Who is Wilford Raney “@BillyBadBird” – Over 1 Billion Views (Like McDonalds) #ProllyEvenMore

I have made a few “interesting” connections over the years and I am going to “expose” some of them to you. For my first “Exposé” I chose a special social media friend (or maybe he chose me).

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All photos taken by Wilford Raney.

I have been friends with Mr. Raney for quite some time now.  We first met on Twitter and are now connected throughout the web.  Wilford, or as I like to call him, Billy, is a unique fellow who I have come to admire because of his good nature and pleasant nature.  He becomes a friend to everyone he meets.  People from all over the world interact with “Billybadbird” (Billy’s Twitter handle on Twitter) on a daily basis.  Somehow he finds time for his fans and friends in between his daily routine of watching/feeding the birds, cleaning up the local beaches in Port Bolivar, Texas, and photographing the majestic scenes he encounters living next to the Gulf.

Raney’s parents moved back to Houston Texas right after his father finished serving in the air force in Bossier City (where Billy was born).   The family always spent summers and weekends at the beach.  Eventually, his mother and father relocated the family in the 70’s to, as he says, “get his children out of the city and away from drugs and temptation” but Billy seems to think that it was more a tactical decision. 

 “My father loves the ocean just as much as we do…  Once you get here it’s very hard to leave.”

Billy goes on to say:

“Our family has always loved birds…  My grandfather (also named Wilford Raney) left the city for the country after he retired.  He had a great big window in the great room and when he became bound to the wheelchair he spent his days in front of the window watching the birds.   It gave him great pleasure.   My mother believes in waste not want not – so everytime she cooked – all the scraps went outside to the birds.  That was a practice I continued when I moved into my little ocean front cottage — the birds started staying so I started cooking for them – the same as I do today —  I make rice cakes — twice a day — I cook 6 cups of rice – let it cool then turn it upside down on a plate –”

I asked Billy who has nearly 12K followers about when he started tweeting:

“I have been tweeting about two years — I don’t know how I started or why.” I only retweet people I follow who follow me –  I make very few exceptions to this rule-  and I have this rule be fair to people who promote me.  I am grateful for their support….  I am grateful for everyone’s support -but I also must remain fair to everyone.”


Anyone who knows Billy from Facebook, Twitter, or visiting his website knows that he has been through some tramatic experiences living on the coast.  He was weathered some difficult storms.

“We are in our third year without a storm —  this is making everyone nervous.  We average two a year – a few years back we had three hurricanes back to back.  The worst times for storms for us is August and September when the ocean is very, very warm — but some of the earlier seasonal storms hit us too.   Allison was a tropical storm that stalled for several and flooded Houston – Alicia was a hurricane – she really messed things up. My worst experience was Ike — I lost two homes and the property which now lies in the ocean.  I was trapped.  I almost died. We went 4 months without water and lights – the island was deserted. I stayed — I cannot leave.”

Billy recounted a typical day in Port Bolivar, Texas:

“I clean up the beaches for God and the birds.   One day I went outside to a seagull in my yard who had fishing line tangled in his wings.  He was scared of me but he needed help —  it broke my heart – I cried for many hours —  I had to trap him with a net but eventually I was able to save him —  the last thing before Ike — I kept seeing a pelican in front of the house — when he moved he was wobbling and tripping — I had to chase him in the ocean to catch him — he also was tangled in the fishing line — the hook was in his foot — I carried him to a neighbor — we cut him free and he flew away — then the storm came —  I will always remember that –  I clean up everything that can cause a bird his life —  prevention….. I wrote a poem about this.  We have about 1500 people year long – the island is 22 miles in the middle of the ocean —  you can only get here by ferry boat – probably 30 to 40,000 people come for holidays – maybe a whole bunch more — people are everywhere during the summer – winter is for us. Quiet
Peaceful – you can walk for miles on the beach and never see a soul.”

