The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is a 501(C)(3) Charitable Organization. Our new hospital is located just north of the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary at 93997 Overseas Highway on the ocean side of US 1. A former veterinarian’s office, the new space provides much needed square footage for our office and enables wildlife rehabilitator, Amanda Margraves, to maintain a sterile, professional environment for the treatment of our avian patients. Amanda and her dedicated staff of employees, volunteers and interns anticipate caring for around 1,000 patients representing 80 species in this next year.
Though we host over 50,000 visitors yearly along our Sanctuary boardwalk, their donations cover only a small fraction of our expenses and most of our patients do not come to the hospital with a donation to offset the cost of their care. Your donations keep FKWBC’s Wildlife Hospital saving lives and the Sanctuary teaching and inspiring. We sincerely appreciate and are thankful for all donations regardless of size.
Please help. We are in great need of the following items:
- Pet carriers (all sizes)
- Wire cages
- Plastic storage boxes with lids (all sizes)
- Leather welding gloves
- Baby blankets (no holes or frays)
- Heating pads (no automatic shut off)
- Heat Lamps
- Dish liquid
- Laundry detergent
- Scrub pads
- Plastic trash bags (all sizes)
- Quart & gallon sized freezer bags
- Paper towels, toilet paper
- Mops and brooms
- Floor squeegees
- Plastic and stainless steel scrub brushes
- Butterfly catheters
- Cotton swabs
- Vet wrap
- Sam splint
- Digital gram scale
- Non-adhering dressings (telfa, adaptic)
- White & Colored paper
- Laptop computer
- Hand & Power tools
- Pressure treated wood
- Exterior plywood (4’ x8’)
- Rolls of metal cage wire (4’ wide ½ x ½”)
- Water Hoses & Nozzles
- Washer & Dryer
- Refrigerator (in good working condition)
- Rescue Vehicle (Van or SUV)
**The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is a 501(C)(3) Charitable Organization**
Joan Scholz — Executive Director
Joan is a long-time Florida Keys resident and served for a year as a director on the Board of the FKWBC. This past August, Joan stepped down from the Board in order to accept the position of Executive Director and also to fulfill her desire to make a greater contribution to the mission of the FKWBC. She has always had a passion for wildlife and a concern for the welfare of animals. Joan received her M.B.A. from Polytechnic University and held middle to upper level managerial positions with Verizon before she retired in mid-2009.
Amanda Margraves — Wildlife Rehabilitator and Hospital/Sanctuary Manager
Amanda joined our staff this summer after serving as Wildlife Rehabilitator/Supervisor and Assistant Director at the Belize Bird Rescue and Avian Clinic Manager at the C.A.S.A. Avian Alliance, both located in Belize. She earned a B.S. in Anthropology/Zoology from the University of Michigan, is federally licensed to care for migratory birds, and continues to expand and challenge her knowledge by taking online courses in wildlife rehabilitation. Amanda has extensive experience with the rescue and rehabilitation of native and migratory birds, including birds of prey, as well as a background in caring for raccoons, bats and deer.
Nancy Saxe — Volunteer Veterinarian
Nancy Saxe, D.V.M., has been an invaluable asset to the Center, donating time, expertise and surgery when needed. She graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University and moved to Florida to work for several veterinary practices before establishing Lantana Animal Hospital in Lantana, FL, in 1980. After selling her thirty-year-old practice in Lantana, Nancy established Saxe Veterinary Services, P.A., in 2009. She now offers mobile veterinary service and will treat your pet at your home or, if needed, at her home. The practice is located in Islamorada, but provides veterinary services from Key Largo to Key West.
Erin Ulrey – Assistant Rehabber
Erin is a recent graduate of Northern Michigan University, where she studied Zoology. Erin has done several internships involving Whooping Cranes and their nesting behaviors. She has also worked with black bears and various species of turtles during other internships. Erin loves birds of prey and larger wading birds.
Dave has been working at the FKWBC since November 2009. He is skilled in caring for both the patients and residents and is often called upon for rescues because of his very successful techniques. Dave is also a PADI Dive Master, Captain and Back-country Guide, avid fisherman and musician.
Ray joined the FKWBC staff this past January. He has a background in construction and works daily to make improvements to the Sanctuary enclosures. Ray has been a true asset to the organization and takes great pride in caring for the rehabilitated sanctuary resident birds. Ray is originally from New York and spends his free time with his children and grandchildren. He loves talking to people and can be seen along the boardwalk answering questions about the birds.
Bird Rescue Info
FOUND A BABY BIRD:
- If the young bird is hopping and running away from you, chances are it’s a fledgling. This is the stage where baby birds that are fully-feathered hop out of the nest and spend a few days on the ground before learning how to fly. Watch the bird closely for about an hour and if the parents fly in to feed it, then it is ok.
- If the bird is in immediate danger from outdoor pets, scoop him up and put in a nearby bush or shrub out of harm’s way.
- If you find a baby with sparse feathers and down or no feathers and you know where the nest is, then return the bird to its nest.
- It is OK to pick up a baby bird and put it back in the nest or move it out of harm’s way. The parents will return for it, even though you have touched it.
- Do not attempt to feed baby birds or fledglings.
- If you cannot find the nest or the bird appears to be sick, injured, or your pet brought the bird home still alive, then contact us at 305-852-4486.
BIRD NEST DESTROYED:
If the nest has been destroyed, you can construct a makeshift nest using a small basket or Cool Whip container.
