We had two booths at Bird Watch America, a Vortex booth with Donald and Lillian Stokes
featuring their line of binoculars and scopes and a Sheltered Wings booth show casing Vortex Optics and Audubon Binoculars. That's fellow employee Adam pictured left with the Don Stokes. As you can see they had their work cut out for them at the Vortex booth since many people came by to meet the Stokes, see their binoculars and get an autographed book.
The Sheltered Wings booth was a happening place too, we were giving away free Vortex travel mugs and had a coffee maker on hand to fill them up. Bobby Harrison of ivory-bill discovery fame stopped by, so who wouldn't want to talk to him while waiting for their coffee. That's Bobby and Dan down below talking to buyers about our new binoculars.
I kind of bounced around all over the place. For me it was fun to stop by and hang out at the WildBird Magazine booth or the Bird Watcher's Digest booth to catch up with Amy and BT3. I also wanted to check out the new products soon to be available and catch up with people I hadn't met before or seen in awhile. I saw my old boss Dave Netten from All Seasons Wild Bird Store. In a way it was kind of like meeting up with an old school teacher. Even though you're and adult, you still think of and old teacher as a teacher and behave yourself in a certain way. So when I was around Dave I found myself going into employee mode--trying to behave myself (not that I was very good at that anyway). I also met the ladies of Cardinal Corner. I told Non Birding Bill that these would be people we would be friends with in our regular circle. I could hear his eyes roll over the cell phone and I said, "Seriously, I think we could have drinks with them in a a non birding capacity." He still seemed skeptical.
I got paid the best compliment while at the show. A man from Maine came up to me and said that he and his wife had heard me talking about how much I enjoy working in a bird store and he and his wife decided to open their own bird store last June. I would love to link or list their store but I can't find their card, when I do I'll list the store, I just haven't finished unpacking yet. I think I'll be a the ABA convention in June, which is in Maine so if I end up going I want to check out their store.
Couple of items to look for in the future (more reviews coming):
Here we have John Wadie of NovaBird who is proudly displaying their Bluebird Jail mealworm feeder. This feeder is designed to allow bluebirds or any other bird smaller than that like a chickadee to feast on mealworms without worrying about grackles and other blackbirds taking over. It's design comes from Dave Ahlgren a well known bluebird expert and bluebird house maker.
Like many bluebird feeders, you'll need to kind of "train" your birds into using this style of feeder, but once bluebirds and chickadees figure it out, it should be used on a regular basis. I wonder if an orange or red ribbon was attached to it in spring, if orioles would use it too?
This was new. These are plastic bags use for either sunflower seed, Nyjer seed or hummingbird nectar. Each bag has only one feeding port and when the seed is gone can be thrown away. I think this is an innovative idea and there is definitely a market for it. Part of me says that throwing away a plastic bag every time you need to fill a feeder seems wasteful, however quite a bit of seed comes in plastic bags and where is that going. Also, I have seen more than my share of nasty, cruddy feeders that need to be cleaned and if someone would rather buy a new feeder than cleaning out a traditional feeder I'm all for that. The fewer dirty feeders the better. I am concerned that the finch feeder only has one perch, because when people tend to get finches they tend to get thirty at a time and not one. The designer of the feeder told me that he only gets one or two at a time, but that could be a regional difference.