City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Fond Feathered Friends

How to care for wild birds in the bitter winter

As we take time this month to spread kindness and love to those around us, we can’t forget to also care for our feathered friends. Birds bring life to a bleak outdoor winter landscape and provide enjoyment when we take time to sit and observe them. 

Yet, while we marvel at the beauty of a snowy day, we may not realize that the harsh winter can pose a challenge to wild birds. The reason these cold months are hardest for them, says Bob Gors, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, is because any of the natural food remaining from fall and early winter, like nuts, acorns and berries, has now been consumed. 

“March and April are the perfect storm for birds,” adds Pam Gors, Bob’s wife of 27 years. “Very few insects and spiders have emerged and red-winged blackbirds and grackles arrive in great numbers in late February, so there is more competition for the remaining food.” 

Additionally, she says, goldfinches are molting into their breeding plumage and the process of replacing old feathers with new ones takes a lot of energy. Birds are starting to battle for territory as their hormones start to ramp up for the mating season. Supplemental feeding is critical so birds can go into the nesting season strong and healthy. 

For the past nine years, Wild Birds Unlimited has been a go-to source for bird aficionados and those just learning how to care for their winged neighbors. Bob and Pam, both outdoor enthusiasts, are able to provide expertise on our year-round residents, such as cardinals, chickadees, Blue Jays, woodpeckers and finches, as well as seasonal visitors like Dark-eyed Juncos. And they have the answers for shoppers interested in the second-largest hobby in the country. 

“It’s not uncommon for us to spend up to an hour talking to a new customer,” says Bob, who spent more than 30 years as an IT project manager before opening the Macomb store. “A lot of first-time customers have been back multiple times. They never realized it was so enjoyable to feed the birds. Most of us are on a first-name basis and I know exactly what they’re going to buy.” 

The charming shop brings the beauty of nature indoors, offering bird baths (even heated ones), roosting boxes, cards and gifts. The shop staple, its loose No-Mess Blend, is 100 percent edible and absent of any filler or added vitamins, which are unnecessary for wild birds. The blends are delivered fresh each week and feature seeds that have had their shells removed. Seed cylinders are also a popular pick as a longer-lasting option to feed birds. 

Pam is an Advanced Master Gardener and was recently certified as a Michigan Master Naturalist. “I think this background influenced some of the decisions we’ve made in our store,” she explains. Every May, the store has a native plant giveaway with a minimum purchase. The store gives away 200-300 seedlings from Pam’s own greenhouse, with information on how and where to plant the species, whether it's meant to host butterflies or provide nectar for hummingbirds or seeds for birds. “My favorite part is when customers come back and tell me how well the plant has grown and how much they like it.” 

“Growing up in the 60s and 70s, watching TV shows with a general store, that’s what I envisioned with this. And to an extent, that’s what it’s become. We have customers tell us it’s their favorite place to shop. We have a quality product and give quality service,” Bob says. “And I have a great staff that enables me to do speaking engagements and make deliveries.” 

You can find all you need to take care of birds to keep them healthy and happy all year round by visiting Wild Birds Unlimited, 20241 Hall Road in Macomb, or at