food and water will transform your recipients' yard, deck or balcony into a meeting place for birds. My mom's efforts even attracted pheasants! Don't forget a supply of seeds, suet and/or corn. A metal storage container with a tight cover will foil unwelcome varmints.
- An electronic birdsong identifier or a guidebook to local birds are wildlife gifts that will please and educate experienced birders as well as casual backyard nature lovers.
- A butterfly feeder and nectar will encourage close-up visits from some of nature's most colorful creatures.
A word of caution, though: think twice about gifts designed to attract other wildlife - some can be awful pests, and possibly dangerous. Raccoons sometimes carry rabies. Owls and coyotes have been known to attack household pets. Chipmunks lu-u-uv strawberries, and deer (as "endeering" as they are), will wreak havoc on gardens and shrubbery - we've seen them eat yucca and even holly. Skunks might... ah well, you already know that...
Wildlife gifts for deck, yard and garden
Wildlife sculpture is a popular alternative to watching real wildlife nibble on the shrubbery or garden - IF your recipient likes lawn statuary at all. Be careful to get a good idea of his/her tastes and style before choosing wildlife sculpture - especially for outdoors.
When in doubt, it's safer to choose a natural-looking wildlife statue, and save the whimsical or highly stylized wildlife sculpture for recipients who clearly like those styles.
A wildlife theme can be found on many decorative and functional gifts for yard and garden. Here are some examples:
- Doormat, boot scraper
- Door knocker
- Wind chimes
- Flags, banners
- Deck or lawn furniture, garden bench
- Plant containers
- Outdoor art for wall or fence
A weathervane makes a handsome gift for nature lovers. Weathervanes can be mounted on posts or on the deck, or on a roof or cupola. Smaller tabletop models are also available.
Topiary frames for wildlife-shaped plant sculptures come in all sizes, making them versatile wildlife gifts for yard or garden, or as accents for deck or indoor decoration. You can buy a frame pre-stuffed with moss to anchor plants or ivies. Topiary frames also make suitable supports for holiday lights.
Wildlife Gifts for Home and Office
Most nature lovers will be pleased with tasteful interior decor gifts with a wildlife theme. If your recipient admires a particular animal, bird, or fish, let that guide your choice! You might add to a collection, or your well-chosen gift might get a new collection started.
The list of household furnishings that make good wildlife-themed gifts is virtually endless:
- Dishes, serving pieces, trays
- Barware, ice bucket, stein/mug, coasters
- Tableware, tablecloth & napkins, placemats, hot pad
- Candle holders, matchboxes, fireplace items
- Clock, lamp
- Bed & bath linens, towels, shower curtain
- Pillows, slipcover, draperies, throw
- Carvings, figurines, collectibles
- Wall hangings - tapestries, wall sculpture
- Carved furniture - table, plant stand
- Bookends, magazine rack
- Jewelry box, valet
- Stained glass panel, suncatcher
- Letter opener, paperweight, mouse pad
- Stationery, note cards, diary/organizer cover
- Framed print/poster, painting, photo; calendar
- Holiday ornaments
- ...and so on!
Here's an idea that especially caught our eye: nicely detailed etched glass mirrors, coat racks, clocks and tabletops - attractive, quality wildlife gifts, don't you think?
For the home with just the right spot, a ceramic tile mural featuring birds or other wildlife is a striking gift for nature lovers. Do let your recipient(s) select the design!
Wildlife Gifts for Kids
What kid isn't intrigued by wildlife? One of my fondest early memories is walking in fields and woods with my big brother and scouting out holes in trees, along the brook, or in stone fences - where characters from Uncle Wiggily or the Old Mother West Wind tales might live.
Young nature lovers will enjoy wildlife T-shirts and other apparel. Let the child's age and interests guide you in choosing cute, furry animals, ferocious species, or favorite fictional animals. Accessories like belts, hats, or slippers are also popular.
Plush/stuffed animals are perennial favorites, and some kids enjoy collecting a favorite wildlife species. Audubon birds with real bird songs from the Cornell Lab are affordable wildlife gifts for little kids to give their siblings.
Kids' room furnishings with a wildlife theme are easy to find - bedding, throw pillow, sleeping bag, growth chart, or toy box are all good choices, as are school items like a backpack or lunchbox.
A wildlife mural for a playroom or kid's bedroom will encourage daily awareness of nature. You can choose a pre-printed mural or select a mural pattern/kit. Consult with your recipient's parents, and perhaps suggest a mural-painting party (include kids, if they're old enough - your recipient will be proud to be one of the artists!).
Nature magazine subscription - kids love to receive their own mail, and there are several excellent nature and wildlife magazines geared to various age groups. Here are just a few:
Books, games and puzzles featuring wildlife will bring hours of enjoyment. As your young recipient matures, an animal or endangered species chess set will continue to challenge and retain its entertainment value, and may ultimately become a treasured family heirloom.
Almost every kid will love an expedition to a zoo or wildlife preserve. Take along a camera, and frame a collage or one particularly nice individual print, or make up a photo album to commemorate the day.
For wildlife gifts that benefit wildlife, visit the World Wildlife Fund's online Adoption Center to sponsor a wild animal in your recipient's name. Many wildlife organizations have animal adoption programs - try searching on "sponsor wild animal" or "adopt wild animal" for a local program where your recipient can personally meet his/her sponsored animal.
Wildlife gifts help your recipients
to stay in touch with nature...
that's nutritious food for the soul!
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All photos courtesy of morguefile.com
Logo photo by Jane M. Sawyer; others as follows:
eagle: "canon" • nuthatch: "katmystiry" • otter: "monosodium"
hornbill: "cimeries" • elephant: "delboysafa" • pelicans: "clarita"