Nobody in the world knows more about the science and art of feeding wild birds than Jim Carpenter. This book is not only a detailed “best practices” guide taught by the master, but it also lets us share in the sheer joy with which Carpenter approaches his hobby-turned-profession.

Cover to cover, this fact-filled manual is a delight to read.


John W. Fitzpatrick
Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Jim Carpenter
Jim Carpenter
Founder, President & CEO of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc.
Jim Carpenter was raised in southern Indiana. His fondness for nature was cultivated during trips to his grandparents’ country home, where his grandmother introduced him to hummingbirds, shrikes, mockingbirds and other interesting birds and wild things.
After earning a B.A. in Biology from Indiana University (1975) and a Masters Degree in Horticulture/Plant Physiology from Purdue University (1978), Jim learned the basics of  retail while managing two Indianapolis-area garden centers and a produce stand.
In 1981, Jim opened a 700 square foot retail shop on the north side of Indianapolis and named it Wild Birds Unlimited. This unique shop, one of the few in North America at the time, specialized in providing people with the necessary supplies and information for attracting and feeding the birds in their backyard.
Jim married Nancy Roush in 1983 and together they built the company. Nancy worked on the marketing pieces, doing most of the line art drawings used in the monthly BirdTracks newsletter.  Nancy stepped back in 1995 to focus on raising their two daughters. Jim also took on a business partner, Dick Schinkel, to start Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. and sell and support Wild Birds Unlimited franchise stores. Jim became 100% owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. in 1989 when he purchased Schinkel’s shares of the company. The 100th store opened in 1992 and the 200th store opened in 1996.
As CEO, Jim is responsible for guiding the franchise and retail stores to deliver an inspiring customer experience with expert advice and top quality products that effectively help customers enjoy the birds and nature in their backyards. Jim is intensely involved in the hobby and has originated many beautiful and effective designs for bird feeders, houses and pole systems. He has also developed many high-quality bird foods, including bird seed blends and Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter, a food that has attracted more than 100 different species of birds.
Outside of work and spending time with family, Jim enjoys bird feeding, bird watching and nature photography. Jim and Nancy often travel together and spend a lot of time at their new home in the foothills of Northern Colorado.
Jim Carpenter and Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. have received recognition from many organizations including:
Ernst & Young/Inc. Magazine/Merrill Lynch/PSI Energy
Entrepreneur of the Year
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Corporate Wildlife Stewardship Award
Indianapolis Business Journal
The Enterprise Award
Purdue University
Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award
Indiana Governor O’Bannon
Sagamore of the Wabash
Jim is currently on or has served on the following Boards:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY
Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, NY