I was at the Jay’s Bird Barn store in Flagstaff earlier this week. The store is located at the end of a very busy shopping center, and we have several windows looking out onto the landscaping adjacent to our store. We have a variety of bird feeders hung up in one of the trees that is about 20 feet from the windows, and we enjoy watching the birds while we work!
When I arrived on Tuesday, I noticed a flock of 15 to 20 Brewer’s blackbirds on the ground and at the feeders. However, what was more impressive were the pine siskins. One of the employees at the store said he counted 130 pine siskins the other day! I recently wrote a column about goldfinches and siskins and wow, the numbers of these birds in the area is off the charts right now.
If you have a finch feeder (for nyjer/thistle seed), pull out your binoculars and take a look at the birds visiting your feeder. You might think they are all lesser goldfinches, but you may be surprised to see you have many more pine siskins than finches. I strongly recommend keeping your feeders out all winter, as chances are the pine siskins will be here until spring.
With the sudden cold spell this past week, the demand for birdseed seems to have skyrocketed. When we get cold, we put on another layer—a jacket, sweater or coat. When birds get cold, they eat more as the food they eat provides fuel (protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) to help them maintain their metabolism.
On a different note, tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 30, is the 17th anniversary for Jay’s Bird Barn. It is hard to believe we have been in business this long! So much has changed. Our first store location was only 575 square feet. Our second location was 1,875 square feet, and we weren’t sure, at first, how we would possibly fill all of the space. Our current store is over 4,500 square feet and we feel as if we are bursting at the seams.
When we opened back in 2003, all six of our children were living at home — and our oldest son, Jay, was a senior at Prescott High School. In those early years, all of our children took turns working in the store. Now, none of our children work in the business.
Unfortunately, we cannot hold our annual anniversary celebration event this year. We usually have live birds of prey on display, a fabulous free barbecue lunch, vendors and special guests to make the event a real celebration. Covid-19 has certainly altered the way we are currently living our lives and running our business.
In lieu of a grand party, we will be having a very low-key, informal open house on Friday the 30th, if you would like to stop by and say hi anytime between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. We would love to see and visit with each and everyone of you. You mean the world to us; without you, we would not be as successful as we are.
The voting for our 12th Annual Wild Bird Photography Contest exhibit has concluded, and we will be announcing the winners this Saturday. The four winning entries will be framed and put on display for the next year. I invite you to come by the store to see the winning entries.
As a teaser—in my column next week, I’ll be making an exciting announcement, so be sure to read my column next week!
Until next week, Happy Birding!
Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with two locations in northern Arizona — Prescott and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.