Visit the Skimmer Colony and get instruction on shooting birds and birds in flight
This morning's Wildside PhotoWalk will be a little different. The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is a great place to photograph numerous captive and wild birds. On the beach the Skimmer colony will be getting active and great shots can be obtained with relatively short telephoto lenses. In all there are at least 30 species of birds that can easily be photographed.
Located on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is a truly unique place. Founded in 1971 by zoologist Ralph Heath, the Sanctuary is the largest non-profit wild bird sanctuary in the United States. It is staffed by experienced professionals assisted by over a hundred dedicated volunteers. Similar to a human hospital, it is equipped with emergency facilities, a surgical center, and indoor and outdoor rehabilitation areas. An average of 23-30 wild birds are admitted every day for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, approximately 90% of these injuries are directly or indirectly attributable to humans.
The Sanctuary is considered to be one of the top avian rehabilitation centers in the world. Up to 10,000 wild injured birds (159 different species ) were admitted to the hospital each year for care. Happily, over 80% of the birds that survive the first 24 hours are successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild. These statistics rank the Sanctuary as the largest and most successful wild bird hospitals in the United States.
There are a variety of species that are permanent residents at the Sanctuary, ranging from tiny song and garden birds to the majestic birds of prey. Although the goal is always to release the birds after they have recuperated from an illness or injury, those who have sustained injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild are kept permanently at the Sanctuary or given to another reputable facility. Any offspring these permanent residents produce are released into the wild.
There is no admission fee to the sanctuary, but donations are suggested to help the organization continue their mission to help sick and injured birds.