There are dozens and dozens of awesome bird books out there, but Garden Birds in Southern Africa by Duncan Butchart is going to have a special spot on my shelves since it's such a handy little volume. Southern Africa is blessed with rich birdlife, with many species' range in fact having increased over the years since our urban environments provide new opportunities (um, hello, hadeda ibises, Egyptian geese, and guinea fowl, among many). Even more so with savvy gardeners who create environments that provide not only feeding, but nesting for birds.
Butchart discusses how folks can make their garden more bird-friendly, not only by investing in the kinds of plants and trees that provide food, shelter and nesting spots, but also how to set up different habitats (such as ponds, thickets or feeding tables) that will satisfy different ecological niches. He also looks at bird behaviour in general before launching into a list of 101 of the most common garden birds in southern Africa. This obviously not an exhaustive list, but he's taken care to select a range that will cover most bases – giving a photograph with a basic description, range and behaviour.
Lastly, he also gives a small list of trees that avid gardeners can plant that will provide either nesting, food opportunities or attract the kinds of prey birds might take. He finishes with a list of national botanical gardens that are worth a visit.
This is the kind of book that will also make an ideal gift for friends or family you know who might be interested in getting into birding or who are already into gardening (or getting into it, and what to be more environmentally conscious). With so much pressure put on our natural spaces thanks to pollution and encroachment, our own gardens provide such important environments for other species – so this book is filled with plenty of useful information to get nature-lovers bringing a little more wilderness closer to home.