Save Our Seabirds, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are the ONLY organization in Southwest Florida that does everything that we do: We respond to over 4,000 bird rescue calls per year. We host over 25,000 paid visitors in our Wild Bird Learning Center each year. We offer four fully-accredited field trips that are age-appropriate for students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. We provide summer camps all season long. We offer a rigorous internship program that hosts college interns throughout the year. Bird rescues began at this location in 1981, when the sanctuary was established by Dale Shields, a.k.a., “The Pelican Man.” It grew to become one of the largest wildlife rescues in the state of Florida, with approximately 5,000 animals rescued every year and over 200 permanent bird residents.
After Mr. Shields passed away in 2003, the rescue center continued to rehabilitate wildlife, but eventually closed down in 2006 due to a lack of funding. The facilities were abandoned and soon fell into severe disrepair.
Thanks to the support of a very generous benefactor, Save Our Seabirds was able to transfer to this location in 2008. Since then, Save Our Seabirds has made tremendous progress repairing and expanding the facilities, adding educational programs, and greatly improving standards of bird care.
Future goals include expanding and enhancing the bird enclosures and the rehabilitation facilities, upgrading the hospital to full veterinary capabilities, adding a modern visitor center, and continuing to make advancements in education throughout the facility.
What We do
Save Our Seabirds receives over 4,000 distress calls each year from caring citizens throughout the Sarasota-Manatee area. Our initial response is to ascertain what might be wrong with the bird and whether it is feasible to actually catch the bird and bring it to our hospital. We then dispatch the nearest available rescuer from our list of volunteers to transport the bird to our hospital for treatment. We do everything we can to rehabilitate and release the bird back into the wild, preferably near the place where it was rescued.
Birds that are unable to be released back into the wild are given permanent homes in our Wild Bird Learning Center, which is open to the public every day from 10 to 5.
The most common injuries are caused by fish hooks, automobiles and golf balls.