Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary
The Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary, a non-profit organization which is situated at 43 Red Pond Road, Petersburgh, New York, was started in 1972 by Peter Dubacher largely as a labor of love. The sanctuary is a safe haven for disabled and injured birdsto rehabilitate to the extent that they are able, with about 40% of the birds living, and thriving, at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives, while others are released into their natural habitat once it has been established that they will benefit from this.
With over 1,000 birds representing close to 100 different species, the Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary has grown to be one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the U.S.A. The sanctuary custom designs each resident’s habitat, taking into account what their natural habitat would be and adapting that to suit the particular bird’s disability, while providing a challenge to encourage them to reach the full potential of their particular circumstances.
Captive breeding with the aim of releasing into the wild is being successfully carried out at the Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary. On 12 April 1999, two disabled Golden Eagles, Marilyn and Ross, hatched two eaglets. As would often be the case in their natural habitat, only the strongest eaglet survived – they named her Dotty. Dotty was successfully raised and released from the specialized release facility. The area includes a roosting tower which the disabled parents reached by means of a series of platforms and ropes. When she was ready, Dotty took off from the tower, stayed in the area for a number of months and then spread her wings to travel further afield, calling back from time to time to see her parents.
In 2003 two American Bald Eagles were hatched, raised and released from the Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary. Captive breeding of American Bald Eagles – the national symbol of the U.S.A. – is considered to be a near-impossible task, but one that Peter Dubacher and the staff at the sanctuary achieved.
The Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary has earned a reputation for never turning away an injured or disabled bird, which has resulted in all sorts of birds being brought in by concerned citizens and wildlife officials – from a pigeon crippled by a cruelly aimed stone in a New York suburb, to an eagle mauled by a bear in Alaska.
The Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary receives no government funding and, therefore, relies on donations and sanctuary entrance fees for the upkeep of the sanctuary. Their ongoing educational program brings to people’s attention the beauty of nature in the world around us, as well as the need to respect the fact that all life is precious and we, as humans, are an integral part of the amazing web of life.