Meet Bobby, An American Kestrel
by SANDY FAHY
Photo by SANDI FAHY
Sandy Luke of the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores exercises Bobby, an adult, male American kestrel, during a recent appearance at Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo. Bobby, who was found at a young age by a well-meaning but inexperienced person who kept the bird for several months instead of taking him to the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center, was fed only hamburger meat and became calcium deficient. As a result, Bobby suffered bone fractures and permanent vision damage, thus rendering him unable to survive in the wild. The Seabird Sanctuary Education Department now features Bobby in its presentations to schools, civic organizations and other groups. Over 500 wild birds can be found rehabilitating and residing at the non-profit avian facility, which has been dedicated to the rescue, repair, rehabilitation and hopeful release of sick and injured birds since its founding by zoologist Ralph T. Heath, Jr. in 1971. An average of 28-30 new patients are treated there each day. They include garden and song birds, water birds and birds of prey. The sanctuary, which is located at 18328 Gulf Blvd., is open for visitation 365 days a year. Admission is free. For further information on the educational programs available to the public or to schedule a presentation for your group, call (727) 391-6211.
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