When did bird feeding or bird watching become a passion of yours? Was it the first time you spotted a chickadee or warbler staring back at you from a tree in your backyard? Maybe it was that first family of bluebirds that made a home in the birdhouse you compassionately constructed and placed out in the yard to give a family a home in the cold of the winter. No matter when it happened, you’re not alone. And that’s why the bird watching business has taken flight in recent years.

Based on the most recent numbers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, about 45 million Americans are birders. Once known as a retiree’s hobby, birding has some new faces. With a surge in enthusiasts from the COVID-19 pandemic, more millennials than ever are also taking time to enjoy the beauty of birds in nature, be it in their own backyard or a nearby park.

Wild Birds Unlimited saw quick and sustained rise in demand during the past two years. Online orders allowed so many to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, look skyward and enjoy the simplicity of a bird flying, nesting, or visiting the backyard. More Americans were enthralled by our feathered friends because they provided a sense of peace or normalcy during a frightening time. Birding is a great hobby to enjoy alone, social-distancing, or with family, friends or with other enthusiasts. The pandemic may have compelled more people to enjoy bird watching, but even as we are returning to normalcy after a two-year stretch—this hobby is still soaring.

Bird Feeding and Bird Watching Business Opportunities

If you are thinking about turning your passion to profit, this is as good a time as any to spread your wings. So many entrepreneurs dream of business ownership opportunities doing something they truly enjoy. In fact, many WBU store owners were once customers who simply found joy in the hobby. That can be you, too, because the bird watching business is big business. As an avid bird watcher, that means you can take your birding hobby to new heights and make a career out of it.

Looking at the industry itself, birdwatching, or birding is the fastest growing outdoor recreational activity. Not only are people enjoying backyard bird watching and feeding, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 40% of birders are willing to travel to discover new birdwatching opportunities. That’s creating great vocational opportunities. Many landowners are finding they can utilize their property to build businesses that diversify their income by establishing birding opportunities for enthusiasts.

Birders are building vacations around exploration of new and interesting species that they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to see out their kitchen window. The bird watching ecotourism industry contributes $41 billion to the U.S. economy, annually.  Those numbers are expected to climb higher as more Americans feel more comfortable traveling as pandemic numbers decrease. Another bonus to ecotourism is that these scenic habitat areas are creating much needed areas of environmental preservation for all wildlife.

Another occupation taking flight is nature photography. Bird-watching enthusiasts are taking their skills next level by taking photos of birds and selling them online as a side-hustle or even a new career venture.

Impressive as these options are, researching the industry, the numbers pointing to retail expenditures of equipment needed for backyard bird watching like birdseed, bird feeders, bird houses, binoculars and field guides show the largest sector of the growth in the industry. In fact, $5 billion is spent annually on bird seed and wildlife food alone.

Franchising with Wild Birds Unlimited

Owning a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise means you have the freedom to make a career doing something you love. At Wild Birds Unlimited, we bring people and nature together. As the owner of your own store in the bird watching business space, you could share your love and knowledge of birding with folks in your community.

We’ve been in the wild bird feeding industry for four decades and have grown to more than 350 locations. We’ve enjoyed this success because our model is built to provide our franchisees with the highest level of training and support to grow their business. We’ve worked hard to build customer loyalty through trust and high operating standards.

As the hobby as grown, we’ve adjusted—doing everything we can to provide top quality products and top-notch service that are customers have come to expect. That meant during the pandemic, we were there to provide goods and services to the increasing numbers of backyard bird enthusiasts. We amped up our curbside pickup and online services to make supplies accessible to customers. We believe having a business model that can grow and adjust to customer demands and innovations is essential to success.

If you are ready to come fly with us and combine your passion about birding and entrepreneurship into a lucrative franchise opportunity, start your application and learn about joining our flock.