Are you looking for custom made bird houses & feeders, homemade bird foods, and almost anything related to wild birds? If the answer is yes, then the Wild Bird Store is definitely a place to check out.
The Wild Bird Store is a second-generation family-owned and operated business. It was started back in 1992 by avid birding enthusiasts Jon and Shani Friedman. The Friedmans had a vision to build a local business that offered Tucsonans: a place to purchase products that they made, provide a store for some local artisan to sell their bird-related wares, and a place to find a selection of commercially manufactured items. Jon and Shani have since passed the torch to their son Justin and daughter-in-law Clarisa who have taken over the daily operations and joint ownership of the business.
When I first entered the store I was struck by how many spaces were just dedicated to housing and feeding wild birds. They hung from aisle racks, off the walls, were stacked on shelves and displayed on metal pole/hook systems. Many of their designs were collaborations with customers who needed something special. As the expression goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”. And as the Wild Bird Store fabricated solutions for their customer, these designs made their way onto the showroom floor, and are now a big part of what they sell. And if you don’t see what you want, they can likely build it for you in their woodshop – right on the premises.
And speaking wildlife houses, they even carry homes for bees (the solitary kind – typically Mason and Leafcutter) and bats. That’s right, bats. Their bat houses are designed and fabricated (in house) to support a colony of both males and females. A divider down the center of the interior rectangular wall hanging box separates the two genders – because that’s how bats like it.
You’ll also find an assortment of wild bird products made by local artisans including; houses by Karen Terranova; artwork by Katherine Hetzel and Tad Lamb; painted gourd bird feeders by Manny Garcia; and photographs by Rick Bishop.
And have you ever heard of a wild bird store that makes its own bird food? Well, Wild Bird Store does. They have a large commercial mixer that cranks out their exclusive mix called Nuts ‘n’ Bugs. It’s a combination of ground peanuts, dehydrated insects, calcium, soybean meal, and rendered suet. It has the consistency of putty and can be spread into the crevices of bark or packed into suet feeders (which the Wild Bird Store has special designs that they manufacture and sell). AND they blend and mold their own special recipe of seed cylinders – right on site. The same is true with Hummingbird Nectar – They make that too! Also carried are seeds and seed mixes by the bag or you can buy it by the pound. They have a variety of seeds and a scale that you can weigh-out what you need.
At the front of the store, you’ll find a selection of bird baths and about halfway into the store, you’ll find a whole section dedicated to Hummingbird feeders. There’s a great video on their website that talks about all-things Hummingbird and Jon Friedman’s favorite pick.
For the serious back yard birder, there’s a “Discount Club”. $16 will buy you a 13-month pass good for 5%-10% off the regularly advertised price of anything offered in the store. If you subscribe to their newsletter, the Wild Bird Store will let you know when they are having specials – which could save you anywhere from 10% – 50% off the retail price.
I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point. The Wild Bird Store is a special place to find many unique and innovative back yard bird products. The owners are extremely knowledgable, helpful, and just nice folks who love what they do and share their passion with enthusiasm. If you’re a long time lover of wild birds or just getting started then a trip to the Wild Bird Store will be an adventure, an education, and a lot of fun.