Photos provided by Jill Hayes, Felipe Correa, and other Bird Center supporters.


Barred Owl; Strix varia

In the spring of 2014 a veterinarian was traveling to the Florida Keys from Sarasota, Florida, and found Leopold on the Tamiami Trail. Leopold had been hit by a car and was suffering from a broken left wing. Our rehabilitation team was able to save Leopold’s life, but his wing wasn’t able to heal completely. Due to his permanent injury Leopold is not able to be released back into the wild. Now Leopold is an Animal Ambassador and helps us to teach people about birds.

Samson & Delilah

Great Horned Owl; Bubo virginianus

Samson (right) and Delilah (left) were brought to the Bird Center prior to 2011 from a rehabilitation center in Northern Florida. Samson and Delilah both suffer from defects in their right wings, most likely the result of a collision with a moving vehicle. Both owls have two fully intact wings, but their non-functional right wings prevents them from being able to hunt and flee from danger on their own. Delilah is a bit larger than Samson, and she wears a pink band on her left foot while Samson sports a blue band on his left foot.


Great Horned Owl; Bubo virginianus

Junior was found as a fledgling in Ocean Reef, and was brought to our hospital with a broken right wing. Despite our best efforts, Junior’s wing was damaged beyond repair and was unable to completely heal. This injury makes it impossible for Junior to hunt in the wild, making him a permanent Sanctuary resident.



Barn Owl; Tyto alba

Casper came to the Bird Sanctuary in 2011 with an infected right wing. Our hospital staff were able to save Casper’s life by partially amputating her infected wing, but unfortunately the procedure made Casper non-releasable. Since Casper is missing part of her right wing she is not able to hunt and survive naturally in the wild, but she is quite happy living with us at the Wild Bird Sanctuary.

Professor Moody

Eastern Screen-Owl; Megascops asio

Professor Moody came to the Bird Center as a juvenile with a severely damaged left eye after a collision with a moving car. The damage to his eye was significant and had the potential to lead to more health issues in the future. As a result Professor Moody’s left eye had to be removed, and his lack of depth perception make him non-releasable.


Merlin Falcon; Falco columbarius

As a juvenile, Aria was migrating south for the winter when she became weak from a lack of food and was struck by a car. During the collision Aria’s left wing was broken; an injury that she will never fully recover from. Due to the lack of her ability to fly, Aria will live in at the Wild Bird Sanctuary for the rest of his life.



Broad-Winged Hawk; Buteo platypterus

Icarus came to the Bird Sanctuary in January of 2015 after going through extensive rehabilitation at Mission Wild Bird, our bird hospital. Icarus came to our hospital with severe damage to his right wing with evidence that he had been shot with a pellet gun.

Red-shouldered Hawks; Buteo lineatus

Our two Red-shouldered Hawks came to our hospital in 2011, and both had injuries to their right wings. While we weren’t able to find any foreign objects embedded in the wings of either bird, there was significant evidence that both had been shot by humans with pellet or BB guns. We were able to save the lives of both of these hawks, but the injuries that they sustained were great enough to prevent them from being released back to the wild.


Short-Tailed Hawk; Buteo brachyurus

Relatively uncommon in southern Florida, this hawk was found on the side of the road with a broken right wing. While this hawk is able to fly just enough to get from perch to perch in her permanent enclosure, she does not possess the ability to hunt on her own in the wild. For that reason this Short-tailed Hawk is non-releasable.



Turkey Vultures; Cathartes aura

All four of our residential turkey vultures came to our Wild Bird Sanctuary at different times over a period of five to six years. All four suffer from having a non-functional wing, and one vulture also has vision problems. It’s not uncommon for turkey vultures to be struck by moving vehicles, especially along highways and in medians where other animals become victims of car accidents. When the vultures try to swoop in for a meal of carrion (dead animal matter) they run the risk of becoming car accident victims themselves.


Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot; Amazona auropalliata

Before her passing, Laura Quinn cared for Fredricka at the Wild Bird Sanctuary for many, many years. It’s common for exotic species of parrots to become deeply attached to their surrounding and their caretakers, and once removed separation anxiety can occur. For the sake of Fredricka’s health we continue to care for her here at our Wild Bird Sanctuary.


Green Heron; Butorides virescens

Although our green heron is able to climb up and down the bushes and trees within it’s enclosure, it is not able to fly or avoid danger on its own.


White Ibis; Eudocimus albus

Whether it was from a collision with a car or a power line, all of our white ibises have issues with their wings, and they aren’t fit enough to escape natural predation. These ibises are most commonly seen near the shore and in wetlands, but due to habitat loss it’s not unlikely for them to be observed in urban setting such as parking lots.

Laughing Gulls; Leucophaeus atricilla

Besides brown pelicans and cormorants, laughing gulls are the species of bird that we most commonly find at our hospital after swallowing or being tangled in fishing hooks/lines. Aside from the multitude of health issues that can arise from a hook being embedding in the gull’s body (infections, internal bleeding…etc.), entangled birds can also lose circulation to extremities such including their wings; a condition that can necessitate partial amputations.

Royal Terns; Thalasseus maximus

Much like our laughing gulls, our royal terns suffer from a variety of injuries, including maladies for the wing, eye, or feet. It is believed that most of the injuries can be related to habitat loss, much like the closely related least tern that has taken to nesting on the roofs of buildings.


Willet; Tringa semipalmata

Willet populations were almost completely wiped out in the early 1900’s when their species was overharvested as a food source. Willet populations have made a huge comeback thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Double-Crested Cormorants; Phalacrocorax auritus

These darkly colored seabirds suffer from an array of permanent injuries including nonfunctional wings, vision problems, and feet issues. All three of these ailments make our cormorants non-releasable, because all three of these body parts are used by cormorants to swim underwater in an effort to catch fish.

Brown Pelicans; Pelecanus occidentalis

Brown pelicans can end up visiting our hospital for a wide variety of reasons, and many of these reason are related to human activity. You’ll notice that many of our pelicans have partial wing amputations as a result of vehicle/boating accidents, being wrapped in fishing line, and other tragic events. Some of the other pelicans suffer from broken beaks and require being hand fed on a daily basis. Finally, many of our pelicans have eye problems that result from other pelicans and/or herons accidentally lunging into them with their beaks, usually fighting over food being tossed to them by humans.


Cattle Egret; Bubulcus ibis
The common name cattle egret comes from observations of these small egrets following cattle and other large animals through tall grass, devouring insects kicked up by the larger animals. Unfortunately many cattle egrets spend time in parking lots and other dangerous areas looking for scraps of human food. In these danger zones, cars create a huge safety hazard for cattle egrets.


White-Crowned Pigeon; Patagioenas leucocephala

Walter was brought to our team in the spring of 2015. After being raised in captivity by humans, Walter became imprinted and is unable to live on his own in the wild. Walter never learned how to forage for food correctly, making him completely dependent on humans to provide food for him.


Blue Jay; Cyanocitta cristata

Flop came to the Bird Sanctuary as an imprinted, adult Blue Jay. Since Flop has lived with humans his entire life he is unable to survive on his own. The humans that raised Flop also kept cats, and Flop learned to mimic their “meow” sounds.


Interested in adopting one of our permanent residents? Visit our Bird Adoption program page to learn how you can help support our birds today!