I asked Billy how and hy he started taking these amazing photographs and sharing them with us on his social media sites:

“I started taking sunrise and sunset pics to promote the recovery of the island —  we lost approximately 5,500 homes to surge from Ike — half our population has been lost — the island was under martial law for many months — people were not allowed on — there were checkpoints like they have on the border — the people who lived here loved it here but they weren’t able to return — it makes me feel good when they tell me thank you — for letting them see what they miss in their heart so much everyday — it makes me feel good to see the beauty with my own eyes — I appreciate God more and more with everyday and every picture — he has led me to places I have never been — and I love looking to the sky and saying Thank You.

Billy is always talking about having good karma when he cleans up the beach and send his friends bottle cap code to try to win some cash and/or prizes.  He enjoys playing these online games as well as double checking scratch-off tickets and bottle caps left behind by tourists.  He also runs a foundation in his name so I asked him to elaborate on these for me:

“The seagull foundation is for the birds – I got my EIN Number from the IRS on Christmas Eve — 2004 — the last four numbers are 7777  —  the foundation and my house took a heavy hit from hurricane Rita — Ike took them both for good — we sell snow — the miracle of Christmas Day snow postcards- we sell weed — seaweed in a baggie w/ a feather and my forgiveness poem — and we sell flesh eating ocean water w/ a DNR (do not resuscitate order — guaranteed to eat the flesh right off your bones — we will even send the flesh eating water in a padded envelope — broken — so when the recipient opens the envelope his fingers will get wet —  enclosed with a letter — please call 911 immediately.”

“My reasoning for karma is only 1 —  I believe in it —  I hear so many people tell each other bad karma is going to get you — but, that’s not any of my business —  goes hand in hand with “thou shalt not judge” — I do believe in bad karma — but I also believe in good karma — every single decision I make is based on right and wrong — good or bad — with me right and good always win — I have never learned anything to teach me different — nor do i want to –”

Where do we go from here? What’s next for BBB?

One day I am going to finish my book — I have been in 3 since the storm —  2 had permission 1 did not — the one who did not made up elaborate stories that were not true — she said she made me a hero and everyone agreed — but I did not – I this only encourages me to write the true story – I but I have so much on my plate I have to clean first — and I know god will tell me when it’s time – the only problem with that  is that i am blessed with a most adventuresome life — I go from adventure to adventure as the heavens see fit – it’s a great job — somebody has to do it — I’m glad He chose me.

What about starting a family?

“I don’t know about the wife and kid thing — I was married before – let’s leave it at that – maybe I’ll settle down when I’m 111 years old.”

If anyone is interested in “finding” you how can they reach out to you?

“The best way to reach me online is to checkout my website billybadbird.com and email me will@billybadbird.com. I also stay connected to Facebook and Twitter 24 hours a day — I like Facebook because I can easily post my pics.”

All photos taken by Wilford Raney.

A Poem by Billy:

Billybadbird — better business bird — up 2 no’n but good
I ain’t really no bad bird — that’s just my name
If it’s for the birds it’s a good thing — if it’s not it will be

Also Check Out:

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.

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38 Comments on “Who is Wilford Raney “@BillyBadBird” – Over 1 Billion Views (Like McDonalds) #ProllyEvenMore”

  1. fc3arch says:

    Maybe I should have called this one: A BIRD’S EYE VIEW???

    • Jennifer Dodd says:

      Hey, I like that! “A Bird’s Eye View” ……………… Frank you did a superb job in writing this piece about Wilford Raney or Billy as you call him :)) ….. Plus, I just love the way you formatted the whole thing. Very nice!

  2. Linda says:

    Excellent story!!! Thank you for sharing:))

  3. Proof that I read this article!

  4. thank you frank, linda and diane

  5. fc3arch says:

    Over 200 views in under one -hour not bad Billy! Congrats!

