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We are the Tollenaar family. From left to right, we have Jordan (Bennett), Jan, Luke, Rose, & Alana. Since we are a family-owned business, you will see all of us around the store at one point or another. We’ve lived on an acreage south of Spruce Grove for over 20 years. We have tons of birds at our backyard feeders, and are so excited to share our love of these feathered friends with you!
Alana has a degree in Environmental & Conservation Science from the University of Alberta. She previously worked at a bird feeding store in Edmonton, so she knows the industry well, and is really excited to share her passion for birds and for nature with Spruce Grove and area residents! She is at the store almost every day, managing our wonderful team of staff and working with talented local vendors. Her favourite bird is the sora rail, which you very likely won’t find in your backyard, but could find in wetlands around Alberta. Soras are elusive, pear-shaped birds with bright yellow bills. Their call is a cute laughing noise, listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_WLUEmlcKA
Rose did an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta - taking a keen interest in zoology and botany. Her love of nature almost equals her interest in meeting new and interesting people! You’ll find Rose in the store on most evenings and weekends. Rose is a big fan of Pine Grosbeaks, especially during the winter. They are a welcome pop of colour during the winter months, and are such a beautiful, striking red contrasted against the snowy white landscape. Learn more about Pine Grosbeaks here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pine_Grosbeak/id
Jan is a retired zookeeper, and has over 15 years of experience working with birds of prey, and can tell you just about anything you may want to know about hawks, owls, eagles, and other raptors. When he isn't helping out in the back room at the store, he's out and about on his motorcycle enjoying retirement! If he had to pick just one, his favourite bird would be the Peregrine Falcon. Peregrines are one of the largest falcons in North America, and are also the world’s fastest animal, diving at speeds of up to 300 km per hour. Learn more about Peregrine Falcons here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Peregrine_Falcon/id
Luke is doing his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management at the University of Alberta, and loves all things hockey. He is currently an Assistant Coach with the University's Golden Bears. He worked at the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary for two summers repairing the boardwalk, maintaining the trails, and befriending the bats and squirrels. His favourite bird is the beloved Black-Capped Chickadee. You can see tons of chickadees and other birds at the Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary, so he recommends checking it out if you haven’t before. Find out more about the sanctuary here: https://www.cliffordelee.com/
Jordan has a BSc degree in Kinesiology, and is now studying his Masters in Physiotherapy at the University of Alberta. He's not technically an owner (he's the owner's husband), but you'll see him around the store helping out, mostly on weekends. He is an avid bird lover and takes any chance he can get to visit the Whitemud Ravine in Edmonton or the ParticiPark trail system in Spruce Grove to search for new birds. Jordan’s favourite bird is the Dark-Eyed Junco. These adorable little birds are ground-feeders, so you’ll often see them hopping around below your feeders or on the forest floor. Listen to their sweet song here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Dark-eyed_Junco/sounds
Sweets is our store cat, a beloved member of our Backyard Birds family! (Yup, a cat in a bird store... the irony is not lost on us!) She was abandoned in our store parking lot in July 2022, and when we found her she was extremely malnourished and scared. We brought her in and she's been right at home ever since! She also ended up being pregnant when we found her, and we welcomed her 4 kittens into the world only 2 weeks after rescuing her. They are all now at their new homes, living happy and healthy lives. Sweets is such a friendly cat - she loves to sleep in bird baths, and greet customers at the door when they come in! She loves all the attention! Learn more about cats and birds here: https://catsandbirds.ca/