Welcome to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
Following our slow chase for the Possum Branch Green-tailed Towhee last month, Arthur and I headed to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, Florida. I first heard about the sanctuary from my friend Karen, who volunteered there last year after wanting to do so for several years.
Brown Pelicans and Black-crowned Night-Herons form part of the welcome committee at the Sanctuary
The Sanctuary was founded in 1971 by Ralph Heath, on the Heath homestead. The Sanctuary grew rapidly into on of the world’s largest wild bird hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Today the Sanctuary is comprised of several re-purposed buildings, plus many bird enclosures, cages, and mews.
Injured birds are cared for immediately upon arrival
Huge aviaries for permanently injured, non-releasable seabirds
Mews for resident raptors and songbirds
We had a lovely long visit at the Sanctuary, where we got to see a bit of the work involved in caring for up to 8,000 birds per year, plus a large contingent of permanent residents.
Arthur watches a video in the (temporary) educational center; founder Ralph Heath is on screen
Of course we were there to see the good work done at the Sanctuary, and to visit the resident birds. I will have more about both in the next post. I think you could guess from that photo of the entrance at the top of this post — not all of the birds we saw were inside enclosures…
Shall we visit the gift shop, or take photos of Black-crowned Night-Herons?
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.