The Marathon Wild Bird Center (MWBC) has been saving and rescuing sick, injured, and orphaned wild birds in the Middle Keys since 1995. When Kelly Grinter, founder and director of the MWBC first began tending to these needy birds she did it from the back of her car. Today, more than 22,000 feathered patients later, Kelly, her one employee and a team of loyal volunteers, assist more than 750 birds each year.
While we have enjoyed our unique location in the space that was the former garage and tennis court of Mary and Francis Crane, our relocation within Crane Point Hammock is long overdue. The current Marathon Wild Bird Center consists of many 20+ year old wood and wire cages which have fallen victim to the ravages of weather, including a few devastating hurricanes. We are completed flooded by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and now, 11 years later, our cages of welded wire are corroding and need to be constantly repaired.
Moving the center to the front of the property will provide easier access to the facility and improved, durable rehab pens.
Our move to the new location largely depends on your donations. Together with the assistance of grants and fundraising campaigns. We hope to be able to land at our new home base within Crane Point Hammock by late 2017.
Donations of medical supplies are always welcome. We can use bandages, tapes, lactated ringers, etc. Ask your family doctor(s) if they have anything they must discard (due to impending expiration dates) that might be helpful to the Bird Center. You'd be surprised at the creativity we employ when we receive human medial supplies.
Pet carriers, small plastic aquariums, baskets, heating pads, and nets help us. We distribute them to volunteers interested in capturing and transferring sick, injured, and orphaned wild birds and to those willing to raise very young birds in their homes. We use these items - new or used - daily.
Fresh fish (legal size) snappers, grunts, pinfish, mullet and finger mullet, sardines, thread herring, glass minnows, and blood lines are a treat to all of our captive rehabilitating birds. If you can't deliver the fish immediately, please freeze them and deliver them at your convenience. Fresh fish is essential because it contains vitamin B12, a vitamin that the freezing process destroys. Among other reasons, this vitamin is essential for birds to keep their healthy pigmentation. So, whenever possible, call ahead and deliver your fresh catch to the birds soon after you hit the dock!
Bird seed, Pedigree Puppy Chow, frozen corn, frozen peas, fresh berries, potatoes, apples, grapes, and Gerber Baby Food (chicken or beef) are items available at local supermarkets. The next time you're shopping for your family, think of the Florida Keys Wild Birds and pick up an item or two to donate. You can drop off non-perishable items at the Museum Gift Store at MM 50. Please call ahead (305-743-8382) to make arrangements to drop off frozen items.
Towels, sheets, and pillowcases are always a necessity at the Bird Center (pillows and blankets are more useful when donated to the local animal shelter for cats and dogs). Ziploc and folding baggies are as useful as 45-gallon trash bags and plastic shopping bags. Paper towels, Dawn dish soap and bleach are resources we'd be hard pressed to exist without.
Money, money, money! We couldn't exist without the generosity of our friends and members. We run on an average budget of $35,000.00 a year. For the last ten years, we have not had one paid staff member as we are run exclusively by volunteers. Funds cover overhead expenses such as insurances, phone bills, electric bills, food supplies (fish, insects and rodents), building and repairing materials, stamps and the production of educational literature. Your cash donation will go directly to the care of our sick, injured and orphaned wild bird patients and this donation stays in the Marathon, the Middle Florida Keys, Community.