Thursday, August 28, 2008

Texas Butterflies

Looking for a splash of color for the yard, then check out the unique yard accents made by Texas Butterflies.

Made of strong non-yellowing acrylic, there are three styles to chose from: Monarch, Swallowtail, and Lacewing (aka Admiral) in a variety of color combinations. The butterflies come in two sizes, Large have a 21" - 22" wingspan and Smalls have a 12" - 14" wingspan.

The wings are screen-printed with non-fading commercial sign paints and sealed with ultra-violet curing. The bodies are spray-painted with an acrylic enamel paint that will not chip or fade. All parts are specially made to withstand all weather.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Birdola Going For A Record!

From The Grand Rapids Press:

Birdola Products' seed cakes are meant to be hung from trees, but the one made to set a world record is a bit too heavy for that.

To mark the Northwest Side company's 20th anniversary, a 700-pound wildlife seed cake will be unveiled Wednesday at Blandford Nature Center, where birds, squirrels and other critters will do the real celebrating.

"We expect it to last three months," said Kristin Tindall, ecology education coordinator at Blandford, whose desk faces the feeding area where titmice, chickadees and woodpeckers gather with chipmunks and squirrels. "It's like a picture out of 'Snow White' here."

The privately held company's goal is to convince the Guinness World Records to recognize the 5-by-4-foot, 14-inch-thick seed cake in a new category.

Becoming the first seed cake record-holder might be fitting for the company, which says it invented bird seed cakes and now sells more than any other company nationally.

"We've grown considerably in the last 20 years," said President Frank Hoogland, who owns Birdola with Grand Rapids businessmen Dan Pfeiffer and Rich Postma.

"We continue to develop new products and pursue new markets. We hope to keep that trend continuing."

Birdola's employees, who number 30 to 35, have the capacity to manufacture up to 14,000 seed cakes a day at its Broadway Avenue NW plant. And during busy times, it does, Marketing Manager Rick Savino said.

The seeds are held together by a vitamin-laden protein binder the company developed when the founder, the late Don Metz, searched for a way to reduce mess and waste at bird feeders.

Today, truckloads of sunflower seeds come in from the Dakotas, peanuts from Georgia, millet from Colorado and nyjer seed from Pakistan, Myanmar and India.

Cherries and blueberries sometimes come from Michigan, but with prices up "tremendously" for all commodities, Savino said, the company tries to find the lowest prices at the right standards.

"Like anyone else, our margins are squeezed," he said. "Sales are a little bit soft right now."

When it comes to the choice of feeding wild birds or the dog during tough times, Birdola's "bird granola" gets left on the shelf.

But the company sees several hopeful signs.

First, more people are staying home, often gardening, and may pick up bird watching as a way to enjoy their yards. Second, the population is aging, and it is the settled-in segment that feeds birds.

Savino adds it is more important than ever to feed birds because their natural habitats are decreasing.

Meanwhile, large national chains and mom-and-pop stores are carrying Birdola's 45 products. Locally, Meijer, Family Fare and D&W Fresh Markets carry the lines, including the best-selling, 2-pound Birdola Plus Cakes that hold together even when pecked.

National chains that sell their products include Petco, PetSmart, Lowe's and Menards.

Company officials hope a world-record cake will bring a little more attention to their products.

At the very least, the birds will be happy.

"It will give all the birds a feast for the balance of the summer and well into the fall," Hoogland said.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bird Vibes

You know how customers come into your store and ask for the latest, the very latest and newest in birding? Well, kids, this is it, something completely new:

Bird Vibes is a deck of 54 meditation cards based on bird species in North America. The birds are grouped by eight chakras according to the bird's color, habitat or other characteristics, with an additional card for each season. Each card shows a different bird through reproductions of paintings commissioned from Ottawa nature painter, Heather Bale. The cards are printed on FSC certified paper (the wood comes from well-managed forests, independently certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council).

This was originally self-published in Ottawa in May 2007 and then published by Baico in December 2007. The second edition took into account comments from birders and Bird Vibes and is now sold in various book stores and nature gift shops in Canada and the U.S.A. Posters of the artwork are also available.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bird Of Paradise Collection From Audubon

Woodlink's Audubon Brand has a Bird of Paradise Line of poles, bird feeders, and bird baths:

Product Code: NACBATH1

Product Code: NAYHB1

Product Code: NABPFLY

Product Code: NABPO1 (There's even a mealworm feeder...if you are one of the few stores that can still get them during the shortage). Fortunately, this feeder will also work for grape jelly and orange halves as well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bill Fenimore Wins ANOTHER Award

Bill Fenimore, owner of a Wild Birds Center in Layton, UT was recognized earlier this summer with an award from the American Birding Association and has now been recognized by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.

Fenimore was awarded the Roger Tory Peterson Nature Education Achievement Award that spotlights individuals and their communities to stimulate others to improve and expand the quality of nature education programs across the country. Fenimore conducts seminars and workshops on "Backyard Birding Basics" and "Landscaping for Wildlife". He also leads field trips on nature, with a bird focus through his store.

Congratulations, Bill, and how do you do it all and still run a successful store?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scotts Sues Avian Advisors

From the Philadelphia Business Journal:

The ownership of bird food isn’t mere bird seed to Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. The Marysville lawn-and-garden products manufacturer is suing Avian Advisors LLC, a Fort Worth, Texas-based bird food development business, and its president, Mario Olmos, alleging breach of contract.

Scotts filed two provisional patent applications with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in June for new bird foods, identifying Olmos as the inventor, according to the lawsuit, which was filed July 30 in U.S. District Court in Columbus. Scotts claims those foods, which weren’t identified, were developed for Scotts while Avian Advisors was a consultant to the company.

Scotts asked Olmos to sign assignment documents, which would transfer the right, title and interest in the products to a Scotts subsidiary. Olmos refused.

Scotts declined to comment on the suit, and Avian Advisors’ lawyer said he expects to suit to be dismissed.

According to the suit, Scotts and Avian Advisors signed a consulting agreement in August 2007 to develop bird foods. The accord stated Scotts would own the patents and intellectual property created for it by Avian Advisors.

They entered a second agreement in April, which also was for the research and development of bird food and also would give Scotts ownership of any inventions. Scotts asked that the assignment documents be signed, but the defendants, through their counsel, “have indicated that other inventions, discoveries or improvements have been developed by Avian Advisors and Olmos during the provision of services to Scotts,” according to the lawsuit.

Scotts is demanding Avian Advisors and Olmos be ordered to carry out their end of the contract and that he sign the assignment documents. The company also wants the two to turn over all inventions, discoveries or improvements, even if they’re not patented. Scotts also is seeking compensatory damages.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Revamped Peterson Bird Guide

Houghton Mifflin has released a new version of the classic Peterson Field Guide to Birds. Some of the changes include:

• 40 new paintings

• Digital updates to Peterson’s original paintings, reflecting the latest knowledge of bird identification

• All new maps for the most up-to-date range information available--also, smaller maps are now on the same page as the bird species description, as well as larger, more detailed maps in the back.

• Text rewritten to cover the U.S. and Canada in one guide

• Contributors include: Michael DiGiorgio, Jeff Gordon, Paul Lehman, Michael O’Brien, Larry Rosche, and Bill Thompson III

• Includes URL to register for access to video podcasts