A perfect spot for birds, bird lovers.
Some people are fair weather birders, and some are just plain wild about birds. For those who fit into the second category, there is the perfect store with a great selection of houses and feeders, fresh seed and a big selection of unique accessories. It’s called Wild About Birds DYK, and it’s in Waite Park, next to Slumberland just 1/3 mile past Fleet Farm . “We are about 65 percent recycled and 80 percent American made,” said Bill “B.J.” Meierhofer, who owns Wild About Birds with his partner Ann Hiemenz. “This is really unusual in this type of business since so many of the feeders available come from China.” They take pride in the fact that the feeders they sell are easy to clean and durable, many with lifelong warranties. “We sell the same things that we use, and we are very picky about what we use,” said Meierhofer. All the steel in the store is powder coated and comes from Walker, Minn. “We have Corinthian Bells and Bells of Vienna from Manassas Park, Va., our shepherd hooks and modular screw-in pole systems are from Illinois, and nearly all our metal products come from America. What isn’t steel is copper, brass and bronze; we are proud to sell this type of quality.” The only American steel shepard hooks and modular pole systems for hanging feeders and plants available in central Minnesota come from Wild About Birds, says Meierhofer. “We just refuse to use the ‘pot metal’ that comes from China and India for our pole systems.” The pole systems they offer screw into the ground and just snap together in any configuration imagineable. Tube feeders offered by Wild About Birds come from Droll Yankee and Aspects are made with polycarbonate and have lifelong warranties. They can offer these warranties because polycarbonate is the same material used in motorcycle windshields and bulletproof glass. Droll Yankee has added Microban to their polycarbonate tubes to retard bacterial growth. Meierhofer also handcrafts some items right in the store, specializing in redwood feeders and birdhouses. “We are always looking for more sources of redwood to recycle, especially old siding and decks.” Bill uses longer screws with washers for strength and removable recycled aluminum for the drainage grates. He also adds stainless hanging cables or high carbon American steel flanges for pole mounting. Bill and Ann have years of birding experience, and they like to share their expertise with their customers. They want their customers to have the same success they have had in their backyard. “We understand that feeding the birds isn’t ‘rocket science,’ but there are some tricks that make it more fun; each type of bird has its idiosyncrasies. We walk people through them so they get maximum enjoyment out of feeding and housing the local and migratory birds and waterfowl.” Meierhofer also brings his birding and wildlife knowledge on the road, speaking at local retirement communities, schools and Master Gardener shows when time allows. Not only are Bill and Ann passionate about birds, they are also passionate about customer service. They are happy to help their customers with the right products and service to make caring for the birds a fun and rewarding experience. Wild About Birds is also the only 5 Feather Platinum Droll Yankees dealer/repair/replacement center in central Minnesota. “I fixed a feeder for a lady one time, and after I got done fixing it, she asked me, ‘How much do I owe you?’ I said, ‘Nothing, it has a lifetime warranty.’ She said, ‘but I bought it in 1969.’ I said, ‘Cool, that is when the Droll Yankees company started. Nonetheless, it is a lifetime warranty.’ She said, ‘But I don’t have a receipt and I didn’t buy it from you.’ I said, ‘Why do you want to fight with me?’” She left with a like-new feeder and a smile on her face. And Wild About Birds even fixes products purchased at another store. “We not only honor our competitors coupons, we honor their warranty. So if someone buys a Droll Yankees feeder, Aspects feeder or Birds Choice feeder at my competitor, I will fix or replace it here.” One of the staples of Wild About Birds is the quality bird seed. “We get our seed in weekly, and we only buy 99 and 100 percent clean,” said Meierhofer. “We do not add fillers, like millet or corn, in our mixes. We have no competition on quality of seed; it’s simply the best around.” For those serious about birding, quality seed is of the utmost importance, says Meierhofer. We love the birds, but it’s important to know that birds have no loyalty to man, and they have wings, so, like humans, they go to the food sources they like and will leave you if your neighbor is offering better cover and food.” Wild About Birds has about 35 feeders outside the store and hundreds of regular winged visitors. “Stop by the store and enjoy watching the birds,” said Meierhofer. Wild About Birds is open weekdays, 10-6; Saturday, 10-4; and Sunday 12-4. Their phone number is 320-251-8949.