A Much Needed Sanctuary for Birds
By Renee Burrell
The long, cold winter has taken its toll on area birds. Screech Owls were greatly affected by the freeze--especially the babies. Sadly, most that made it to the Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores have died. Show your support for the non-profit by attending their upcoming fundraiser, donating an auction item, or helping with sponsorship.
INDIAN SHORES - Urgent help is needed at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, located at 18328 Gulf Boulevard, as record-breaking low temperatures have skyrocketed the nonprofit's expenses while the economy's record lows have plummeted donations. Birds are being admitted with frostbite and starving, as small baitfish have died from freezing temperatures or left the area in search of warmer waters.
Michelle Simoneau, the Sanctuary's Marketing and Public Relations Manager said the cold freeze could add over $100,000 in expenses for the Seabird Sanctuary. She explains, "The economy has hit us hard this past year as with most nonprofits. Then to top it off we have the longest coldest winter in record in the Tampa Bay area. We had a large fish die-off about 4-6 weeks ago due to the freeze. Fish were dead and floating everywhere. This has affected the local food supply for wildlife, especially the birds. Skinny, cold brown pelicans can be seen on the beach, at piers and flocking to the Sanctuary."
The Sanctuary uses over 750 pounds of fish each day to feed the starving birds.
Not your problem, you think? Think again. According to the Audubon Society, "Like canaries in the coal mine, birds are an important indicator of our planet's health." They're a barometer that warns mankind of impending environmental problems while providing critical goods and services within their habits, including seed dispersal, insect and rodent control, scavenging, and pollination.
The Sanctuary provides free admission, tours, and education programs, which are supported 100% from private and corporate donations from the community and supporters. It is the largest wild bird hospital and bird sanctuary in the United States, and admits up to 8,000 birds per year. For over 38 years their mission has been to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured birds back into nature.
"Most of the birds that are coming to the Sanctuary now, are birds we have released back to the wild this past year," said Simeneau. "They remember where they were taken care of, so they have returned, looking for food and help."
So, how can everyone help? "They can help us buy food for the hungry birds by sending money or joining as a member. They can also donate to the Silent Auction or attend," said Simoneau.
The Sanctuary is hosting a fundraising event on Saturday, April 10, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The 2010 Wildlife Art Silent Auction and Dinner will be held at The Wine Cellar in Redington Shores, located at 17307 Gulf Blvd. The evening will include a spectacular dinner, live music, and the Silent Auction, which will feature original artwork by Ernie Simmons and other artists, vacation packages, restaurant and gift certificates, fishing trips and more.
Items of interest or value are being accepted for the Silent Auction, and the event's committee is presently seeking sponsorships for the event. Cash and donated auction items are tax-deductible. Business sponsors replying by March 15th will be thanked and listed within the evening's program, on the Sanctuary's website, and in all other advertising. Call (727) 391-6211 or email email@example.com for more information, or to have someone come to your location to pick up your donation for the auction.
As always, donations of cars, trucks, boats, trailers, and motor homes in running condition remain a popular method for everyone to help the Sanctuary help the birds. They use donated vehicles throughout the year to rescue birds and help operations for the hospital and sanctuary.
The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is located at 18328 Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores and is open to the public 365 days a year from 9:00 a.m. to Sunset. Admission is always free. For more information on how to make a donation, visit their website at www.seabirdsanctuary.com.
Donations for "Ralph's Attic" Thrift Corner: small novelty items, bric-a-brac, costume jewelry, table linens, glassware, hats, purses, decorative pillows, small pieces of furniture, small toys, etc. (Please no electronics, bedding, clothing, large pieces of furniture or large toys.)
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