Take a Stroll Through the Linda Loring Nature Foundation

January 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Established in 1999 by Linda Loring, the Linda Loring Nature Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on providing young people with the opportunity to enjoy and learn about various facets of the natural world. Starting in 1957, this dedicated wildlife advocate and conservationist started buying up parcels of land between Madaket Road and Eel Point Road until she had a 270 acre tract of land serving as a wildlife sanctuary for the plants and animals in this area of Nantucket. Years of work have gone into creating this spectacular open-air classroom, which boasts a number of trails and hides for visitors to view the birdlife and other animals living in this nature sanctuary.

The island of Nantucket was separated from the mainland thousands of years ago when the glacier covering the New England area retreated. The geological features of the island include a diverse range of habitats that are home to a host of animal and plant species. Within the Linda Loring Nature Foundation there are coastal heathlands, pitch pine forests, vegetated wetlands, sandplain grasslands and coastal scrub forest, all providing sanctuary for a wealth of diverse wildlife. Birds that breed within the sanctuary include the Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and it provides a welcome stopover point for an abundance of migratory bird species.

The mile long loop trail is designed for visitors to access areas of the sanctuary where they can observe the wildlife while at the same time not intruding. The trail makes its way along the edge of a vegetated wetland before climbing a small hill which affords visitors a superb view over the brackish, tidal Long Pond. Continuing to the west the trail makes its way through a small group of black cherry trees before opening up a charming view of toward Nantucket Sound over sandplain grasslands, an ecosystem which is found primarily on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and is globally threatened. Plants that will be seen along the way include little bluestem, blue-eyed grass, Pennsylvania sedge and bushy rockrose.

Located on the north head of Long Pond, the osprey nest pole is occupied by a nesting pair of Ospreys from late-March, with fledgings leaving the nest around mid-August. Nesting boxes on poles throughout the sanctuary are used by tree swallows that also arrive in late-March, with their young leaving the nest in early July. Nantucket has the highest known density of Northern harriers anywhere in the world and the sanctuary generally has up to seven nests during breeding season. Other birds found at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation include mute swans, and red-tailed hawks. The coastal shrublands and sandplain grasslands are also home to more than twenty species of butterflies, and turtles and (harmless) snakes are likely to be seen while exploring this tranquil reserve in Nantucket.

Montecasino Bird Gardens in South Africa

July 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

Situated in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg, South Africa, Montecasino Bird Gardens is home to more than sixty species of birds, along with a variety of small mammals, amphibians and reptiles from around the world. With pathways winding through lush gardens and a huge walk-through aviary, visitors can enjoy a tropical paradise and get back to nature without leaving the city.

One of the highlights of a visit to this award winning attraction is the Flight of Fantasy show which take place weekdays at 11h00 and 15h00, with an extra show at 13h00 on weekends and public holidays. Staged at the beautifully crafted Tuscan amphitheater, trainers guide talented and colorful birds through a forty minute performance that is both educational and entertaining, with (quite literally) the biggest star of the show being Oliver, the Southern White Pelican.

Features of Montecasino Bird Gardens include the largest collection of South African Cycads in the world, with 37 different species and over 750 plants, the oldest of which is estimated to be older than 2,500 years. The Lorikeet aviary offers visitors the opportunity to feed these colorful birds their favorite treat of nectar, while Macaws and Cockatoos roam freely in the park’s Parrot Gallery. In addition to a variety of frogs, the Frog Room features scorpions and spiders. Reptiles at Montecasino include a six-meter Reticulated Python as well as all of Southern Africa’s most venomous snakes, including the Black Mamba and Puff Adder. Resident mammals include Lemurs, Meerkats, Sloths and Blue Duikers.

Among the latest arrivals at Montecasino Bird Gardens are Laughing Kookaburras and Blue-Wing Kookaburras, Caribbean Flamingoes, Green-Naped Pheasant Pigeons and Keel-Billed Toucans. One of Montecasino’s ambassadors for conservation is Moholoholo the Cape Vulture. Named for the rehabilitation center in Hoedspruit which nursed him back to health after being poisoned by farmers who were attempting to eradicate predatory jackals. Moholoholo was the only survivor of his eighteen member family. Through the dedication of the staff at Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center, the bird was taught to walk and fly again and now helps to educate the public on the necessity of conservation.

