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Best Birding Retailer Awards - Birding Retailers to be Recognized

Birding Business magazine and Gold Crest Distributing are looking for a few good retailers – especially those engaged in the bird watching/ bird feeding business.
The two organizations recently announced plans to scour the country looking for the best birding specialty stores and wild bird departments. Candidates will be nominated both by vendors and via a search committee.

“This industry needs to recognize excellence in retailing and advancement of the hobby of birding,” says Grant Toellner, Vice-President of Gold Crest. “There are scores of stores out there doing a remarkable job of educating customers, merchandising, marketing, and impacting their communities with a wild bird emphasis.  We want to see the front-line leaders recognized for their contributions.”

Initial categories for the Best Birding Retailers awards will be:

Best Store with a Birding Emphasis  - (Over 3-years in operation)

Best Store with a Birding Emphasis - (Less than 3-years in operation)

Best Birding Department  - (in a multi-Line store) 



Best Birding Department - (as a funding source for a non-profit organization)

A candidate Search Committee will present their findings and recommendations in April, 2015 to the Award Selection Team. The AST, made up of birding products industry leaders, will further evaluate the candidates. Criteria considered include sales volume (total and per/sq. ft.), growth trends, product lines, merchandising, advertising, customer communication (websites, social media), and overall operations outreach to the community.

Winning Retailers and runners-up will be announced at the 2015 Wild Bird Expo, October 6-8, in Mexico, MO. Articles about the winners will be published in Birding Business.

Further information will be published in upcoming issues of Birding Business. Nomination forms are available by emailing Gold Crest at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For additional information contact Grant Toellner, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or BB Publisher Ray David, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


CLIMATE CHANGE ALTERS CAST OF WINTER BIRDS

MADISON, Wis. —Over the past two decades, resident communities of birds visiting eastern North America’s backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate.  The journal Global Change Biology says University of Wisconsin-Madison wildlife biologists Benjamin Zuckerberg and Karine Princé have documented that once rare wintering bird species are becoming commonplace in the American Northeast.

Data gathered over twenty years on 38 species through Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feederwatch shows that birds typically found in more southerly regions are gradually pushing north, restructuring the communities of birds that spend their winters in northern latitudes.

An estimated 53 million Americans maintain feeding stations near their homes, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, suggesting that increases in some species may be attributable to more readily available sources of food. However, that figure has remained constant, reflecting only a slight decline since 1991, indicating that environmental factors beyond the availability of food sources are at play. The changes in the mix of overwintering bird species is occurring against a backdrop of more variable and intense precipitation events, and a shorter snow season, overall. Climate models predict even warmer temperatures occurring over the next 100 years, with seasonal climate effects being the most pronounced in northern regions of the world.



Armstrong Milling Acquires Scotts’ Canadian Bird Food Business

Armstrong Milling Company Limited, a leading Canadian manufacturer of premium wild bird and caged pet food announced their acquisition of Scotts' Canadian wild bird food business from subsidiaries of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. 

The acquisition of brands Morning Melodies™ and Nutri Thrive™ add strength to Armstrong’s product selection, and will expand the company’s ability to communicate and educate the benefits of wild bird feeding to consumers.  "Armstrong has been packaging the Scotts brands in Canada for over seven years and is excited to take on the added role of marketing a great Canadian brand" says Ken Zantingh, Co-founder and principle of Armstrong Milling.  "We expect to supply the customer base 100% complete and on time over the transition period and for many years to come."

With more than 60 employees and 50,000 square feet of state-of-the-art production and distribution facilities the company’s flow-through racking ensures the seed being shipped is always fresh. And as one of the first wild bird food packers to achieve a Safe Quality Foods (SQF) level 3 certificate from NSF International, Armstrong is an industry leader in both manufacturing and product quality.


SWAROVSKI Announces New
Web Series & Scope Giveaway
Sharon Stiteler of Birdchick.com and Swarovski’s Clay Taylor have created a new web video series which features great tips on birding and bird photography. Called Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, the videos are both entertaining through their use of comedy, and hugely informative, with Clay and Sharon sharing their knowledge of Swarovski products and providing tips to minimize common errors that can arise when birding.

What’s unique about this web series is that it is also a puzzle. The birds in each episode are a clue to the theme of the series. Anyone who correctly guesses the theme will be entered into a drawing for a SWAROVSKI OPTIK STS Spotting Scope!

Clay Taylor said, “The web series was a lot of fun to plan out and shoot – we obviously had a great time doing it. We both digiscoped lots of bird videos and stills, but Sharon had the hard job – deciding what clips and dialogue would make it into each episode. Honestly, we have enough material for another full series! I hope that our tips and field techniques are helpful to the viewers, especially the iPhone scoping sequences. Using a smart phone to digiscope birds is something that any birder can do with amazing results, and it has revolutionized bird record reporting.”

“I loved writing up humorous scenes around our bird videos and putting them together to form clues that people could guess to try to win a scope,” said Sharon. “This isn’t just an “Oh hey, look at that bird” type show, we’re also teaching birding and photography techniques in a fun way, often based on personal experience.”

Episode 1

Episode 2


Massachusetts City Considers Bird Feeding Ban

Holyoake, Mass. is considering a bird feeding ban that specifically targets migrating waterfowl such as gulls, ducks, geese and swans. The proposal comes after a study done by the Mass. Dept. of Conservation which determined that large numbers of birds were being fed in the area and then roost near Quabbin Reservoir, potentially increasing the bacteria levels of the town’s drinking supply. Dan Clark, Director of Natural Resources also noted that the food being left out for the birds is unhealthy, and may be contributing to changes to their migration.

Birders vs. Dog Owners in NYC
Tensions are rising between birders and dog owners in New York’s Prospect Park. Dogs are allowed off-leash in three meadows, but only before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m., and owners have been ignoring the time limits, or the dogs have simply been leaving their designated areas, and moving into birding habitat. Since New York is heavily urbanized, open spaces for both pets and wildlife are at a premium. The lack of enforcement of the area and a need for education of how domestic animals can damage migratory habitat have been blamed for exacerbating the problem.

 
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