Today we were scheduled to snorkel in the coral reefs of Key Largo. We arrived the required 45 minutes early to discover that water conditions were not for beginner snorkelers like us. Disappointment. We rescheduled for tomorrow.
Now, what to do with our day. Mike did a bit of “googling” and discovered the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center. The center was free (donations accepted)—right up our alley.
We arrived early afternoon—just in time for the second feeding of the day. We learned quite a bit about the birds and the facility from the intern doing the feeding. Some of the birds are permanent residents of the center, due to injuries that made the birds unable to return to the wild. Others are being cared for and prepared to return to the free.
As I walked along the boardwalks and looked at the birds, I felt conflicted. On one side I felt some of the birds maybe should have been left to die (natural selection), rather take heroic steps to “fix” them. On the other side, I figured the presence of man in what was the birds’ natural habitat probably contributed to the injuries. I stopped the intern and talked with him about my conflicted thoughts. He figures about 70% of the injured birds that come to the center are a result of man—fishing line and lures left behind, cars, large building windows, pet cats, etc. He also suggested that there really can only be natural selection when those birds that are “stronger” are allowed to produce off-spring. And, with man’s interference, some of the “stronger” are injured rather than fulfilling their role. Hmmmm, something to think about.
We enjoyed our visit. It was a nice way to salvage a day that started out with major disappointment.