Birds Don’t Say “Thank You”
Keith Wilkins, Director of Operations, carefully holds one of the many rehabilitated pelicans at Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, Florida.
The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary — say that three times fast! — is a fun place to work. Who wouldn’t enjoy working with Miss Kitty the great horned owl, Johnny V. the black vulture, and Mr. Jingles the Eastern brown pelican?
Seaside is a bird hospital along Indian Shores in Florida. Sick and injured wild birds are brought there to heal.
But Seaside is also a place where you don’t get much thanks. Huh?
Keith Wilkins, the guy who runs Seaside, laughs when he says that the birds they save never thank them. “They bite us, sometimes sink talons into us, and poop on us.”
That’s okay, he says, because the people who work at Seaside are heroes. “A hero is anyone who does things for others even if it is not easy and even if no one sees you do it. You do it because it is the right thing to do.”
There are other heroes who help Seaside like people who bring in injured birds. Keith says, “while we discourage people from picking up hurt birds without training, some people who see a suffering bird know that it may die without help, so they take the chance.”
You don’t have to save a bird to be a hero. The world needs lots of acts of kindness and generosity.
How about you? What could you do to be a hero today?
That’s a lot of birds
Every year, Seaside …
- gets more than 2,000 hotline calls about injured birds
- takes in 2,500 – 3,000 hurt birds, brought to the Sanctuary by staff, other rescue operations, and everyday citizens
- operates on hundreds of birds
- returns more than 650 recovered birds back into the wild
What causes injuries?
Birds are brought to Seaside Seabird Sanctuary with many problems, including:
- injured legs and wings from getting caught in fishing lines
- fishing hooks that have been swallowed
- sickness from poisons, man-made or natural such as Red Tide
If you want to be a hero for injured birds
- Take an adult to the bird.
- Tell the adult to call a bird hospital and have them rescue it.
- If you cannot find the name of a bird hospital, have the adult call the police or fire department. They will know how to find one.
- Be sure to give your name to the people who will rescue the bird in case they want to contact you later.
Peculiar Pelican Patients
Lots of pelicans live along the Florida beaches, and some of them spend time at the Seaside Seabirds Sanctuary.
Am I relaxing, or can’t I get out of the pool?
Oh no … THE NET! Medication time. Run!
I’m ready for lunch. Toss the fish to me.
Soft seat, nice view
Am I in the hospital because of the bump on my beak?
Hospital waiting area
Hey fans! Hero the Heron here.
Want to learn more about a bird hospital? Go to:
And if you are in Florida, go visit Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, near Clearwater.
What people are saying about the book …
“A conversation starter at home and in the classroom.”
D. Sandmann, retired school superintendent
“This story celebrates curiosity and imagination, and encourages children’s confidence to discover.”
R. Siegfriedt, child and family counselor
“For every kid (and adult!) who doubts that they could be a hero, it’s time for them to meet Heronymus ...”
Patricia D. Perry, Ph.D., clinical psychologist