Article in: Bird Conservation
February 13, 2012
The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary located in Indian Shores, Florida is the “largest wild bird hospital in the U.S” and also one of the coolest places we’ve ever been to see birds!
Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary admits some 8,000 birds each year and was the “first facility to breed Eastern Brown Pelicans in captivity”.
Started in 1971 by Ralph T. Heath, the sanctuary is dedicated to helping injured birds and educating the public. They are open every day year-round and charge no admission (although if you’re like us you are more than happy to purchase from their gift shop and donate some cash).
Everywhere we looked there were birds, the main attraction being the Brown Pelicans. Not only were there tons of injured ones but on top of the enclosures were wild pelicans making nests. Throughout our visit we could see and hear pelicans coming and going, working on building nests and feeding their young.
Also ever present were Double-crested Cormorants. These black beauties would flaunt their wings and flash their piercing blue eyes.
While we were observing the injured birds we were surprised to spot a Wood Stork which gracefully landed on top of the enclosures. This tall, wonderful bird was a lifer for both Stacia and me.
We spent several hours at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and it was difficult to leave. We kept finding new birds to watch like a Snowy Egret and I even shared a bench with a Black-crowned Night-heron (who then flew to the next bench).
Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is an absolute must see for all birders not only for the amazing views of some of the world’s coolest birds but because of the great work they do for birds. This visit was the most inspiring visit to a bird rehab center we have ever been to.
Please tell all your family and friends to visit them and support their efforts!