Maria Kowaleski. Maria has worked at WBU for just under 4 years. Her favorite part of the job is talking to our customers and hearing what excites them about the hobby of birding. Maria’s prior work experience in both retail and education have built the perfect foundation for her to share product features and local bird knowledge with customers. Blue Jays are Maria’s favorite bird. “They are always on the lookout for trouble, especially when the hawks visit. I love to see them enjoy the peanuts and they let me know when I need to refill my feeders!”
Birdie and The Bird Crew
Cheryl "Birdie" Miller is the Owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, McKinney. She has been feeding the birds for over 30 years. Her mother and father, both educators, raised her well. They helped her develop her life-long love of learning and to always find laughter in life. Her father was also a biologist/zoologist/botanist and a college professor who gave her a deep appreciation of nature and a love for birds.
“I had been a Wild Birds Unlimited customer for many years, frequenting the Dallas shop. As I was driving the traffic-filled hour and 20 minutes home one day from WBU Dallas, I imagined that there were people like me in Collin County that would love to have a place close by to get their backyard bird feeding supplies. That is the moment I decided to open my McKinney shop!” says Birdie.
Birdie is a certified Bird Feeding Specialist, member of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, Prairie, and Timber Audubon Society, and has lived in McKinney on and off since 1993. She is currently a Board Member of The Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary and The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney.
About WBU McKinney:
Wild Birds Unlimited, a nature shop, just opened in April of 2017. It is located in McKinney, at 3001 S. Hardin Blvd. in the Tom Thumb shopping center and services Frisco, Allen, Plano, Fairview, Prosper, Ana, Celina, Lucas, and other area cities. Your Wild Birds Unlimited McKinney sells feeders, bird food, birdbaths, outdoor garden accents, optics, and more.
Cheryl "Birdie" Miller, Owner
Theresa Mendenhall. Theresa has worked at WBU for 4 years, since the beginning! Her favorite part of the job is connecting with customers and keeping the shop looking fresh and inviting. Theresa came to WBU with a background in-store merchandising and visual display, having held multiple merchandise management positions for a major department store for 20 years. Theresa’s favorite bird… the White-Crowned Sparrow. “I love how they hop around so happily. They are persistent in their search for food, yet they seem considerate of the other birds. They are quite ordinary but each is crowned uniquely.”
Craig Darling. Craig has worked for Birdie for 4 years. For Craig, the best part of his job is… well, everything! From interacting with customers, helping to keep everything flowing, and working with a great team focused on success. Craig utilizes his 40 years of retail experience to ensure the backroom, deliveries, and inventory, all work seamlessly to support great customer service throughout the shop. Craig’s favorite bird (okay, one of them) is the Chickadee. They are, “super cute, always the first at the feeder, have a great call that can always be recognized, and are resilient. And, they eat whatever I put out there!”
Molly Loriot. Molly has been with WBU since 2019. The best part of her job is getting to talk to all the customers and seeing their photos of birds. She traded in her green coffee apron for a tan WBU apron and has never looked back! Molly’s favorite birds are Blue Jays and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. “It’s fun to drink my coffee as I watch them grab peanuts from the peanut hut!!”
Kristal Willoughby. Kristal has been with WBU McKinney since before the doors opened in 2017! Her favorite part of the job talking to customers - hearing them share about the birds that are visiting their yards, helping them attract more birds, and sharing knowledge to help them get the most out of the hobby. Kristal’s favorite bird is the Eastern Bluebird. “They are called the ‘Bluebird of Happiness’ for good reason… their brilliant plumage, the song they sing, and the fact they like to be in close proximity to people.”
Cindy Hibler. Cindy has been with WBU for 4 years. Cindy loves getting to know customers and helping them get the most joy out of backyard bird-feeding. With her experience as a small business owner and positions as a Director of Marketing and non-profit special event coordinator, she brings a wealth of talent to organize and coordinate all of the store’s Special Events, both in and out of the store. Cindy’s favorite bird is the Blue Jay. “We have 8 Blue Jays in our backyard, each one with their own personality. And, oh so beautiful. They are little bandits, such a blast when they steal peanuts from the peanut hut!”
Peter Shackelford Peter started with the Bird Crew in 2021 since he missed the memo about the store opening in 2017. His favorite part about working with the Bird Crew is providing service, support & Dad jokes for everyone! Peter came to WBU after 25 years of retail logistics/management and IT positions, having worked for retailers, banks and consultancies both in Texas and in the UK. Peter’s favorite bird(s) are the Blue Jay & Mockingbird that keep things lively in his backyard… both seem to think they own it!
Celia Ault Celia had been feeding birds at her balcony for 2 years before coming to work at Wild Birds Unlimited in 2021. Prior to joining the Bird Crew, she helped domestic animals find their forever homes working at the animal shelter. She is pursuing a BS in Ecology at the University of North Texas, which is why she is in charge of the shop's Save the Songbirds initiative. She loves talking to people about conservation and how to connect with nature. She is partial to House Finches, who were not only the first birds to visit her feeders, but they were also the first birds to gather nesting material from her balcony.
Melissa. Melissa is the newest member of the Bird Crew. Her favorite part of the job is talking with customers and sharing her love of birding. Her prior work experience includes 29 years working in public education as a teacher and assistant principal. Her favorite bird is the Eastern Phoebe. Melissa says, “I love watching the momma bird bring her fledglings to my yard each spring to feast on live mealworms.”