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Feb 28, 2023

A Bird Lover’s Bonanza: Wild Birds Unlimited Hilton Head fuels backyard birds and your passion for them

Cheryl Ricer

Photography By

Two Lights, One Stand
Hilton Head Island and the entire Lowcountry is a mecca for birding enthusiasts. The diversity of bird life, which includes spring and fall migrants as well as local birds, is fascinating both for experienced birders and those just beginning to cultivate bird watching as a hobby. We have colonial-nesting waterbirds who birdwatchers enjoy at any […]

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Hilton Head Island and the entire Lowcountry is a mecca for birding enthusiasts. The diversity of bird life, which includes spring and fall migrants as well as local birds, is fascinating both for experienced birders and those just beginning to cultivate bird watching as a hobby. We have colonial-nesting waterbirds who birdwatchers enjoy at any of the plentiful rookeries and preserves to the thousands of near-threatened Red Knots who migrate through our beaches and fuel up on horseshoe crabs. If you want to celebrate birds, you live in the right place.

But you don’t have to visit a rookery or even go to the beach to enjoy birdwatching. With the right setup and food, you can attract birds to your own backyard. That’s where Sean Ryan and the Wild Birds Unlimited store on Hilton Head Island can help.

“Wild Birds Unlimited is a hobby store,” Ryan said. “We help people with backyard bird feeding and bird watching. We sell food, feeders, houses, and hardware for birds, along with a few specialty items for the humans who look out for the birds. Our mission is to help you put out the feeders and quality food to make sure the birds you want to see show up at your yard.” 

Part of cultivating a hobby includes access to the experts in the field. At Wild Birds Unlimited, customers have opportunities to get advice from the master birders on staff. While every employee who works with Ryan has been through base level training, others are certified above and beyond the base level. These experts can guide you to the right products to ensure that you are attracting the birds you want to attract and repelling the wildlife you don’t want around. 

“If birding is your hobby, then we want to help you enjoy it more,” said Ryan, who also owns Wild Bird Unlimited stores in North Carolina and Tennessee. “If you are having problems with pests, we help you fix those problems. If you’ve got squirrels, we’ve got decoys to deter them; if you have crows, we have ways to scare them humanely without harming them. Our practices are not simply to benefit birds. We do what we do to better the world and have positive impact, so even our approach dealing with pests is for the best interest of the human, the birds, and that particular animal.”

At Wild Birds Unlimited, even the bird feed leaves a positive impact. One of the best-selling seeds is a no-mess seed, comprised of pure seed and no shells. Typical bird seed includes the shells, which the birds (and people, too, for that matter) will spit out. This creates lots of debris and weeds under the feeder. 

The Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Blends are great near flower beds, patios and decks. Each one features seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. No hulls on the seeds makes for tidier feeding, since there’s no debris on the ground to clean up. Pound for pound, the No-Mess Blend bird seed offers the best value because you do not pay for uneaten seed waste. The birds eat everything.

And for when those pesky squirrels and other critters that put a damper on things by stealing your bird feed, try the hot pepper bird foods, including Fiery Feast™ and SunFire™ Chips, available exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited. They’re both a mix of hot pepper and shell-less seeds so it’s also a no-mess way to feed the birds. Birds are unable to sense the heat of capsaicin (the ingredient that makes peppers taste hot), but mammals like squirrels, raccoons, and deer sure can. These, too, are shelled sunflower seeds and perfect for backyard favorites like chickadees, titmice, cardinals, and more.

Sustainability is a priority at Wild Birds Unlimited. Everything in the store is 100 percent organic and sustainable to ensure that while you are enjoying the natural world, you are also improving your interactions with it.

“A lot of our feeders and houses are made from recycled milk jugs,” Ryan said. “We use, reuse, and recycle. The bird food and supplies we sell are the very best on the market and impact nature in the best way possible.”

At Wild Birds Unlimited, you can even stock up on some unique people products, too, like a delicious and organic syrup that is sustainably harvested. In most cases, when syrup is harvested, the farmers will clear the brush from around the trees, eliminating places for birds to nest. The Wild Birds Unlimited syrup is bird friendly as the birds’ habitats are undisturbed.

“We also sell a small-batch coffee made in North Carolina whose company supports the sea turtles,” Ryan said. “The syrup and the coffee are two examples of people products we sell that are having a positive impact on birds and other creatures. They are good for you, they taste good, and when you buy these products, the environment benefits.” 

Ryan and his team have introduced professional services that include “feederscaping.” With this service, they will visit your backyard to help you figure out where to set your feeders and/or bird houses, so that you get optimal pleasure from your bird watching. They are also offering a cleaning service. This service helps ensure the birds don’t contract viruses (like we’ve seen with the chickens recently) by keeping their feeders and bird baths clean.

“With the coming of spring, we can help you certify your backyard as ‘wildlife friendly,’ a program from the National Wildlife Foundation,” Ryan said. “We visit your backyard to make sure that you have food and water available, among other things. Spring is great time to reset your yard and get your feeders, nesting boxes, and bird baths up so that you can enjoy the coming season with your feathered friends.”

Wild Birds Unlimited is located at 45 Pembroke Drive, Suite 130 on Hilton Head Island. To fuel your passion for wild birds or simply learn more, visit hiltonhead.wbu.com, email wildbirdshiltonhead@gmail.com, or call (843) 802-2010.

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