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Armstrong Milling Acquires Scotts’ Canadian Bird Food Business

Armstrong Milling Company Limited, a leading Canadian manufacturer of premium wild bird and caged pet food announced their acquisition of Scotts' Canadian wild bird food business from subsidiaries of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. 

The acquisition of brands Morning Melodies™ and Nutri Thrive™ add strength to Armstrong’s product selection, and will expand the company’s ability to communicate and educate the benefits of wild bird feeding to consumers.  "Armstrong has been packaging the Scotts brands in Canada for over seven years and is excited to take on the added role of marketing a great Canadian brand" says Ken Zantingh, Co-founder and principle of Armstrong Milling.  "We expect to supply the customer base 100% complete and on time over the transition period and for many years to come."

With more than 60 employees and 50,000 square feet of state-of-the-art production and distribution facilities the company’s flow-through racking ensures the seed being shipped is always fresh. And as one of the first wild bird food packers to achieve a Safe Quality Foods (SQF) level 3 certificate from NSF International, Armstrong is an industry leader in both manufacturing and product quality.

Wild Bird Expo™ to Host "Heart of America Gift Show"

The 2014 Wild Bird Expo™, in conjunction with the first ever Heart of America Gift Show will be held in Mexico, MO on October 7th, 8th and 9th.  Key Note Speaker is Stan Tekiela, author of many state specific field guides on birds, wildflowers, butterflies, trees, mammals, and more.  Brenda Wright, Show Coordinator, said "We are happy to announce the return of Stan Tekiela as a keynote speaker at our 2014 Expo.  Stan was also a speaker last year and feedback from participants was really complimentary."  Wright adds, "Stan's session will be part of Wednesday's seminar line-up that retailers rate as one of their main reasons for attending the Expo."  Gold Crest owner Mel Toellner will also lead a session on "Keys to success in building volume and net returns in a retail Backyard Nature Business or Department."

To accommodate buyer requests for more shopping time, this year's Tuesday night opening event, Beer, Brat & BBQ Welcome, will be held at the Gold Crest warehouse on the trade show floor.  This will be a full-blown Oktoberfest with a German Band and additional German-themed refreshments and gifts for all. Vendor booths and the GCD show floor will be open throughout the evening. 

Morning Bird Walks on Wednesday and Thursday are also part of the schedule, as well as visits to Songbird Station (our retail concept test store) in Columbia, MO.  The retailer Idea Share Night and retailer led training seminars are another feature consistently ranked by buyers as the #1 reason to attend.

With 40,000 Sq. Ft. of space added to the building and a vendor list of over 100 exhibitors, there will be lots more room for new products. Part of this expansion includes more gift-related products and this year will mark the first official co-hosting of the Heart of America Gift Show.

The popular warehouse aisle shopping, discounts on everything, and the garage sale will all return.  Also, Free Goodie Bags ($200 value) help cover air fare / transportation costs.  The Expo still covers nearly all costs for attendees including hotel rooms, meals, and shuttles from the St Louis airport and around the Expo sites, through the support of Gold Crest Distributing and the 100+ exhibiting vendors. Visit www.wildbirdexpo.com or call Brenda Wright, Show Coordinator at (888) 985-2473; or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


SWAROVSKI Announces New
Web Series & Scope Giveaway

Sharon Stiteler of Birdchick.com and Swarovski’s Clay Taylor have created a new web video series which features great tips on birding and bird photography. Called Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, the videos are both entertaining through their use of comedy, and hugely informative, with Clay and Sharon sharing their knowledge of Swarovski products and providing tips to minimize common errors that can arise when birding.

What’s unique about this web series is that it is also a puzzle. The birds in each episode are a clue to the theme of the series. Anyone who correctly guesses the theme will be entered into a drawing for a SWAROVSKI OPTIK STS Spotting Scope!

Clay Taylor said, “The web series was a lot of fun to plan out and shoot – we obviously had a great time doing it. We both digiscoped lots of bird videos and stills, but Sharon had the hard job – deciding what clips and dialogue would make it into each episode. Honestly, we have enough material for another full series! I hope that our tips and field techniques are helpful to the viewers, especially the iPhone scoping sequences. Using a smart phone to digiscope birds is something that any birder can do with amazing results, and it has revolutionized bird record reporting.”

“I loved writing up humorous scenes around our bird videos and putting them together to form clues that people could guess to try to win a scope,” said Sharon. “This isn’t just an “Oh hey, look at that bird” type show, we’re also teaching birding and photography techniques in a fun way, often based on personal experience.”

Episode 1

Episode 2

Heartland College Does Windmill Survey
Heartland Community College in Normal, Ill. is set to study the effect of its wind turbine on birds and bats. A previous study was cancelled due to technical problems with the turbine, however the project was funded with a grant of almost $1M from the US Dept. of Energy, and an environmental assessment is required. The local Audubon chapter agreed to support the application after a study was completed. The new study will also be done after the area surrounding the turbine is cleared of crops.

Massachusetts City Considers Bird Feeding Ban

Holyoake, Mass. is considering a bird feeding ban that specifically targets migrating waterfowl such as gulls, ducks, geese and swans. The proposal comes after a study done by the Mass. Dept. of Conservation which determined that large numbers of birds were being fed in the area and then roost near Quabbin Reservoir, potentially increasing the bacteria levels of the town’s drinking supply. Dan Clark, Director of Natural Resources also noted that the food being left out for the birds is unhealthy, and may be contributing to changes to their migration.

Birders vs. Dog Owners in NYC
Tensions are rising between birders and dog owners in New York’s Prospect Park. Dogs are allowed off-leash in three meadows, but only before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m., and owners have been ignoring the time limits, or the dogs have simply been leaving their designated areas, and moving into birding habitat. Since New York is heavily urbanized, open spaces for both pets and wildlife are at a premium. The lack of enforcement of the area and a need for education of how domestic animals can damage migratory habitat have been blamed for exacerbating the problem.