For us, 2011 will be a year we will not likely forget. We had our lows, with the economy ending up in our discussions just a little too frequently, especially during the second half of the year. But we had many highs as well; here are some we're particularly proud of:
- In February, the Associated Press contacted us for an interview about the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count. We welcomed AP writer Mary Esch and AP photographer Tim Roske to our home, where we watched and talked about birds over some Bird-friendly® coffee and warm scones.
The resultant AP story with our quote and pictures of our birds at feeders showed up online at the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, NPR, Albany Times Union as well as dozens of other news organizations, print and online, all across the country.
- One week later, our 24-hour news network YNN visited our home for another interview about the Great Backyard Bird Count. We were thrilled with a nice 1-1/2 minute piece encouraging participation in the count. It ran locally, but also in Ithaca and one customer saw it in Rochester!
- We stirred up enough local interest in the Great Backyard Bird Count that Saratoga Springs ended up #4 in NY state with 73 checklists submitted and Gansevoort was #8 with 47 checklists submitted. Here's a list of all localities in NY that had checklists submitted.
- We were honored to be asked to be an Official Blogger at September's Midwest Birding Symposium. Our posts highlighted symposium speakers wildlife photographer Marie Read, Ben Lizdas of Eagle Optics, and the Birdcall Lady Nicolle Peretta and told of the Guinness World Record we set imitating a Barred Owl call.
- We were thrilled (and just a little nervous, to be honest) to be asked to write the Cover Species article about the Common Redpoll for the November/December 2011 issue of BirdWatcher's Digest. Here's a link to an excerpt from our Species Profile of the Common Redpoll.
- At the invitation of local birding expert Rich Guthrie, Nancy was a guest on the Northeast Public Radio WAMC Vox Pop call-in radio program on December 7. Here's a link to listen to the show.
- On December 11, international birder Richard Crossley visited our store to sign copies of his revolutionary book, The Crossley ID Guide. WBU customers Paul Pacco, Lindsey Duval, and Robin Laurenzo bought their guide at WBU and won the opportunity to have lunch with Richard.
- We've always taken our responsibility to the community seriously. This fall, we turned our focus to the Franklin Community Center Food pantry. We and our customers are fortunate to have the resources to feed the birds; many people in our area have trouble finding the resources to just feed themselves.
In October, we hosted a "Garage Sale" selling used, repaired, swapped, and donated feeders and gave 100% of the proceeds, $273, to the Food Pantry.
We also hosted a food drive during our Open House in December. We gave a Birdseed Bell to anyone who donated a non-perishable food item. 33 customers donated food, and we were able to deliver 130 pounds of food to the Food Pantry.
- All in all we had a good year; not our best as far as sales are concerned, and we're always striving to improve. We love what our little shop does: we help thousands of people enhance their enjoyment of the birdfeeding hobby. How great is that for a "job"??? And last year, we had nearly 900 new customers through our doors - we're so excited to introduce new people to this wonderful hobby!
For 2012, we're looking forward to more fun, adventures, experiences, and discoveries. We already have a new product in line to introduce to you early in 2012 (we're teasing you with a picture clip of it below!) We wish you a year of magical birdfeeding!