One day last week I was driving south along the beach and decided to make a stop at a bird sanctuary. A Ranger at our park, who is also a bird rescuer, had told me about this bird hospital/rehabilitation center and “last resort” home for injured birds. She had recently taken a Barn Owl fledgling there from our park to be nursed back to health and rehabilitated until it could manage in the wild on its own.
This sanctuary sits right on the beach in a beautiful setting with lots of tall trees and tropical plants.
I was surprised to see many healthy birds also hanging around on the beach and in the gardens on the sanctuary grounds. I saw Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Black Skimmers, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, Brown Pelicans, and Black Vultures. Maybe they had friends or family living in this home, or maybe they just felt safe there with other birds.
The sanctuary has a bird hospital, a building where the injured “patients” brought here for care and rehabilitation are housed. Most of those birds would heal, be rehabilitated and then released back to the wild. And therefore should not get too accustomed to people – no visits allowed. The birds are brought here with many kinds of injuries, most common being injuries to the wings, legs, bill or eyes. Many caused by close contact with human operated machines, such as boat propellers. If their injuries are so bad that they will not be able to manage in the wild although otherwise healed, they have a home here for life. Like these White Pelicans.
The babies born here will be released back into the wild when they are ready to leave their parents, and have been trained to manage independently.
But I have to tell you the story of two Blue Jays. They share a little apartment here, just the two of them. They have no external injuries. But they had been raised by humans as pets, and then just left on their own – to die. They are now adults, but have no idea how to live in the wild. One of them (below) would meow like a cat. I’m not kidding.
They have been trained, but it’s clear they will never be able to live in the wild. They don’t know how to get food. They have also left the sanctuary twice by themselves, but returned “home” both times. I don’t want to put in print what I think of people who take wild baby birds as pets, and then just abandon them.
The majority of the permanent residents are seabirds: pelicans, gulls and different kinds of herons and egrets, but there are also a few owls and hawks. This beautiful Great Horned Owl has a wing injury and is no longer able to fly.
I’m happy there’s a place where injured birds from a quite wide area are taken care of, and that most of them are actually rehabilitated back into life in the wild.
Thanks for coming along and have a great day.