Take a Stroll Through the Linda Loring Nature Foundation

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

A Visit to Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Gail Laux started the County Raptor Rehabilitation Center in 1988 on her private property. In 1995 the Heart of Ohio Boy Scout Council approved a lease to allow the facility to move to the Camp Avery Hand site. Through generous donations and support, the Ohio Bird Sanctuary was able to open its doors to the public in 1999. The sanctuary was eventually able to purchase fifty-two acres of land it had leased, and went on to buy another fifteen acres in 2009. To become a public facility the sanctuary created a board of trustees. Through the assistance of volunteers, events were organized to raise funds to renovate buildings, create a parking area and make trails for visitors to enjoy.

The visitors centre now proudly boasts a classroom, exhibition lobby, outdoor display facilities, offices, library and an emergency centre that takes in injured and sick birds. This non-profit organization is dedicated to the rehabilitation and protection of the birds of prey of Ohio. Ninety acres of the sanctuary is open to the public, with hiking trails leading to various breathtaking areas of the sanctuary where visitors will be able to view various birds of prey. A few of the local bird residents are visitor friendly and gladly accept the meal worms that are on sale at the sanctuary, allowing members of the public to have a personal and interactive experience with these fascinating birds. Tours are available, as educating the public on the value and importance of preserving birds of prey is the main goal of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. It also welcomes more than twenty thousand scholars a year, and bird lovers are invited to join the weekend programs that feature workshops such as Breeding Birds Surveys, Creatures of the Night, Fall Wildlife Festival and Christmas for the Birds.

Because of the sanctuary being located on the Clearfork Reservoir border and being surrounded by marsh and dense forests, the trails leading through the sanctuary are breathtaking and will take visitors over meadows, marshlands and between beautiful pine groves. The butterfly garden is another recommended attraction that is filled with wonderful variety wildflowers and is a tranquil location at the sanctuary. The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is not only performing a vital role in protecting the birds of prey of Ohio but is an exciting attraction for visitors to enjoy.

W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

Cared for by the Michigan State University, the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary was established by, and named after, a man who is more likely to be associated with breakfast by millions of people in the western world. It was in June 1927 that cereal manufacturer W.K. Kellogg bought the land around the spectacular Wintergreen Lake in Augusta, Michigan, with the intention of creating a sanctuary to preserve indigenous wildlife and breed game birds. The following year the sanctuary was handed over to the Michigan State College of Agriculture for use as a training facility for students studying animal care and land management as a career. The sanctuary was later opened to the public, and today is a popular venue for an enjoyable and educational family outing surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Group tours are available all year round, with the different seasons offering insight into different aspects of nature. In spring the focus is on nesting, while in summer visitors are likely to see plenty of nestlings and their tireless, vigilant parents. Autumn brings the spectacle of migration, with winter highlighting the hardiness of birds that are adapted to deal with cold weather conditions. Tours are led by well-trained volunteer workers and should be booked at least four weeks in advance to ensure that a guide will be available to greet you. Should you prefer to make your own way around the sanctuary, this can be done between the hours of 09h00 and 17h00 from November to April, and 09h00 to 19h00 from May to October (subject to change). Trail guides are obtainable from the Resource Center at the sanctuary, or can be downloaded from the W.K. Kellogg Sanctuary website so you can plan your route when you plan your outing.

Special events hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Sanctuary, also referred to as KBS – Kellogg Biological Station – include fascinating topics such as the Owl Prowl; Birds and Beans; and Decoy Carving Workshops. There are also volunteer training sessions and group instruction on how to participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

The Wintergreen Lake covers an area of 40 acres and forms part of the sanctuary that covers an additional area of 180 acres, with close to a mile long trail winding through various habitats where waterfowl, birds of prey and upland game birds can be spotted. The large picnic area ensures that there is always place for visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings at leisure and the Resource Center includes a gift shop with fascinating bird-related items and books for sale. There is no doubt that a visit to the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary will be time well spent.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

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Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has been in operation for more than 75 years and is actively involved in raptor conservation, public education and scientific research. This important refuge for birds of prey features an impressive number of falcons, eagles and hawks, lookout points, 8 miles of trails, an informative Visitor Center, a native plant garden and a bookstore. Visitors to the sanctuary can explore the trails by themselves or attend special weekend programs to learn more about raptors.

Situated in east-central Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary covers an area of 2 600 acres. Add to this the 13 000 acres of public and private lands and the birds of prey are provided with a vast protected tract of contiguous forest. The varied topography of Hawk Mountain offers flora and fauna a variety of habitats. The main tree species growing there include Red Maple, hickory, birches, five oak species and Black Gum. Older sections of forest are the perfect haven for Pileated Woodpeckers and Winter Wrens.

Keen birders will certainly find Hawk Mountain Sanctuary a fantastic destination. Some 265 bird species have been documented in the area since 1934, with over 65 species regularly nesting there. The area serves as an important stopover habitat for some 100 migratory bird species, of which 16 are raptor species. Amongst the migrant birds nesting at Hawk Mountain are Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds and Scarlet Tanagers. Broad-winged, Sharp-shinned, Red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks have been seen nesting in the sanctuary, as have Great Horned, Eastern Screech, Northern Saw-Whet and Barred owls.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary does much to contribute towards raptor conservation. By means of their Conservation Science Program they seek to gain further insight into raptor migration, raptor population statuses, and how raptors live in the ecosystems where they reside. The Acopian Center for Conservation Learning was opened at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in 2002 and serves as a biological field station, as well as a training facility. Scientists, conservationists and the sanctuary’s personnel can work together here, making use of the GIS map lab, the world’s largest library of raptor literature, the archival storage room, a teaching lab, conference area and office spaces. Members of the public may only access the center on special occasions or by appointment.

Those who decide to visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are advised to start off at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has a number of interesting exhibits, including stunning carved replicas of Hawk Mountain’s most regular raptor visitors. As you browse through the displays you will learn about raptors, conservation and migration. The best time to visit is between the months of September and November, as this is when the greatest numbers of falcons, hawks and eagles are passing through. The trails at Hawk Mountain are open throughout the year (with a few exceptions), and from dawn until dusk. There is a trail admission charge for non-members, and this fee goes towards the maintenance of the sanctuary and its conservation programs.

Bali Starling Thriving In Nusa Penida Sanctuary

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The Bali Starling is Bali’s provincial emblem and is quite a pretty little thing. It is a white bird with a vivid blue mask, so it is rather easy to identify, even for inexperienced birders. Unfortunately it is not always so easy to spot – not because it is elusive, but rather because it is critically endangered in its natural habitat.

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EAD’s Bird Database Given a Boost

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The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC) that will give the agency access to almost a quarter of a million reports of wild bird sightings in the United Arab Emirates. The reports date back to the late 1960s and will no doubt prove to be a massive boost to conservation efforts in the region.

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