Peace River Wildlife Center is a pretty neat place.
This non-profit center is completely run on donations and costs them about $75, 000 per year to feed the endangered and injured animals and birds that come into the sanctuary. That cost doesn't include Veterinary costs, housing for the animals, etc. They also have a small gift shop that helps bring in extra money.
When you walk into the center, there are 3 box receptacles to the left of the gate where people can drop off injured animals and they ask you call the number as well, just in case the animal, bird or reptile needs immediate medical attention.
Many of the birds we saw today had amputated wings and interestingly, it was the left wing in many birds that were damaged or removed.
The two American Bald Eagles were amazing. The female is 20 years old and the male is much younger. The female, whose name is BilFred was found by a woman who saw her injured at the Punta Gorda garbage dump. This poor Eagle was holding an aerosol can in her beak and the can exploded, completely blowing off her left wing. When the lady brought her to the center, she asked that her name be BilFred (a combination of the lady's husband and son's name. Unfortunately, "BilFred" wasn't a HE but a SHE. But the name stuck. The male Eagle fell out of his nest, along with a sibling. The sibling died from the fall and this male survived but he was badly damaged and can not fly either. Neither of these Eagles will be able to mate since Eagles mate while flying and they can't do that. It's a very sad story but at least they are cared for.
There are regular yard birds like doves, a Cardinal, a Brown Thrasher - even a Blue Scrub Jay that was raised by people and never learned to fly and since it wasn't left alone in the wild, this little guy will never be able to survive in the open - he doesn't realize he's a bird. It really is sad but he's healthy - just a little confused on what he is. He was so cute and was posing for pictures with me. He had NO fear of me whatsoever.
There were two kinds of Vultures here - the Turkey Vulture and the Black Vulture. Two of them are actually blind (I forget what type of Vulture they were), which even though I don't like them, I felt bad. Those birds ruin your roof tiles when they walk all over it but do serve a purpose by cleaning away road kill. Both Vultures are protected under Florida law, so you have to leave them alone.
The adult Horned Owls were all at a distance from the baby Horned Owl I have a photo of - just staring at it. I have never seen a baby owl and it was so cute and fuzzy. That little guy will be released when he's a little older.
As you walk through, you see Seagulls, Cormorants, Sandhill Cranes, Gray Herons, Hawks, Vultures, Egrets, Night Herons, Ospreys, and so many others I can't recall. Near the end of the center path is the Pelican pool and habitat. This area is open and often has bird visitors dropping in for a swim or some free food. The white Pelican was amazingly huge and they migrate South to the East coast of Florida for the summer but live in the North. In the photograph you can see the size difference as the brown Pelicans get to be about 6 pounds, where the white Pelicans can get to 20 pounds - like the one in my photo. They hunt fish differently too. The brown Pelicans fly and dive into the ocean for fish, whereas the white Pelicans corral the fish and eat together. I noticed this with the Pelicans years ago when I visited a state park in Jupiter, Florida.
A small percentage of the animals are nursed back to health and can be released. About 10% die from their injuries and about 70% remain there or are transferred to other centers in the United States. That is what happened to a 3rd Bald Eagle that came there and it was thankfully adopted by a center in New Hampshire since having more than 2 Eagles is not safe living conditions.
Ways to contribute:
Donate aluminum cans for them to recycle - this actually brings in quite a bit of income to feed the birds and other animals they get in continually.
There is a donation box when you walk into the center too.
Donate through their website.
Pelican Family = $25
Owl Family = $50
Eagle Family = $100
Of course any monetary contribution is welcome and everything is tax deductible.
Business Memberships are available too and they make a special plaque that is screwed down into the recycled walkway by whichever exhibit your business chooses.
Checks can be mailed to:
Peace River Wildlife Center (PRWC)
3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Please send your information including phone number with your donation so they can send you a receipt for taxes.
You can also check out their website by going to http://peaceriverwildlifecenter.com/ - applications are available there for your tax deductible gifts.