Guest Blogging Day 10: David McRee

And welcome to day 10 of the Swarovski Optik Guest Blogging Contest. Sharon is winging her way back to the U.S. as I write this, with tons of photos and stories about her trip to Guatemala. Thanks to all our Guest bloggers for their great entries!

Our entry for today comes from David McRee, whom you can visit on line at Blog the Beach.

When I learned that the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, Florida was having a training session for people interested in wild bird rescue, I rushed right over. Sanctuary staff and several able bird rescue volunteers showed me that there is a lot more to running a wild bird rescue operation than just bringing a bird home in a box and keeping it warm.

After a hands-on workshop that included removing fishhooks from dead cormorants, pelicans, egrets, seagulls, and crows, I was ready to learn even more. At the right moment, I revealed my secret identity as a blogger and asked to accompany the bird rescue volunteers on a mission.

Liz Vreeland, a bird rescue volunteer with boundless energy, endless patience, and a knack for getting things done, agreed to meet me mid-morning Sunday on the Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier where she often helps injured birds.
What I didn't realize was that not all injured birds are incapacitated; some have to be caught before they can be helped. How do you catch a pelican flying 50 feet in the air and trailing 20 feet of fishing line with an orange float and half a pound of lead fishing weight? Liz either knows how or figures it out.

Once she catches the birds, she knows how to determine what condition they're in and whether they need to go to the bird hospital. Hooks are extracted from captured birds, and fishing line is unwrapped from wings, feet, and bodies. Wounds are examined and the bird's condition assessed before it is either released or sent to the hospital. Liz patiently educates fishermen and onlookers, and exercises unbelievable restraint when dealing with people who think its funny to injure a bird.
There's nothing like holding a bird in your hands to really appreciate how beautiful they are. I shot some video of my day with the bird rescuers and put together a short clip.

Volunteer Seabird Rescue Effort in Florida from David McRee on Vimeo.

Thanks, David! We'll be back soon with the form where you can vote for your favorite entry. And thanks again to all our writers!