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Our History

Bird rescues began at this location in 1981, when the sanctuary was established by Dale Shields, a.k.a., “The Pelican Man.”  It grew to become one of the largest wildlife rescues in the state of Florida, with approximately 5,000 animals rescued every year and over 200 permanent bird residents.

After Mr. Shields passed away in 2003, the rescue center continued to rehabilitate wildlife, but eventually closed down in 2006 due to a lack of funding.  The facilities were abandoned and soon fell into severe disrepair.

Thanks to the support of a very generous benefactor, Save Our Seabirds was able to transfer to this location in 2008.  Since then, Save Our Seabirds has made tremendous progress repairing and expanding the facilities, adding educational programs, and greatly improving standards of bird care.

Future goals include expanding and enhancing the bird enclosures and the rehabilitation facilities, upgrading the hospital to full veterinary capabilities, adding a modern visitor center, and continuing to make advancements in education throughout the facility.

Shown below are before and after photos of some of the improvements that we have made just since 2013.

Leaky roofs and dying AC units replaced with energy efficient roofs and new AC donated by LG Electronics.

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Rotting, termite infested wood replaced with new wood and composite materials.

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Drab colors replaced with bright, tropical colors.

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Solar panels donated by FPL.

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Front gate spruced up, with new banner by Louis Cabot.

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Old, rotting wooden Boardwalk replaced with pervious pavers, thanks to a generous grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.

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