I'm impressed with how well all of you blog readers were able to id Lillian Stokes from the back. You guys are good. I'm sure she and Bobby Harrison were talking all things ivory-bill, but I did like the suggestion by one commenter that they were actually discussing Cinnamon.
Okay, I think I have figured out a way to divide up all the fun stuff I saw at Bird Watch America. I'm still getting emails with photos and information so some reviews are waiting in the wings. I just want to say for the record that products I talk about are ones that tickle my personal fancy. I'm not paid to talk about items. I have been hired by companies to consult on marketing and product development but I'm fortunate to be in a position that I only work with a product (and people) I genuinely like and one that I personally would use.
I'm tough on bird feeders and squirrel proofing from my years working at a bird store. I can spot a loophole for squirrels and raccoons at first glance. It's hard to impress me with feeders. I try to avoid talking about products that don't appeal to my personal sense of style or that I think will not work well--unless it's potentially harmful to birds. But just because I don't care for something, doesn't mean that it won't work well for someone else, so it's just best I keep my mouth shut.
There weren't too many bird feeders that really bowled me over in innovation. One that really sticks out is the Squirrel-Off, the solar powered bird feeder. There have been solar powered squirrel proof feeders in the past, but they were very expensive. I believe this one will retail between $150 - $180--which isn't bad for what this feeder does and how much food it holds. It has a solar panel on top and when a squirrel touches either the two bottom perch bars or the roof and one of the perches it gets a zap--nothing lethal, about like licking a 9-volt battery (yes, I've done it). Birds will not get zapped by the feeder due to their biological make up in their feet.
It has many of the features I look for--comes apart for easy cleaning, holds lots of seed and can see if the feeder is full or empty, can be hung or pole mounted, has an attractive design that allows for several types of birds to feed. The company has been making solar powered feeders for years, I carried one when I was at the Minnetonka Wild Bird Store but I want to say that it was about $500. It's nice to see it has come down to a more affordable price. The electronics have a one year warranty which is pretty standard with that type of feeder, but I know people who have purchased solar feeders in the past and they last a long time.
The other feeders that caught my eye were the Happy Hour Hummingbird Feeders at the Woodlink booth. I have to hand it to Woodlink, they are working their hardest to come up with interesting and different designs in feeder. The designs don't always appeal to me, but it's nice to see someone getting away from the traditional design and working hard to be creative. This year, their new hummingbird feeders really struck my eye--they are designed to look like martinis and daiquiris!
Here I am with Dalia Hussein of Wild Republic (more on their stuff in a later entry) sharing a couple of hummingbird feeders at the Woodlink Tiki Bar. I love these things, I can see them showing up at Urban Outfitters and what's nice is that Woodlink has been making feeders for years so they have a good idea of how to make a decent feeder that looks very unique.