- Put holes in the bottom of container for drainage.
- Line the container with material from old nest or dry grass or leaves.
- Wire your nest to a branch or place it securely in a branch fork close to or in the same spot as the old nest. If you are not sure where the bird was nesting, then call 305-852-4486.
- Place birds into new nest.
- Do not attempt to feed baby birds or fledglings.
FOUND BIRD TANGLED IN FISHING LINE OR WITH A HOOK IN IT:
- Reel the fishing line in slowly. Don’t cut the line yet!
- Ask someone to help you — they may have tools and extra hands you need.
- If on a pier, landing nets may not reach to the water. A cast net or hoop net may be used. Hoop net: immerse mouth of the net just below surface, ropes showing. Throw a fish or bait in the water so the bird has to cross 3/4 over the submerged net to retrieve it. Pull the net up quickly guided by the live line at the same time so the bird does not jump out. Do not pull a bird up just by hook or monofilament line alone.
- If it is a pelican, grasp the bill in the middle.
- When transporting a bird, place index finger in between upper and lower bill so the bird can breathe. It is especially important to secure the head firmly on birds whose bills are smaller than the pelican’s: cormorants, anhinga, loons, herons, egrets, gulls, or terns, as they are fast and have stronger bills. Grab these birds behind the eyes on the skull. Do not grab around the neck or step on the bird as a way of securing it.
- Keeping hold of the head or bill, cover the bird’s head with a towel or large cloth. Try to use part of, or another covering as a barrier, between you and the bird.
- Restrain the bird by folding its wings flat against its body and holding securely. (One person holds the bird while the other works on it.)
- Locate the hook, then push it through the skin until you see the barb. Cover the barb before cutting it, to prevent it from snapping off and injuring someone. Cut the barb off with a wire cutter then back the rest of the hook out. (Never pull a hook out without first removing the barb. Doing so could cause major injury to the bird.)
- Look the bird over carefully, making sure all fishing lines and hooks have been removed. Check for lines wrapped around limbs or wings.
- If the bird has swallowed the hook or is seriously injured call 305-852-4486.
- To release: check for traffic and place bird gently on land — letting go of the bill last, then back away. If on a boat, place the bird gently into the water. (Do not release it if it seems weak, ill, or cannot fly.) Remember to discard the hooks and cut-off fishing lines in the trash can — not in the water!
- ADDITIONAL TIPS — REMOVE MONOFILAMENT LINE — Hooks and lines are the major cause of death to seabirds. A bird flying off or swimming away dragging a length of fishing line can get caught in vegetation or protruding objects . This could lead to a slow death by starvation or strangulation. Also, line embedded in the bird’s flesh acts as a tourniquet, thereby preventing the flow of blood to the affected area, possibly causing the loss of a wing or leg.
- REMOVE FISH HOOKS — Hooks left in flesh can cause infection. We do not recommend feeding seabirds! Feeding wild birds near fishing areas can enhance their exposure to the dangers of hooks, lures and lines. The exposed bones of a large fish skeleton can puncture their stomachs causing internal infection and eventual death. Additionally, it often causes birds to become nuisance animals.
FOUND BIRD THAT APPEARS INJURED OR SICK:
When rescuing a bird, always be aware that they can be dangerous and you should be careful, especially with raptors, seabirds and large wading birds such as herons! If you are uncomfortable handling a bird that you have found then don’t. Call the center immediately so that we can send someone to safely handle and transport the bird.
- When catching an injured or sick bird, use a towel or sheet to put over it.
- With smaller birds, wrap your hands around their shoulders so that the wings are held against its body and it cannot flap.
- Place bird in small box with air holes poked in it or an animal carrier and contact us at 305-852-4486.
- When catching a raptor, make sure to restrain its legs as its talons are quite dangerous. The best way to do this is to use a thick towel or thick gloves. Care should be taken when trying to rescue an injured adult raptor. If possible, use heavy gloves, a blanket, and a cardboard box or pet carrier. Tilt the box on its side and try to push the bird into the box with the blanket. If they are able, raptors tend to flip onto their backs and grab at their rescuer with their feet (believe me, you do not want them to connect); if they grab the blanket, simply lift them up and then lower them into the box. Once the bird is in the box, close the lid or drape the towel or blanket over the top; if it is dark inside, they won’t struggle. By fall, many young raptors are starving, only 80% of them make it through their first year. A raptor sitting on the ground may simply be a young one who hasn’t mastered his hunting skills and is too weak to fly. A rehabilitator can fatten him up and give him another chance.
- When catching a bird such as a heron, wear protective eyewear and make sure to hold the beak as you place it into a secure container for transport. Remember, a wading bird’s neck is like a coil and it can reach out much farther than most would expect.
- If a pelican (seagull, cormorant or other seabird) is acting weak (a normally healthy pelican will not let you approach closely), grasp the bill with one hand, enough to keep it closed but not tightly. It is very important to not hold the beak tightly closed, being without nostrils, “nares,” the pelican could suffocate. With your other hand, scoop the bird up, holding the wings close to the body. Place in a box large enough for the bird and with air holes and call and transport.
- Always try to cover the bird’s head when handling it as this will help calm the bird down for transport.
FOUND A BIRD’S EGG:
If wind knocked egg out of nest,
- And you can locate nest, gently place egg back into nest.
- If nest cannot be found, leave egg where it is, as some birds nest on the ground and the parents could come back to it.