Wild Bird Country marks 5th anniversary

BY CHRIS GAETANO Staff Writer

Above: Wild Bird Country owner Colleen Snow poses for pictures with store resident sun conure "Sunny" at the store's location in Edison on Tuesday, Sept. 30. The store, located at 1199 Amboy Ave. in Edison, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Right, Wild Bird Country offers a wide variety of bird feeders. Above: Wild Bird Country owner Colleen Snow poses for pictures with store resident sun conure “Sunny” at the store’s location in Edison on Tuesday, Sept. 30. The store, located at 1199 Amboy Ave. in Edison, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Right, Wild Bird Country offers a wide variety of bird feeders. EDISON — If one would like to see goldfinches, black-capped chickadees and perhaps a tufted titmouse or two gathering in one’s backyard, then Colleen Snow, owner of Wild Bird Country in Edison, wants to help.

The store, located in the Tano Mall at 1199 Amboy Ave., supplies a wide variety of bird feeders, birdbaths, birdseed and birdhouses — all the things that someone would use to attract all sorts of outdoor birds to one’s home. This month, Wild Bird Country is celebrating its fifth anniversary under new ownership.

“We are a wild bird store, so we are all about your complete backyard bird-feeding store. That’s how we like to be known, and if someone comes in and wants to feed the birds, or is already feeing the birds, has no idea how to feed the birds, is feeding the birds and wants to get the squirrels off their feeders, we’re here to help them,” said Snow.

PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff Snow had been interested in birds and bird feeding even before she came to own the store five years ago. Before buying the business from its previous owners, who retired and moved to Vermont, she had run a chimneysweeping company, a job that often took her outdoors onto people’s roofs, placing her in the company of many birds.

“I’ve literally almost walked off a couple of roofs while chimney sweeping because I was watching the red-tailed hawks overhead,” said Snow.

She kept her interest in bird feeding over the nine years she maintained her chimneysweeping business, being a frequent customer of Wild Bird Country while it was under its previous ownership. Snow said that she got into it at first as a way to give her indoor cats, of which she has many, something to watch when she was out at work. Around the time when the previous owners were looking to retire, Snow was looking to find a new line of work. After some talks, the longtime customer became the business proprietor.

Since then, Snow said, owning the store has become an education in birds, picking up a lot of information, some from conversations with customers, some on her own and some from the previous owners. At this point, if asked about what types of birds a backyard bird feeder might expect to see in this area of New Jersey, she can instantly rattle off names of birds from the well-known blue jay to the relatively obscure, like the pileated woodpecker. She is capable of speaking at great length about wild birds in the area, which Snow says is an advantage over larger, more generalized stores.

“The benefit of us over the box stores is there is someone who knows what they are talking about and will spend the time with you,” said Snow. “With feeders, some people a lot of times say ‘I want to feed birds,’ and you have to ask some questions, like what type of birds do you want to feed, do you know where you’re going to put the feeder, do you know what kind of birds you want to attract, because you can determine who’s going to come to the feeders based on the type of feeder, the type of seed you use.”

Another advantage, according to Snow, is the availability of more specialized stock, noting that larger stores will have bird-feeding equipment as one small part of the store’s overall inventory, which she says will mean less variety for people who are interested only in feeding wild birds. One area where this is particularly pronounced is with birdseed. Wild Bird Country has custom blends designed to attract specific birds.

“We don’t sell any seed blend that has seeds in it the birds won’t eat. If you look at a lot of the bags of cheaper seed, you’ll see millet and cereal grains like wheat and oat, or you’ll just see cereal grains. These are just really cheap and inexpensive fillers that, at best, are pigeon food,” said Snow.

As part of the store’s fifth anniversary celebrations this month, Wild Bird Country is having a prize drawing. First-place drawing is a palm PDA with National Geographic Handheld Birds software.

Contact Chris Gaetano at

sentnorth@gmnews.com.