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This Store Isn't Just for Birds

February is National Bird Feeding Month so it's a good time to visit and learn some important lessons.

The which opened at Clock Tower Place in October, really isn't just for the birds. 

The first clue is the store's official greeter—not exactly who you might expect to find in such a store.  

Maverick ambles over with his cat-like, I-don't-care attitude, but it becomes immediately clear this cat not only cares, but cares a lot for visitors to the store—especially those who have fun things like pens.

Once past Maverick, the store offers an abundance of all things nature—books, gifts, toys, garden decor and then, yes of course, stuff for our feathered friends.

February is National Bird Feeding month, and typically, cold. Birds need all the help they can get staying warm, cozy and well fed. 

We all know this February hasn't been typical.

"The birds are a little confused because of the very warm weather we've been having," said Julie Curd, owner of Wild Bird Center of Annapolis. "A normal February birds need energy sources. They need to maintain their temperature during cold winter months."

What does that mean in warmer winters or even in summer months? Do they still need food provided to them?

"You should feed year-round," Curd said.

With loss of habitat, finding food throughout the year is becomes an issue for birds, she said.

"It is a misnomer that you shouldn't feed year-round," she said.

How did a woman with 20 years as a corporate executive, most of them spent in Nebraska, end up owning Wild Bird Center of Annapolis?

"I've been in Maryland now a little over two years," Curd said. "I love it. I love the Chesapeake Bay. I love Annapolis and I wanted to be in Annapolis and I wanted to start a business."

She found out the store, which had been located in West Annapolis, was for sale. And she knows a lot about birds, which doesn't hurt.

Why is it that some people have full feeders, but aren't attracting any birds?

"It's likely the quality of the seeds," Curd said. "People who fill millet primarily will end up feeding their lawn."

Oops. 

"If the seed is old and exposed for a long period of time, it can go stale," Curd continued.

Again, oops. 

"If a feeder is not clean, it can impact feeding habits and spread disease," she continued.

Insert guilty, horrified look here. 

She also mentioned hawks and cats in the area of the feeder as deterrents. 

"The placement of the feeder can impact how safe and attractive it is to a bird," Curd said.

So, it begs the question—what's the deal with a cat being inside a place called Wild Bird Center?

"He's an inside cat and inside cats and wild birds are very compatible," Curd said. "We're all about nature at this store."

Maverick seemed to agree as he once again swatted at the pen.

Clementine Fujimura February 13, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Great! That's why I have had absolutely no birds at my feeder... But also.... perhaps the seed is the wrong kind? I use safflower...
Donna L. Cole February 13, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Clementine - in yours and my case, we could probably add dogs to the list of deterrents too. Nevertheless, I'm still going to clean the feeder and switch feed.
John Wilfong February 13, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I have tried several different kinds of feed. All I found out is that the squirrels will eat basically anything.
Julie Curd February 13, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Clementine, Safflower is a favorite of the northern cardinals (which of course are gorgeous birds to attract to your yard). Another big plus of safflower is that many squirrels do not like it, but the downfall is that a lot of songbirds also do not love safflower and they will choose other seed sources before feeding at a feeder with only safflower. One of our most popular seed blends contains two types of sunflower seed (including the most nutritous black oil sunflower) along with nuts and safflower seed. The mix attracts a wide variety of birds and we have lots of options at the store to help keep the ever-persistent squirrels from eating the quality seed in feeders. Julie - Wild Bird Center of Annapolis

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