The Great Horned Owl, Miss Kitty, is alert and follows my movements in front of her little house with keen interest. This owl, whose badly infected wing had to be amputated, has been living at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary for over nine years. She is usually one of the first birds to greet me when I visit. Her closest neighbor is another long-time resident, a Barred Owl. She is huddling deep in thought close to the ceiling of her little row house, and unlike her neighbor she clearly prefers her own company. And I respect that.
Next, I am checking on some of the White Pelicans. They have a large netted home with several swimming pools to enjoy in the summer heat. While autumn is officially here, our temperatures are still hovering in the upper 80s F (around 30C).
The Brown Pelicans have a home next to their white cousins, and their ‘yard’ is also appointed with several pools. Just chilling around the pool seems to be a favorite activity.
Next to the pelicans, two Sandhill Cranes have their large, beautifully decorated home.
Some smaller birds, like a juvenile White Ibis and an American Oyster Catcher with a badly injured wing, share the neighboring homes.
But to be honest, I came here to see an old friend, the Red Shouldered Hawk. Her name is Isis. I will need to point out that this beautiful bird was named 26 years ago when she first came to this sanctuary with a badly injured eye. She is close to 30 years old now, completely blind in one eye and almost blind in the other. To my delight I discover that her handler has just arrived to take her out for a ‘walk’ in the park. Great! So after greeting the other birds, I walk into a large covered area under the observation tower and find her perched there.
I love watching her and it is clear that she thoroughly enjoys her open air outing. But I also want to take a few pictures of her. And that proves quite challenging. While the covered area is nice and shadowy, the sun is very bright right outside of it.
Isis is still molting and she is preening diligently to get rid of some old feathers on her wings.
And then she stretches her beautiful wings. I can sense she is dreaming of flying high up in the sky riding a cool current.
She has had a long, safe and comfortable life here at the sanctuary and it is wonderful, as always, to spend some time with her.
Walking out of the sanctuary I meet two non-residents, an American Black Vulture and a Black-crowned Night Heron. Perhaps they have relatives in rehabilitation here, or maybe they are just waiting for a free meal. I also note that the night heron is strategically positioned to remind visitors of the importance of donating to this unique sanctuary.
It is lovely to know there is a place where so many injured wild birds can get help. About 15-20 birds daily, or up to 5000 each year, are brought to the Dr. Marie L. Farr Avian Hospital located in this sanctuary. They have varying injuries, for example to their limbs, eyes or bills.
Unfortunately about 90% of those injuries are directly or indirectly attributtable to human activity. After receiving the necessary hospital care, the birds are rehabilitated and then released. The success rate is fairly high, over 80% of the birds who survive the first 24 hours go back to live their lives in the wild. Those who cannot manage to live on their own due to a permanent handicap are provided a forever home here. I am always filled with gratitude thinking of all the volunteers who take care of these birds and keep their homes looking wonderful, and people who donate to keep this sanctuary going.
That’s all for tonight from the Seabird Sanctuary. Next, your reporter will take on the replacement of the osprey nest platform at the salt marsh. We don’t want Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley to move out just because their home falls apart, do we?
We all hope your week is going great.
53 thoughts on “Hello World! Reporting Live from the Seabird Sanctuary.”
wat an awesome post it! love the pics … u might like dis one i am going to post soon i luv it … of course thought of when i read this one 🙂
That is the cutest little owl ❤ Love her expressions. Thanks for sharing!
That it is…it’s a happy place to visit. They release so many birds back to the wild on a daily basis.
I love when people do good things. 🙂
Me too Jackie! I always see so many volunteers there taking care of the birds and their homes.
Sad to think we are responsible for so many injuries, still such wonderful people to nurture these birds back to good health. 🙏🏻
It is always inspiring to visit this hospital & sanctuary – their staff and volunteers do such good work. Every released bird is a small victory 🙂
Great post with beautiful photos! I once visited a raptor sanctuary in Orlando, and I think this one sure looks better.
Thank you, Hien. This place always looks impeccable when I visit – all the ‘bird homes’ are neat and clean with appropriate facilities for each type of bird. The birds that cannot be released back to the wild live a comfortable and safe life here.
I love the details in these birds & photos Helen! It makes me want a good camera. Any suggestions for a camera under $500?
Thanks Brad. There are several good cameras just under or at $500. I am a ‘Canon girl’ and while I now have two high-end Canons, I still love my old “bridge camera” with superzoom (24-1200mm), a Canon SX50HS. I still use it on my hikes when I do not want to carry a heavy bag with several lenses. That model is still on the marked at about $300, and the newer model SX60HS can now be found at or even just under $500. If you want a camera where you can change lenses, the Canon EOS Rebel series has a few great cameras that you can get at or under $500 (T6 and SL1 for example).
Thanks for the tips Helen! 🙂
Opened your page and a big owl was up close and looking at me. 🙂 Beautiful images as always.
