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One of the City of Williamsburg’s newest businesses is completely for the birds.
Backyard Birder, a wild bird products and supply store, celebrated a grand opening July 3 at 1490 Quarterpath Road.
The store offers a variety of products related to wild bird activity, including a range of seeds, bird feeders, houses and other accessories.
Backyard Birder is owned and operated by Williamsburg resident and former Marine Melinda Cousins. Cousins is a Virginia native, and has spent the last four years living in Williamsburg.
Cousins said her own interest in birding inspired her to open Backyard Birder. Cousins has been “an avid birder” for 17 years, after studying natural resources and the environment in graduate school at Virginia Tech.
“I’ve turned my love and passion for wild birds and conservation into a business, dedicated to human-nature relationships,” Cousins said.
Cousins said the Williamsburg area is well-suited for birdwatching enthusiasts, given the close proximity of bird sanctuaries in Kingsmill and Ford’s Colony, along with several nearby state and local parks.
She also said Backyard Birder could help bolster bird populations threatened by environmental changes.
“As bio-diversity is lost, due to climate change and other factors, every effort, whether large or small, is an opportunity to help enrich and support wild bird populations,” Cousins said. “As my business starts, I also plan to work with the local community in its wild bird conservation, through both educational programs and volunteer activities.”
Cousins said Backyard Birder specializes in offering American products and supplies for customers, including Aspects, Droll Yankees and Pine Tree Farms.
The store celebrated a ribbon cutting marking its grand opening July 3, a date with special significance for Cousins.
“We chose the grand opening date … due to its significance,” Cousins said. “In 1918, the original U.S. Migratory Bird Act was signed into law.”
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is a federal law enacted to protect migratory birds, like eagles, from hunting or capture. More than 800 species of bird are protected under the act.
Backyard Birder is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.