Wild Birds Unlimited sells no birds, but walking in, you could swear they do. Chirping echoes around the shop, and while they're coming from an online live-nest camera, they give customers a little taste of what they can have if they do their shopping right: a relaxing sanctuary in their backyard.
If that's not enough to paint a picture, there's always the store's backyard, where the products are demonstrated by the experts — the birds. The store faces Mullet Creek in Safety Harbor, and owners Carl W. Albritton and Karen Albritton planted all the right foliage around it to provide birds with fruit and plenty of nesting opportunities.
The result is quite the Disney-esque scene as woodpeckers, morning doves and plenty of others gravitate toward the bird feeders (prices vary) and feed tubes (starting at $10.99) strategically placed for their pleasure.
Wild Birds Unlimited was a retirement project for the Albrittons, who always enjoyed watching the birds in their backyard. Now they help others bond with nature and find out what species are around them.
On a big-screen television, they are able to pull up a satellite view of a customer's home and yard, designing the best setup that gives birds food, cover, water and a safe place to nest their young. The service is free and part of their effort to bring life back into people's yards. Instead of well-manicured but pesticide-filled lawns, they design a naturally enticing environment to lure in wild birds.
The store has everything to turn an average backyard into a bird magnet. From bags of safflower seeds ($35.99), which are good to repel squirrels because they taste bitter, to nectar brushes ($1.49) that unclog the bird feeder's water, to sugar solution for hummingbirds, to an eyeglass/lens wipe ($7.99) with bird prints. Because, after all, when they come flying in, you want to be able to see and photograph them clearly.