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The Eye of the Ibis – Inside a Bird Sanctuary

bird Sanctuary close up

Birds. With one stretch of their wings they can soar and glide through the sky with a splendour and freedom that man (and woman) can still only dream of. They are majestic, magnificent and make driving home for Christmas seem insignificant when compared to their staggering migratory paths.

They also freak me out a little. Those glazed eyes. Those sharp beaks. Those clawed and clasping feet. I can’t help but feel a sense of malevolence and suspicion whenever they’re around.

When dealing with the plundering pigeons at Trafalgar Square or the scheming seagulls in Brighton, it’s a reaction that makes sense.

But I took these photographs at the Laura Quinn Sanctuary for birds in the Florida Keys. These birds were damaged, unable to fly away, unable to steal my lunch and presumably unable to peck out my eyes in a frenzied orgy of violence.

Or were they…?

What do you think about birds? Love ‘em? Or…


Bird Sanctuary005

I visited Florida as a guest of Virgin Holidays, who fly direct to Miami from London Heathrow. See the sexy disclosure policy.

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27 Responses to The Eye of the Ibis – Inside a Bird Sanctuary

  1. Ayngelina April 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    I am not a birder but these photos are beautiful.

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      I’m learning a new expression here, then. A birder?! I guess that’s the same as a birdwatcher…Or twitcher?!

  2. dtravelsround April 14, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    I’m with Ayngelina — these photos ARE beautiful.

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Cheers!

  3. federico April 14, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Fantastic photos!

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      Thank you!

  4. Pete April 14, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    All excellent photos but I especially love the shot of the feet clinging on the branch.

  5. Camels & Chocolate April 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    I’m going birding for the first time in Panama next month! What lens would you recommend?

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      The birding expression makes me think of something completely different in Brit slang but I take it you’ll be birdwatching! ;) I’m not an expert, but I’d recommend getting your hands on the biggest telephoto lens you can manage to carry. You need to wait until they’re quite still to get a good shot and they’re very skittish once they see you approaching. Hiding behind trees and bushes also helps! Enjoy Panama – I’ve never been but would love to one day.

  6. Christy @ Technosyncratic April 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    What a cool background on that third photo! And the close up of the feet is great. Lovely photos, as always. :)

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      Hehe – it’s the wire fence. I switched to manual focus & concentrated on the eye of the bird, so that the fence became distorted.

  7. Jenna April 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I absolutely love birds. I even cried at the Bali Bird Park. A little odd, I know. Anyway, I would enjoy this bird sanctuary. In fact, the last time I was in Florida was when I was about 8. I should go back soon.

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Glad to hear someone in praise of birds! I was beginning to feel a little sorry for them…

  8. Stephanie - The Travel Chica April 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Impressive photography. Animals are so difficult to shoot.

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Well, I did have a head start in this case as the birds were injured…It definitely made it easier!

  9. Alvina April 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Great photo’s. I have been to the santuary too. It is on my ‘Alternative Florida’ list. But we do have some great bird reserves in the UK. Recently been to Leighton Moss close to where I live in the North West. Was worth getting up at 6am for a second visit. The RSPB do some great work here and abroad.

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      I used to visit the Arundel Wildfowl Trust a lot when I was young…I seem to remember a lot of different ducks there (webbed feet, broad beak, much more friendly!)

  10. Katja April 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Absolutely beautiful photos but … I can’t bear birds. It’s their pecky beaks and their graspy claws and flappy, flappy wings. They give me the shivers. Brrr! (I’m a cat person, me. Yes, I know they’re evil personified, but that’s part of their charm, no?)

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Cats? Only fangs and claws to worry about there…much easier to deal with ;)

  11. Andrea April 16, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    In theory, I like them, because I am a huge animal lover. In reality…they freak me out so much! A bird park sounds really unpleasant to me. I love seeing photos of birds though, I just don’t want them flying over me or touching me. Thanks for sharing your photos so I don’t have to go there! :)

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      Many of them are behind fences if that makes you feel any better! (The swirling pattern on the photo just beneath the feet is the lattice of the fence through manual focus.) On the whole, though, I’m with you. In theory, I like them. In reality…I brace myself!!

  12. Abby April 16, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Love this! I went to the University of Miami, and while our team was the “Hurricanes,” our mascot was Sebastian the Ibis. People made fun — but he was fierce! Glad you enjoyed the Keys!!

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 9:23 am #

      Sebastian the Ibis. And people made fun?! ;) Loved the Keys – so much more there than I would have imagined.

  13. Erica April 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    RAWR this makes me want a nice lens!

    • Abi April 17, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Hehe! I had lens envy at the park – I was there with some ultra-serious photographers!

  14. Wild Florida Airboat Tours May 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Birds may appear a little creepy, but we still love them (we even have a Bird Aviary in our Wildlife Park)! Our personal favorite image is the last one–nice shot!

  15. Raul (@ilivetotravel) September 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Beautiful pictures!!

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