Happy you liked Miss Kitty 🙂 She has huge eyes for sure! Thanks for your visit and have a great weekend, Maverick.
Thanks for a lovely share. The owl in that header shot has BIG EYES!
Miss Kitty has huge eyes for sure! She got her name when she came to the sanctuary because she used to hiss like a cat when the volunteers would come to clean her house 🙂
What a lovely sanctuary and wonderful mission they serve. Beautiful captures, Helen. I loved seeing that big owl in my face when opening your post, awesome! 🙂
Yes, this is a place with a great mission. And although many birds live there forever, it’s an inspiring place to visit. Each release back into the wild is a small victory 🙂
Excellent work, and such a shame we humans have a moral obligation to heal the many woundings we ourselves inflict on wildlife.
So true Hariod. We have taken over so much of their habitats that accidents are prone to happen. They do such good work in rehabilitating many birds back into the wild.
Oh my gosh – that banner picture is priceless!
Miss Kitty was quite interested in my camera and posed eagerly with her huge eyes wide open.
Thanks Tiny for taking us through this wonderful facility, it is so good that people are dedicated to saving our wildlife and restoring the injured. Love your photos. That’s the great treat of zoos and places like this, you can sometimes get great close up shots. Your American Oyster Catcher is very similar to our Pied Oystercatcher, if not almost identical.except ours is blacker. Have a wonderful weekend, I am exhausted, and have a massive next few days ahead.
Happy you enjoyed the pictures of these precious birds, Ashley. I visit 2-3 times a year to see these birds and to give my small contribution. That Oyster Catcher had a companion there too, but I didn’t get a picture of him. I hope you can get some rest over this weekend.
Outstanding images!! Tiny, I see you are really getting the hang of your new equipment. Glorious post and I thank you! ❤
Thank you for your visit and your kind comment, dear Amy ❤ I wish you a wonderful, peaceful and creative weekend.
Thank you, Tiny!! Much Love, ❤
Stunning photographs, Tiny and lovely post!
Thank you for your visit, Annika. Happy you liked these precious birds 🙂
What an amazing service offered by the sanctuary. As I read your post, as if on cue, the Canadian geese honked their farewells to me as they begin their migration. I do love the sound of geese flying by!
We’ll see them here soon 🙂
What a fantastic sanctuary for these birds, Helen. I’m amazed at how long Isis has lived there. That must be quite a record for longevity. I see that in the wild, Red-Shouldered Hawks only live for just over two years. All your photos are so gorgeous. 🙂 Happy weekend to you. xx
Isis is now VERY old for a R-S Hawk, even for having lived in captivity, but she didn’t look tired to me. However the handler, a wonderful woman who’s been taking care of her for over 20 years, told me that molting now takes more of Isis’ energy than it used to, that she in fact had lost a little weight. Thank you Sylvia and have a great weekend. XX
Isis sounds as feisty as my mom-in-law at 103. ❤
What a delight, Helen, to see, and be a part of, this wonderful work re-building lives. It really does take a ‘village’.
I’m smitten with Isis, too; her colours are gorgeous.
From your green Aussie friend… Thank You for sharing; it really is a treat! 🙂
Happy you enjoyed the visit to these beautiful birds, Carolyn! Always when I visit, there’s a ‘village’ of volunteers working to make it the best possible home for these permanent residents, and another crew in the hospital caring for the sick/injured ones. That part is not open for public, of course. One day I am hoping to witness a release too, althouh very few releases are done right there at the sanctuary – most birds are released back to nature close to where they were found so that they can find their way back ‘home’ 🙂 XOXO
What a heartwarming visit! You captured those special residents so beautifully Helen. They do such great work 💛
It was great to see how well my ‘old friends’ were doing. This is the same place where the little Sandwich Tern, whom I found last year at the salt marsh with a fishing hook tangled in her cheek, came for surgery. She did recuperate very well and was released in a couple of days ❤ Have a wonderful weekend, Val.
What a wonderful place, thanks for taking us there.
Happy you enjoyed the visit, Susan.
How good to visit the sanctuary again. Isis is amazing as are all those who care for her and the other birds.
Oh, Miss Kitty was a hoot. 😉
It was great that my visit again coincided with Isis’ outing. She is such a beautiful bird. And yes, Miss Kitty is a hoot. She got her name as a newbie there for many years ago because she used to hiss like a cat when staff came to clean her row house 🙂 She’s now used to all that and very curious about all the visitors.
Wow, Tiny! I love the portrait of the black vulture and Miss Kitty’s eyes are stunning! All these pictures are wonderful.
I, too, am grateful there is a place where so many injured wild birds can get the help they need and a chance to live as comfortably as possible with their disabilities. It’s the least we can do for them since it’s our activity that causes most of their injuries.
Miss Kitty is a hoot. Great photos.
Fabulous photos! A joy to see.
I’m sorry for the absence – so much going on! It’s always wonderful to be back and find your posts, Tiny! I fell in love with the owl pictures. 🙂 Hope life is treating you well. Have a great week.