Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Shop spreads joy of bird-watching.

Byline: Retail Scene MICHELLE PENTZ Of the Journal

After 25 years in community social work, Lee Hopwood decided it was time for a change.

"I'm a birder," she said. "It's why I'm sane and it's what I love. So I decided it had to be something with birding."

So Hopwood and partner Nicki Love opened Wild Bird Center on Nov. 24 at 3705-A Ellison Drive near Ellison Road in Cottonwood Corners, just west of Barnes & Noble.

Designed to resemble a backyard garden with adobe bricks, fencing and rocks, the store sells specialty merchandise for birders of all levels: bird feeders, nesting boxes, Albuquerque-blend seed, books, optics and field guides. Wild Bird Center also offers gifts and backyard garden items, such as fountains and bird baths.

In February, Hopwood will start beginners' bird walks at the bosque every other Saturday, meeting at the store at 8 a.m.

"We're not a half-mile from the bosque," Hopwood said. "And we've created a very welcoming environment. It feels like, 'Have a seat in my back yard. …

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