Birding: Q&A With Wild Bird Suppliers

By |

We talked to multiple suppliers for the April feature on the wild bird category. Here are just a few highlights from those interviews.

Lazy Hill Farm Designs

Kate Sandvos, general manager of Lazy Hill Farm Designs answers our questions about birding. Lazy Hill manufacturers large feeders made of cellular vinyl with wood shingles and copper roofs. All the products are made in Maine.

Q: What are some of the things you see successful retailers doing to make birding a profitable category?
A: They set them up outside in a landscape situation. Our birdhouses do well at Father’s Day, and we’re seeing more of that. They are a good gift for retailers to carry. It’s the garden centers that really embrace them, that set them up and don’t just have them on the shelf (that do the best).

Q: Do you have any other tips for retailers looking to either get into birding or expand their reach into it?
A: It has to be a real birding section. People that sell everything with it, even books, do well. Not only do they have seed and feeders, but books for that area. You’re selling the whole concept–not just feeding the birds but getting more into it. I also think it’s really important to have them outside, if you have wildflowers put them outside – show (customers) how they look out in the landscape.

Q: What do you anticipate for sales in 2010 – how will they compare to last year?
A: We’re anxious to see how this spring is. I don’t know whether (sales are) necessarily surging, it’s always been there for us.

Woodstream Corp.

Karolyn Warfel, category development manager at Woodstream Corp., answers some of our birding questions. Woodstream is a distributor of the Perky Pet line of wild bird products.

Q: What are some of the things you see successful retailers doing to make birding a profitable category?
A: I’ve noticed those that display the feeders out of the box seem to be more successful. They are hanging them on the ceiling or creating a vehicle to hang the feeders on.

Q: How were sales in birding products in 2009?
A: Obviously the economy we were dealing with was a factor. But overall, sales were strong and up a little from the previous year; I would say similar to 2008. People were spending more time at home, and investing in more for their homes–the bird feeders are a natural extension of that. It’s a small investment, not like buying a huge lawn mower–it’s an easier spend for the consumer.

Q: Do you have any other tips for retailers looking to either get into birding or expand their reach into it?
A: Have smaller floor displays, like two-foot end caps. During hummingbird season put nectar and feeders together there, then come out of season and fill the two-foot space with seed feeders. It’s a small investment in a small area. Also, it’s important to cover all the retail ranges. You don’t want to just concentrate on one retail (price point). Everyone loves $9.99, but people like varying ranges, so make sure you have a range of core product in several retail prices.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

We caught up with Craig Humphries, director of consumer insights at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., to talk about birding trends.

Q: Who is watching birds?
A: In terms of demographics, it does tend to skew a little female, sixty-forty. There’s not good hard data on birding, though. Several different sources give a different story on trends. Fish and wildlife identify 21 percent, or 48 million people as birding enthusiasts. (Other figures put it at) 35 percent – it jumps around. Probably because the definition of birding jumps around.

Q: What are some trends in birding?
A: It’s hard to answer that – we’re watching the consumer as they’re reacting to the economy, and how they’re continuing to buy our products. Right now we’re thinking about how the consumer will move forward in the recession.

Q: How does it tie into gardening?
A: There’s a nice interaction with people who garden and people who like to watch birds. Gardeners tend to be birders more than non-gardeners, and vice versa; They enjoy bringing nature closer to home.
 

Jennifer Polanz is a freelance writer with Grasshopper Freelance. She can be eMailed at jepolanz@gmail.com.

Tags:

    Leave a Reply