  6. Suzie says:

    Awesome story of a great guy… Just remember Wil, I knew you when!:) Su-Z

  7. cath says:

    Great post and absolutely amazing photos! Never fails to amaze me what nice people one can become acquainted wih on the “evil” Internet. Good luck to Wilford as the seagull savior. 🙂
    ~cath
    Twitter @ jonesbabie

  8. Chantelle says:

    wow… didn’t know you were such a talented photography billybadbird!!! Great writeup Frank… will swing by here more often for sure 🙂 Smiles, Chantelle *ChantellesArt2

  9. surfmom says:

    Thank you for this — a wonderful Affirmation of being Human

  10. congrats – brother – you rock

  11. Renee' Ochoa says:

    Great read! I always enjoy BBB photos, and comments. You said it all in a nutshell!

    p.s. Island?

  12. audra mcelroy says:

    wow. those r great brother. loved them, wish i was right there w you. i miss my beach. i’ll b down soon.
    love u
    audra

  13. lisa says:

    that was a great story bro, i know you have always had great talent, used for good is how you get the greatest peace, i miss waking up to those sunrises and sunsets, the water period, living next to you on the beach was the most peaceful ive ever been, even with the irritating early morning bird feedings, lol, ike has taught us all a lot of lessons, the most was things are just things and mostly replaceable, the family and friends that we have whats importantant and that GOD is good , he has kept us safe and the people of our pennisula are a resilient and get it done too have come back from such a tragic situation, i will be glad for the day i again live on the beach, and your pictures are beautiful, im proud of you.

  14. fc3arch says:

    you welcome / thank you

  15. SOMETHING TELLS ME THIS STORY IS GOING TO BE AROUND FOR 111 YEARS

    • Jennifer Dodd says:

      I enjoyed your story very much, i thought i already posted a comment for you, rather than the one above only (under Frank’s comment) ….. sounds like you are living the life 🙂 with peace and solitude, while enjoying nature and the environment in which you live. …It is wonderful that you like to share your story and all your beautiful photographs to people all around this world of ours! To enjoy, as you do. To see beauty, as you do. Or, should i say, from a bird’s eye view! :))) …………….thank you, for sharing such a wonderful and happy story.

  16. MICHAEL says:

    HELLO WILLMO ITS KUJAWA

  17. emmyswain says:

    You’re awesome, Billy! I used to volunteer for the Virginia Marine & Science Museum’s Stranding Team. We would help the stranded marine life, many of whom we lost. I love the ocean and the beach, and still walk, pick up and throw away.

    Nah, you’re not so bad. I’d say you’re Billy Beautiful Bird, but I won’t spoil your reputation. Your’s is a beautiful life!

    Happy New Year!

  18. jason says:

    These days, you dont find many people like Billy. Any man who is so devoted to helping others is a man who knows the true meaning of spirituality. I have the highest respect for that. Now I understand about the bird and how you got your billybadbird name. I also must say that you have a definite career in photography. I also know that when you give so much to the world, karma works in magical ways. The world gives to you. You deserve the best, and I believe all your dreams will come true. You are a great guy, and Im thrilled we connected and help each other also!!!

    • fc3arch says:

      He is a diamond in the rough! Thx for reading and commenting Jason. 2013 is going to be great ~ Sending you lots of love, hope, peace, health, happiness and prosperity!

  19. Trish says:

    thank you for sharing.. What a inspiration you are and in many ways.. what a pleasure to get to know you.. 🙂

  20. nancy Reid says:

    Hi Billy ~ nice to finally get to know you. My brother is retired from the Air Force and was once stationed in Bossier City many years ago! Thank you for all the support with Klout and retweets. I am so appreciative of both. Please let me know if there is any way I can return the favor! BTW ~ you’re photography is stuninng! xox

  21. Hola, ciertamente creo quue este es un extraordinario
    website. Lo encontre con el por chiripa 😉 Lo visitare muchisimo mas por costumbre sencillamente porque lo hhe añadido en marcadores .
    Este ejemplo de parecer es la mejor forma
    de cambiar y apoyar con los users.


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