My Three Bro’s: Great Customer Service in the 21st Century

Frequent readers will remember my previous post about my Squirrel Buster bird feeder’s unfortunate encounter with a hungry bear.  It was fun to write and share.  I never expected much to come from it except some cute comments and sympathy.  So, imagine my surprise when I received a comment on my website from the Customer Service Department of Brome Bird Care, the manufacturer of the Squirrel Busters, asking if I needed a replacement tube.

Replacement tube on the left. Bear-mauled tube on the right.
Replacement tube on the left. Bear-mauled tube on the right.

It had been my plan to order a replacement tube but I had not yet gotten around to it.  I was still in shock that something could come along and so efficiently maul something so innocuous.

I replied that I had not yet done so and fully expected to receive an email with a direct link to their parts department. Instead I received this reply:


Normally bear damage is not covered by your warranty. However, as a goodwill gesture, we will send a seed tube free of shipping/replacement charges.  Please provide us with your address. Thank you for your interest in  our product.

Well, hot dang, that is just a nice thing to do, don’t you think? In an age that seems to be spinning out of control with companies doing every last thing they possibly can to extract yet another few pennies from the consumer, here is a company that has a true Customer Care Department.

A few days later the tube arrived and it was a simple matter of swapping out the damaged tube for the new one.  Brome also sent a new top, which I would not of thought to order.  The old one looked fine but I discovered it would not attach properly because of a slight bend in the hanging rod.  Brome obviously has more experience with this than I.

The repaired Super Squirrel Buster on the left, Classic, and Standard.
The repaired Super Squirrel Buster on the left, Classic, and Standard.

So a heartfelt “Thank You” to Brome Bird Care.  I love your products.  I have had the Classic Squirrel Buster for at least five years, maybe more.  Here is a picture of My Three Bro’s, all filled and ready to go.  It is particularly nice to have the Super model back in business.  It is fledging season here and the feeders are packed with nervous young birds learning to make their way in the world.  They are eating like all children do…incessantly.  Having the Super Brome back in service means a little less work for me in terms of keeping up.

And also “Thank You” to Maureen McKinnon, Customer Care Manager at Brome, for reaching out to me with a little help from Google Alerts.  The 21st Century has given us so many new tools that can be used in so many ways — some good and some bad.  For those unfamiliar with Google Alerts, they allow an individual to set a specific phrase or topic of interest and receive notifications of any new activity on the Web that relate to the topic.  It is a great tool that I often use.

The birds of the air may never sow or reap but manufacturers do and I think Brome will continue to reap goodwill and loyal customers because they 1) make great products, and 2) they care.  The only one who loses is the squirrel.  ❧


Image #167 – The Squirrel Cafe is Open

Image #167

A few posts back I wrote about squirrels being a pain when it comes to keeping bird feeders full and the truly effective way that some North Carolinians take care of such a problem — they shoot them. My friend Mary took exception with such extreme measures and described how she feeds the squirrels around her house.  Her comments resonated with me, especially when I considered that my sister and brother-in-law are currently fostering two orphaned flying squirrels.  There is, after all, a yin and a yang in life. We must honor that.  So I set up a small squirrel feeding area on my deck using pieces of lumber from our recent tree removal.

As the picture demonstrates, the squirrels have found this solution very much to their liking.  They have, for the most part, stopped raiding my feeders.  I seem to have 3 squirrels that regularly visit my deck. If they get too obnoxious I set Tango loose on them and they scatter in every direction.  He enjoys the romp and its best to keep the squirrels on their toes. My neighbor had some horror stories about squirrels chewing their way through screening to get food from inside the house.  I sure don’t want that. ❧

Image #161 – Watching His Back

Image #161

Squirrels are the bane of those who love to feed the birds.  If you aren’t careful about the type of feeder you purchase you could be hanging a “Free Eats” sign that every squirrel in the neighborhood will see.  My feeders are a mixture of squirrel-proof and non-squirrel-proof so its no wonder that these varmints are hanging out at Alice’s. When things get too bad I take down the easy-access models and the squirrels eventually stop coming.

But here in Western North Carolina things are different.  If you are over-run with squirrels here  you simply get your 22 rifle and start ridding the world of squirrels one-by-one.  That’s what my neighbor has been doing and the neighborhood has six fewer squirrels as a result.  Maybe that’s why this fellow has his back to the post.

A part of me — the urban part — is a little squeamish about this practice. But no one is making me take up a rifle and shoot them. And I have to admit that the squirrel traffic has been considerably lighter at my feeders. ❧

Image #100 – Growing Up is Hard (9/6)

Image #100

My feeders are overwhelmed with fledglings, young birds trying to learn the intricacy of living. They remind me so much of young toddlers.  Watching a toddler get command of his or her legs is not much different than watching a young bird learn how to use his wings.  They fly in and hover by the feeders, unsure how to make the final approach, often missing the landing perch again and again. Once they do find the perch they begin to eat and are reluctant to leave. They do not yet comprehend the dangers in life and the need to flee. This little fellow above is a perfect example. All the other birds flew away when I walked onto the porch, but not this guy. I was able to walk up to feeder and get within a few feet of this young finch and snap this picture. He never moved. I have literally watched fledglings fall asleep on the the feeder, their beak in the trough like a toddler asleep in his oatmeal. It’s dear and entertaining. I wish them luck but know that many won’t make it. But, then again, that is true of us all. ☙

Image #88 – The Swarm

Image #88Autumn is close at hand. Migrations and changes have begun. Yesterday a neighbor called to ask if I was being over-run by starlings. Her deck, with its many feeders, was covered with starlings–young, adult, old, they all vied to get as much feed as they could before flying away. Birds migrate mostly at night, using the stars for navigation. So these starlings were “packing on the carbs” before the night’s flight.

A few starlings visited me but my swarm was quite different. It was bees!  Hundreds of bees had found their way to my hummingbird feeder and drained it dry. There were so many bees that the birds were intimidated and perhaps even stung. They would fly in, furtively, grab a quick mouth of seed and fly away with bees on their tails.  The bees massed in great numbers on the hummingbird feeder and some even climbed into the feeder through a feeding hole that had lost its tiny plastic “flower” which narrows down the opening, drowning themselves in the process and making quite a mess.  You can see them in this picture, bunched at the top of the liquid.

I was puzzled as to why they had suddenly decided to descend on a feeder that has been in place for two months. The answer presented itself today.

A short distance from the hill on which I live is a small business that specializes in erosion control and surveying properties. The owner also has bee hives which he put out in a field last May during my visit. In the past couple of days the number of beehives has increased dramatically and so has the activity at the business during the night. The annoying beep-beep-beep of a lift backing up has pierced the night, disrupting the sleep for many of us here on Fawn Hill. We could not imagine what this company was doing in its work from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. but today, as we drove by the place returning from a delightful day trip to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest we noticed that the number of hives has increased tremendously. They line the driveway and stretch onto the fields. Suddenly it all became clear. The bee hive keeper was collecting his flock, preparing it for a move south. Hence the bee population in this neighborhood has skyrocketed and they are going for whatever they can find eat.

Just another part of the cycle. I’ve been told I need a special feeder that has holes so small that only hummingbirds with their small proboscis can access them. I’ll make that investment and, next year, the hummers will have two feeders until the bees return in August. Then we’ll put away the feeder that calls many to their death.  Just part of the learning process here on Fawn Hill and, after all, life is for learning. ☙

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