Marathon Wild Bird patients and helping hands.

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Helping hands for our injured wild birds:

Dyland, one of our adorable volunteers feeding the gulls.

People always ask us if the release of successfully rehabilitated birds is our biggest reward. While it is the goal we strive for, we smile the widest at the small miracles to which we are privy:

Birds with broken wings that fly again

Birds with broken legs that walk again

Birds with damaged feathers that look beautiful again

Birds with cloudy eyes that see again

These are birds that want to survive to return to the wild where they are free and they make us so proud of their accomplishments that we can't help but beam from ear to ear!
Education and Educational birds

Teaching Responsibility

Marathon Wild Bird Center has many educational goals. Our primary emphasis and end goal is to promote personal responsibility for our natural environment. In other words, we want everyone to become a steward of the environment.

A high percentage of the birds we treat are in one way or another harmed as a result of human impact on them and their environment. Most of this is avoidable when we take responsibility for our actions. We also work with state and federal agencies and other private organizations to reduce or eliminate man-made hazards to wildlife.

The value of a visit

One of the ways to promote our various education programs and educate people is by allowing them to visit the Bird Center. We know that education is the key if we are going to help preserve our planet and reduce our impact on the birds and their environment. The future generations educated through our programs will learn to understand and appreciate that each individual is important in making a difference in the world.

Public ambassadors

A number of our patients have become public ambassadors. Deemed unreleasable, these birds provide a resource to educate the public, helping them better understand and respect our Keys wildlife and the factors that affect its survival.

Katelynn Johnston with Kessie Kessie - A female American Kestrel - the smallest of falcons found in North America - Kessie has been with us since 1998. She was transferred after another facility became exasperated trying to heal a wound on her shoulder. Unfortunately, possible nerve damage caused Kessie to relentlessly gnaw on her bandage and the wound underneath resulting in the severing of vital tissues. We amputated Kessie's wing and she became a permanent resident.
Oliver, the osprey. Oliver - In February 2003, we responded to a call from the Marathon Airport, where a plane on the runway had hit an osprey. Oliver, an adult male, was the victim. The collision had severed the end of his left wing (his "hand"), grounding him forever. Normally, ospreys are very high-strung and do not like to be in close proximity to humans. Oliver, however, proved to have a calm disposition and we easily trained him to perch upon the heavily gloved hand of our volunteers.
Betsy, the blind pelican. Betsy - A mature pelican is blind. We believe she can only see shadows at best. We have Betsy in the same cage as the recovering gulls and terns. Just like a human, she knows her space and is able to walk, hop up on her carpeted perch, and she is able to stretch and flap her wings. We hand feed her by putting her fish in her pouch when she happily opens her mouth. She goes with us to Earth Day at Bahia Honda State Park, the local schools, and when Kelly is invited to talk at community events. She sweetly sits on her perch and is not afraid - she is our good girl.
Baby Screech Owl Baby Screech Owl - The MWBC raised 4 babies for another rehab center located in the Miami area, the director was called out of town for other business. Screech Owls are not endemic to the Florida Keys.
Kelly built a special cage using black mesh to reproduce a Screech Owl's nest which is inside a dead tree trunk and dark. This mesh limited the babies from human interaction. Their diet was mice and 4 day old chicks ordered from out of town.
All four were returned to Miami and sucessfully released.
Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler Duck - Migrating through the Florida Keys this fall 2006. A call comes in from Duck Key about this little guy. Injury to the neck and back - could have been by a dog or raptor. Hoping it was only a bruise, the MWBC gave it a quiet and safe place to recuperate. Kelly was able to release this rare Florida Keys find after a week. She released it on the large fresh water pond on the bayside on Long Key.

Home Wish List Who We Are Stories Injuries Baby Birds

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