Thursday, September 6, 2007

Binoculars-Give The Gift

The calendar doesn't say summer is over, but the leaves falling from walnut trees, a Burning Bush that has been turning red for several weeks now, and fall migration all signal summer is coming to an end. I think of beautiful fall days ahead but dread the winter weather which follows. So for now I will bask in the still warm days and relax while watching the increased bird visits to my yard as they start the journey to their winter homes.

Thanks to a tip from a visitor to our Eagle Optics showroom, I finally had consistent visits this summer to my hummingbird feeder. Our customer told me to mix one-third cup of sugar to one cup of water, instead of the typical one-fourth to one. I took her advice and got early activity from Baltimore Orioles andEO Voyager at pond-Ben and Andy4 T.jpg consistent visits from a pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. When at home, I am captivated by the current hummingbird activity surrounding their feeder. Thanks to Mike McDowell I learned the constant, almost ballet-like battles recently taking place are the territorial behavior of my hummingbird pair not wanting to share food with migrating hummingbirds. I am so intrigued by the vigilance of the female perched in the Prairie Fire Crab tree next to "her feeder". She spots an interloper long before I am aware of its presence and quickly chases it to the outskirts of our yard. Her efforts seem extreme, but she is abundantly more spellbinding than any reality television show.

As I watch nature's clashes for survival, I am reminded of my attempt to interest a great-great aunt in birdwatching. Upon her retirement at 85 years of age, I bought her a finch feeder to put outside her window. I had recently discovered American Goldfinches and was sure they would bring enjoyment to her now that she was home during the day. I was wrong. She was totally aggravated by the birds fighting for positions at the feeder, so down came the feeder. Although birdwatching was not a gift she could appreciate at the age of 85, I have to believe there are many people in your life who will enjoy the enchantment of birds and nature right in their backyard.

When I started to work at Eagle Optics a year ago, I was a longtime backyard bird lover with a very dismal pair of compact binoculars. Access to bright (but not necessarily expensive) binoculars has opened a new world for me. My family is finally getting used to me being lured away from dinner and grabbing binoculars to take a look at birds visiting the feeders. The plumage detail, bathing rituals, feeding habits---even my first look at a hummingbird's tongue, would not be possible without binoculars. Nature lovers can't help but be bewitched by such details when readily available through the right pair of binoculars.

With the holidays getting closer, I will be offering sport optics gift ideas in all price ranges from our many great manufacturers. Consider giving the gift of binoculars---except maybe to your 85 year old great-great aunt.


Eagle Optics Staff

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