Thursday, 20 November 2008

Wings on the Wind

The Marine Science Centre at Ponce Inlet held it's 4th annual Wings on the Wind Festival last weekend.

In November the Centre holds an Open House that highlights it's coastal wildlife rehabilitation programme. Injured turtles, manatees and seabirds are provided with medical care and a safe place to recover from whatever ails them.

There were quite a few sea turtles in tanks recovering in the Sea Turtle Hospital ICU Ward. Some big, some small. This one was the biggest.

An assortment of birds of prey were on show. All of these birds had been found as orphaned fleglings, unable to care for themselves, so volunteers have stepped in as substitute parents.

This Harris's Hawk had been raised by hand since he fell out of his nest at 14 days old. He was flying free but always returned to his handler's gloved hand on command. While we watched, he caught a lizard and greedily gobbled it up.

An Eastern Screech Owl sat patiently on her handler's glove waiting for a tasty snack.

This is Priscilla, an American Kestrel. This bird is the smallest falcon ocurring in North America.
But the highlight of the afternoon is the bird release. This year there were three birds who had recovered from their injuries enough to be released back into the wild, a laughing gull, and two brown pelicans.
The birds arrived at the beach in two animal carriers, covered in a cloth. As the coverings were removed, the gull (in the smaller carrier) became very anxious to leave. "Let me outa here!"

The gull didn't waste any time on a polite "Goodbye" or "Thankyou", as soon as the door was opened he was off!

And the pelicans followed suit, making it down the beach to the water breaking the world land speed record for pelicans. It was all over in a matter of seconds. A little different from the stately decorum of last year's release.

Three more beautiful seabirds are healthy and back where they are supposed to be thanks to the good people at the MSC.

19 comments:

bigbikerbob said...

Hi,Its brilliant to see these Animals and Birds brought back to full good health then released, lovely photo's too.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

It's great that the centre takes care of orphan birds. That pelican couldn't wait to be released though. It must have been a hoot to watch.

photowannabe said...

What a wonderful way to spend some time. The Centre does great work returning creatures back to where they belong.

rosemary said...

What a wonderful place. We have several wildlife centers here in Idaho but mostly they take in bear, moose and eagles.

Joanne said...

What a sight to see, seabirds taking flight into freedom. Beautiful.

Xtreme English said...

priscilla is the first kestrel i've seen up close...what an adorable bird! happy b'day, Callum! and happy blogiversary to you, shammy! some people were born to blog! and you're one of them....

Hilary said...

Fantastic shots and great post. Gotta love them birds.

Libbys Blog said...

How wonderful to be included in a release. A fabulous experience!

Changes in the wind said...

What a wonderful opportunity to share in the release! Days and days of hard work and care all caputred in one moment......

Angie Ledbetter said...

Wow, thanks for letting us share your wonderful experience through word and photograph.

lettuce said...

such beautifuls birds!

the laughing gull is a great name - i always think gulls look a little amused, if not smug

CanadianSwiss said...

i'm really glad that there are still so many people saving, preserving and caring for wildlife. Such a treasure. And thank you for capturing and reminding us all about the fact that we can make a difference :)

Gill - That British Woman said...

that is such a neat thing to do, you took some lovely photos.

Gill

dabrah said...

I liked the sea turtles' hospital bed. What a nice place, and your pictures are really good.

Peter said...

Perhaps less people around than last year, but so nice to see!!!

lorenzothellama said...

Whoops, I commented on the wrong posting! I must get Maalie to look in at your photos!

today's word: munploc

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How Fantastic! That these people save these Wonderful Creatures from certain death and then release them when it is okay....Well, this is just deeply moving!
LOVE your pictures and that you document these increddible happenings!
Thanks so very much, my dear.

Neva said...

What a great place......I had no idea they had places like this....

Wendy said...

How wonderful! Wouldn't you like to work there? I think I would and spend my days in Florida helping wildlife.
Thanks for the info in this post. It was most interesting.