Friday, April 1, 2011

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and One Pelican at a Time: A Story of the Gulf Oil Spill


Rescued Pelicans
  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 hospital 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. 

During the gulf spill, many oiled and injured pelicans were taken to the bird sanctuary.  Most have been released.  Some have not.  The birds (some were not pelicans) from the spill are kept from human view, so they can be released back into the wild when they are able to live on their own. 

Feeding Brown Pelicans

 One of the Sanctuary's biggest success stories is the captive breeding of the Eastern brown pelican. This groundbreaking program has aided in educating zoological facilities and wildlife refuges all over the world in addition to reestablishing this species in the wild.

It is to this very sanctuary the old crooked beak pelican was taken, and it where Bella and Britt helped clean oil from his feathers.

Yes, I know.  Tampa Bay was not impacted by the spill.  Nevertheless, this is the prototype I used in the book.  In One Pelican at a Time, Mr. Hughes is the director.  A connection?  You be the judge of that.

Britt, Bella and the old crooked beak Pelican

1 comment:

  1. We missed this sanctuary when we were in Florida, and it looks like a wonderful place. If we go to that area again, we'll be sure to visit. Best wishes for One Pelican at a Time and your blog tour, Nancy!