The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, Florida, is the largest wild bird hospital in the United States. They treat up to 8,000 injured wild birds per year, in addition to caring for around 600 permanent resident birds. Permanently injured seabirds, plus others including raptors, songbirds, waders, and seabirds, are given a home at the sanctuary.
90% of the birds cared for by the Sanctuary become injured as a result of accidental or intentional human action.
During our visit to the Sanctuary last month, we saw many of the permanent resident birds.
American White Pelicans gather together in a corner of their roomy enclosure
Later, the American White Pelicans spread out for some serious snoozing
Permanent resident Northern Gannets
A Sandhill Crane and Great Blue Heron shared an enclosure with other large wading birds
The Sanctuary also attracts wild birds, who know that it might be a spot for getting an easy meal. Black-crowned Night Herons were nesting in nearly all of the trees on the Sanctuary grounds. Other species of heron, along with Brown Pelicans and other seabirds, were also visiting the Sanctuary while we were there.
Employees only, present company excluded
Just one of many Black-crowned Night-Herons loafing around the Sanctuary
Non-releasable birds of prey, songbirds, woodpeckers and rails also live at the sanctuary. We got to see a couple of raptors as they were taken out onto the glove during our visit.
Non-releasable Red-shouldered Hawk on the glove
Non-releasable Short-tailed Hawk on the glove
Among the many, many permanently injured Brown Pelicans at the Sanctuary, some birds tending to baby pelicans. Stay tuned – I’ll have more about the Sanctuary’s success with Brown Pelicans in a future post!
A Brown Pelican and a Double-crested Cormorant, both probably former patients, visit the Sanctuary
The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is located at 18328 Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores on the west coast of Florida. The Sanctuary is open 365 days per year, from 9AM until sunset. Admission is free. The nonprofit relies on donations to care for up to 8,000 injured birds each year. Visit their website to learn more.