Media Life: Bay Area media mention spurs rush for Auburn “special blend”

Bird lovers flock to Auburn store for specially formulated bird seed
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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Reach Media Life’s Gus Thomson at (530) 852-0232 or You can catch Thomson tweeting at A_J_Media_Life or talking at 6 p.m. most Fridays on Dave Rosenthal’s KAHI 950 AM drive-time radio show.


Add the title bird-seed guru to Roger Strahle’s business card.

Over the years, the owner of Wild Bird Station in Auburn has worked to develop his own special blend of seed to attract the optimum amount of wild birds to feeders.

And now he’s finding Bay Area bird lovers are flocking to his store in the Victorian Village off Highway 49 for a pound or two of his secret formula.

Strahle and his blend of black oil sunflower, sunflower chips and other seeds were featured in a Feb. 17 piece on “The sweet science of birdseed” by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Tom Steinstra.

Steinstra, who writes about all things outdoors-oriented, described Strahle as “the best I’ve ever met for creating blends to attract the most birds” and that his own tests of the blend had birds “knocking at his window.”

Strahle reports that the phone continues to ring from Bay Area birders interested in securing some of his seed recipe. At last count, the number had reached about 100 calls, ranging from Pal Alto and San Francisco to Albany, Napa, Oakland and even Orinda.

Strahle said he can only invite them up to his store – and to stop in Old Town to shop, and have a meal at one of the city’s many restaurants.

“It started the day after the article hit and I’m still getting them in,” Strahle said.

While a reporter visited the store Wednesday, Strahle took another call generated by the column – this time from a Vacaville bird fancier intent on some special blend.

“He was excited,” Strahle said. “He just wanted my address and will be here as soon as he can.”

As for that blend, Strahle said he has a seed supplier mix it in 2,000-pound batches that can be tweaked by as little as a pound to ensure maximum bird attraction. The key to the now Big in the Bay Area blend is to provide seeds for perching birds and then other materials that will be attractive after they fall earthward to birds that feed on the ground, he said.

If the birds like what they’re eating they’ll send out their own broadcast – kind of a primitive version of Twitter – that attracts other birds to the site. After that, it’s all about letting the flocking begin. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.


County connection

Keep your calendar circled for April 26, when Keep Smilin’ Promotions brings 1980s and 1990s country star Suzy Bogguss to the Auburn Events Center.

Boguss had a string of successes during the Reagan-Bush era, including one platinum and three gold albums. She had six Top 10 singles and was nominated for a Grammy. While the hits – “Cross My Broken Heart,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane,” and John Hiatt cover “Drive South” – are long gone from the charts, she continues to be a road warrior. The Auburn appearance will be a first.


Casino excitement

Thunder Valley Casino keeps upping the ante for its outdoor Summer Concert Series. June 7 will bring rock chanteuse Pat Benatar and her guitar-slinging hubby Neil Giraldo to the Roseville-area casino-resort. Cheap Trick will get the party started on a dynamic twin bill.

The next day, the Super Summer Soul Jam will roll into Placer County, with Cameo, Lakeside, Rose Royce and Evelyn “Champagne” King sharing the stage.

And on June 14, Northern California favorites the Doobie Brothers will bring their classic hit collection to the outdoor amphitheater. 


Reach Media Life’s Gus Thomson at (530) 852-0232 or You can catch Thomson tweeting at A_J_Media_Life or talking at 6 p.m. most Fridays on Dave Rosenthal’s KAHI 950 AM drive-time radio show.