All About Animals: Birds Edition

I mentioned in a recent post that one of my happy places is the Peace River Wildlife Center where I volunteer on the weekend as a tour guide. I love that I get to be around beautiful animals but cannot be tempted to bring them home with me because well, it’s illegal to have wildlife in your home as a pet. And if you’ve taken a look at The Herd page, well, you know I really don’t have room for more!! Nor can I afford to take care of any more!

PRWC is a small wildlife rehab center and sanctuary that does amazing work for the budget that it has.  It is run on private donations and most of the folks that greet visitors are volunteers such as myself but there are some paid staff such as the wildlife rehabilitator and techs and an office manager/volunteer coordinator/she of many hats! I find that as I am learning more about the animals and the organization, my time at PRWC is becoming more and more important to me each week. I truly look forward to the hours I spend there, and have now joined their outreach team. (The photos below that were taken with humans around were from an outreach event about a week ago.)

If you’d like to help PRWC’s cause (or any one of a number non-profits like them), then when you shop on Amazon, go instead to Amazon Smile and pick the charitable organization of your choice. At no extra cost to you, that charity will get a small percentage of the cost of your items donated to them. It may only be pennies at a time but over time, believe me, it can add up.

Down here in Florida, I am fortunate to see a lot of wildlife so I am sharing some in this post that I have seen since I’ve moved here along with some photos of ambassador animals from PRWC. The ambassadors go to outreach events to let people know about the center and serve as great sources of education and inspiration for anyone who is able to see them up close.

By the way, these brown pelicans shown below were waiting for a fisherman who was cleaning off some fish, to throw them scraps. PSA: fisherman should not throw them parts of fish. If there are any bones sticking out, it can really do a number on ripping up their throat when they eat it. It’s best for a pelican to eat a fish whole.

Two adult brown pelicans as seen in Naples last year. You know they are adults because their necks are white. They don’t get their adult colors until they turn three. The one appearing closest to me as the photographer appears to have a chestnut colored neck. That means he or she was in mating/nesting mode. They don’t get this dark chestnut color until they turn at least three. After nesting season is over, that color will molt off and they will return to their full white necks. We have many of these pelicans at PRWC!
Black crowned night heron – this one was seen at the Seaside Bird Sanctuary, Indian Shores, Florida. This one was not a resident of the sanctuary but seemed unfazed by all the humans walking right by him/her.
Okay, it’s not a bird but a gopher tortoise. We have one named Legoless (a few amputations on her foot due to being attacked by a dog) at our sanctuary.
Saw these flamingos at Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve been told that, similar to the roseate spoonbill, they have pink feathers due to their diet. My sanctuary does have a roseatte spoonbill named Spork. He was almost dead from starvation when found, as he couldn’t fly. He has had a wing amputation and is one of my favorites at PRWC.
Cruiser is an American Kestrel. Smallest type of falcon in North America. One of the types of birds where the male is more brightly colored than the female (his wings have some blue to them.) Named Cruiser because he was hit by a car and found by a biker who picked him up, put him in his saddlebags and brought him to PRWC. That was about two years ago. He is estimated to be about three years old.
Here is a close up of Cruiser’s beautiful face!
Luna is a very rare Eastern Screech Owl if not the only one that is totally white! Eastern screech owls are the smallest owl to be found in Florida. Usually they blend into the background of a tree where they may be hanging out. Luna does not have the pigment needed to help him protect himself in the wild. Eastern screech owls usually live about three years in the wild. Luna turns 7 on April Fools Day! (No joke!)
Isn’t Orion majestic?? He is a three year old barred owl that imprinted on humans at a very young age. The story about him is that as a baby, he tried to fly. Didn’t go so well and he found himself on the ground. A lady found him and called the Fish and Wildlife folks who put him back in the tree. But she had become enamored with him and would go out and talk to him and sometimes feed him. So he never learned to hunt for food on his own. So now he, along with Luna and Cruiser are just a few of the ambassador animals found at PRWC.
Here is another photo of Orion. Owls have many more vertebrae in their neck than humans, which is what allows them to turn 270 degrees!! I believe at the time I took this photo, he might have been giving a dog the stink-eye!

So that’s it for this post. I plan on adding more information to the Animal Rights and Welfare Groups page and have some thoughts about adding an Educational Resources/Tools page to this blog. (You really can take the girl out of the library but not the library out of the girl.) Let me know what you think about that, and I hope that you enjoy these photos and the little bits of information I was able to share!

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