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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Backyard Birders Buy Lots of Wild Bird Products

By Melissa Kauffman

Editorial Director, BowTie Incorporated

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I suppose that because I love pet birds, I would naturally love wild birds. Not only do I love them, but my pet birds find them interesting, too. Well, not the hawks and the crows; my pet birds don’t like them.

However, just as I buy my pet birds plenty of bird food and bird-food accessories, I also buy plenty of products for the wild birds. Moreover, I am certainly not alone, as one study reported that 48 million people in the United States watch birds. The same report stated that birders spent $36 million on their wild bird hobby in 2006.

I’ve noticed that some pet retailers have started to stock less and less wild bird supplies for people’s backyards. I know one pet store that placed its wild-bird products by its cat section. Predator products versus prey products…hmmm. I guess the pet store owner didn’t know about the wild birds versus pet cats controversy.

I buy my wild birdseed and wild birdseed trays when I am at the pet store. I pick up food for all the pets at the same time. I am not sure why some pet stores are stocking less wild bird supplies. Perhaps these retailers believe that they can’t compete against the grocery stores, or the WalMarts and Targets. I know the people at the mass-market stores don’t have more expertise than the independents do on what to feed and how to feed wild birds.

Wild bird people need help just as much as pet people. Well-informed pet retailers who can help their wild bird customers will retain those customers.

People who feed wild birds want to know what is the best food to attract these birds.Click here for more information.

They also want to know which bird-food feeders are best for those birds.

Basically, they want to know what works. If pet stores could sell the wild-bird products that work best on attracting the most popular native wild birds for the area the pet store’s customers live in, they could sell more wild bird products. However, they would also need trained staff and great signage and educational handouts.

I spoke to Amy Hooper, editor of the well-known magazine Wild Bird. She recommends contacting your local chapter of the National Audubon Society, whose members will be able to give you a list of the local wild birds, and the best wild-bird seeds and feeders to attract them. Amy also shared a couple of items that she recommended most in the video above.

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