Saturday, April 16, 2011

Something to C.R.O.W. about on Sanibel Island

Though I have written blog posts about it before, I was just once again reminded of the extraordinary wild life experience Sanibel Island provides.

Our vacation rental guests at Toucan House had us over the other night and talked extensively about their volunteer work for the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W.). Now it's remarkable to me that vacationers will come to the island and spend a great deal of their time not at the beach, biking, shell collecting or shopping but actually helping not just the Island's wild life but the whole area's wild life.

Of course we have known about C.R.O.W. for quite some time, but being only temporary and fleeting visitors to the Island ourselves, we have yet to make a visit there. That will soon change.

John and Deborah, who have been renting Toucan House every March and April for 5 years, told us charming tales of how they will----as volunteers for C.R.O.W.---- pick up injured or sick birds and animals from around the whole area, and drive back to the island with all kinds of chirps, squeaks and honks coming from the cargo area of the van. Their descriptions had me laughing and curious.

So I went to the C.R.O.W. website, which may be newly designed as I have seen it in another form, and was so impressed with the mission of the organization. In the success story file, they had a picture of a magnificent frigate that was one of the "patients" at the Center and this description of the bird's rescue and recovery:

"The 1.43-kilogram bird had previously had a hook in her wing and line entanglement. "It's hard to evaluate their flapping and symmetry because they are so big," said Dr. Amber McNamara, the vet who supervises the clinic. "But I was able to feel along the length of her wing with my fingers, and there was no swelling or lacerations. She was just beaten down and exhausted from the struggle with the fishing line." Staff placed her in a double-wide cage in ICU and provided her with fluids and pain medication. She wasn't interested in eating any fish the next so staff tube-fed her fluids and the Chinese herb Four Gentlemen. Later they gave her a high-calorie carnivore formula. Dr. Amber said only about 25% of the frigate birds will eat in captivity."

Fortunately, this great bird did survive and regained its strength to successfully be re-introduced back into the wild. Other cases of successful rehabilitation of various birds, mammals and reptiles were told at the site, as well as how the Center offers adult and youth educational programs, nature walks, lectures and kayak/canoe eco tours.

When it comes to nature, its study and preservation, C.R.O.W. is certainly a great ambassador and icon for Sanibel and one of dozens of reasons a vacationer may want to come to this unique barrier, tropical island!