Rescue and Rehabilitation at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary

February 28, 2012 by  
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Established in 1971 by zoologist Ralph Heath, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is the largest hospital and rehabilitation reserve for wild birds in the United States, and is considered to be one of the world’s top avian rehabilitation centers. Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and run as a nonprofit organization, the sanctuary takes in and treats up to 10,000 birds each year, relying on the generosity and compassion of the public to continue providing this essential service.

Up to ninety percent of the birds brought to the sanctuary have been incapacitated in some way as a direct, or indirect, result of human activities. Of the birds that survive the critical first 24-hours following their rescue, up to eighty percent are successfully reintroduced to the wild. However, some are unable to return to the wild, and these remain at the sanctuary where visitors can view them and find out more about how and why they landed up at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. There are a wide range of bird species that are permanent residents at the sanctuary and if they breed successfully, their offspring are released into the wild.

Birds brought to the sanctuary will immediately undergo a thorough examination, diagnosis and medical treatment, with a feeding chart and medical record kept for each bird. Birds are then placed in an indoor recovery room and closely observed until deemed fit enough to move to the outdoor rehabilitation aviary with others of their species. Thereafter, the rescued birds will either be released into the wild, or remain as permanent residents at the sanctuary or another suitable rehabilitation center or zoo.

In addition to viewing the birds housed at the sanctuary, visitors can find out what they can do to promote conservation, and what to do if they find an injured or baby bird. With man continually encroaching on the territory of wild birds, this type of information is invaluable, and with more than 100,000 visitors each year, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary continues to make a significant contribution to educating the public on bird conservation.

Family Bird Walk in Boston

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

This great family event at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary is aimed at introducing families to the wonders of birding. During the hike they can view common local birds, learn about identification and take part in mini-activities, such as a bird food hunt.

Date: 3 March 2012
Venue: Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary
City: Boston
State: Massachusetts
Country: United States of America

World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri

August 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Adjacent to the Lone Elk County Park and Chubb Trail in Missouri, U.S.A., is a sanctuary that is dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey and educating the public on the vital role these birds play in nature. They are also passionate about other wildlife, and the more than three hundred acres of land, which is blanketed in Missouri hardwood forest, is a tranquil location for the birds and animals of the World Bird Sanctuary. Visitors to this magnificent conservation centre will not only be able to view beautiful birds, but the sanctuary also offers educational programs, shows, picnic areas and nature trails.

Ornithologist Walter C. Crawford Jr. started working at the St. Louis Zoo in close cooperation with the director of the zoo and in doing so he recognized the lack of attention given to birds of prey and how important it is to protect these birds. He therefore founded the World Bird Sanctuary in the year 1977, which was originally known as the Raptor Rehabilitation and Propagation Project.

The land on which the sanctuary was establish was an old munitions depot used by the army during World War II, thus most of the sanctuary was housed in these buildings. Each building has a different use, such as offices, a breeding facility and a building to house and treat injured birds. Crawford is still the director of the facility, but has managed to develop the World Bird Sanctuary to such a level that he is now able to afford full-time staff to assist him, and to watch over the sanctuary when he travels to conventions to share his message in regard to conservation. The World Bird Sanctuary has won numerous awards for their work, and visitors can look forward to seeing hawks, parrots, bald eagles, falcons, owls, vultures, reptiles and various other animals that have made their way to the sanctuary.

An extremely proud and excited World Bird Sanctuary opened its Wildlife Hospital in 2005, which features state-of-the-art equipment and staff that are able to assist injured birds and animals, aiding their rehabilitation. They are often called on to assist the government when they have confiscated animals that were being smuggled or when trying to rescue animals. Veterinarians volunteer their time and experience and annually save the lives of more than three hundred birds and animals. The Nature Centre and gift shop is open every day, and visitors are invited to embark on an exciting and fascinating bird of prey adventure at the World Bird Sanctuary.

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