Sunday, February 8, 2015

Caged and Wild Birds in Southern Florida

On my last posting I mentioned the Naples Bird Gardens, which we learned about at the Wonder Gardens.  Upon further research I discovered that there is such a place and that tours are available.  We signed up for a tour, which we took Friday.  These gardens sit in part of the Corkscrew Swamp, so many of the aviary cages sit in a garden of native tropical plants and trees.  Keriellen Lohrman (her married name is almost the same as my maiden name- probably no relation) owner of the gardens stressed to us that her bird sanctuary is a rescue operation and she is not into breeding them.  She said that she has all total 300 birds- plus another 200 or so in a couple other gardens, one of them being the Everglade Wonder Gardens.  The sanctuary has a wide variety of tropical birds as cockatoos, cockatiels, a variety of parrots, love birds, and macaws.  For these birds she has small cages, a couple of large flight cages, as well as two quarantine barns.   We were allowed in one of the flight cages where there are macaws.
Keriellen had some very interesting stories to tell as to how she came to acquire the birds.  Recently a resident of Naples had to enter an assisted living facility and owned about 100 birds, and the sanctuary was called to pick them up.  Also, many people do not understand what it is like to own a large bird who may be aggressive, noisy and messy- then the sanctuary takes them in.   
The whole operation is rather amazing, and Lohrman runs the place with about 5 employes, some of whom are part-time. Vince, one of the staff was there Friday morning and doing his chores with one of his birds on his shoulder.
 Bird feed alone costs $3,000.00 a month.  It is a non-profit organization, and the sanctuary runs only on monetary donations   I was impressed that Keriellen is very knowledgeable about each and every one of her birds, down to even knowing their names.  She also seemed to have a good appreciation as to whether they are hostile and aggressive or sweet and lovable.  Those that wanted her attention would squawk loudly when she walked by their cage, many of them can speak certain words or phrases.  Keriellen asserted that parrots especially are intelligent, highly social and complex beings.
 Before concluding this I wish to write about our search for many of the birds in the wild who are supposed to be residents of this part of Florida.  We have been satisfied with the variety of ibis, egrets and herons which we have seen, many of them I have shown in this blog site.  However, the wood stork has been quite elusive, and when we have seen them they are in ditches along busy highways where we could not stop.  Fortunately I discover a canal in the mobile park near our home where I have seen a wide variety of wading birds, including the wood stork.  The day I took the stork's picture he was busy feeding and I had to wait almost a hour for him to raise his head out of the water.  What I discovered during my time there was that he uses his feet to stir up the mud at the bottom of the ditch to uncover his food.  As you can see in the picture, other wading birds were hanging around him to retrieve the tasty morsels he was uncovering.  Another time I was there I also was able to get this picture of a young little blue heron. 
 We are leaving this part of Florida come Tuesday, and I must say that we are satisfied with all of our bird sightings.  In the last couple of days we have achieved an added bonus of sighting two bald eagles high in a tree guarding their nest, as well as a pileated woodpecker.  It is worrisome that wild bird nesting numbers are down  in this part of Florida, and we can’t help but wonder how many of them will be around the next time we visit southwestern Florida.

No comments:

Post a Comment