The Shelter cares for injured or orphaned birds providing safety from predators, minimum medical care, food and shelter from the elements.
When an animal is again able to care for itself, it is released back into the wild. The Shelter does not keep nonreleasable animals nor do they use heroic methods to sustain the quality of their life. However, the Shelter makes every effort to rehabilitate any endangered species and every animal brought there is treated with respect and caring.
The shelter has been operated by Mary Ellen Rogers since 2007. After she moved to North Carolina in 2003 and purchased a cottage she named “Sea Biscuit,” Mary Ellen came to the realization that there was no rehabilitation center for local shorebirds that get tangled in fish nets, swallow fish hooks, or are otherwise injured or become orphaned.
The local turtle volunteers and animal control encouraged her to care for injured birds. Mary Ellen volunteered for a term at the SC Center for Birds of Prey and the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter to gain experience. Then she went on to obtain the state and federal permits necessary to open Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter.
Dedicated to birds solely, rather than being a large all encompassing facility, the shelter is located in the lower level of Mary Ellen’s small beach house and in her back yard.
Due to the nature of their injuries or illnesses, some of the birds are kept inside in cages while they recover while others, particularly Brown Pelicans, are kept outside. Mary Ellen’sbackyard now holds three wood and plastic-netted enclosures. The largest enclosure, which is 12′ x 30′ and 12′ high, allows the birds the opportunity to flight train and even hunt for their own food prior to their release. A medium sized enclosure, 8′ x16′ and 8′ high, is for songbirds and gulls or birds needing a lot of privacy. The newest is for the little birds who require flight training prior to their release. The Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter is not open to the public in order to protect the birds from any unnecessary noise or disturbance.
Today while I was making this webpage, Sea Biscuit had a busy day. Within three hours, Mary Ellen received an new emaciated Red-throated Loon that had been bitten by a shark, a cardinal mauled by a cat, and an orphaned mourning dove.
Caring for injured or sick birds is a full-time job requiring rising before dawn, intense labor and money for food, medication and supplies. Some examples of the early morning tasks and many repeated throughout the day, include preparing the special diets required for the different species of birds, changing the towels in the cages, cleaning the 30-gallon aquarium, and weighing the babies. Some of the additional chores include replacing the fresh water into each of the cages, adjusting heating pads and heat lamps for young birds. Many of the birds must be fed by hand and some have to be taken outside for the day. Some of the birds must be tube fed and there are bandages to changed. Multuple loads of towels require washing and drying and each of the bird’s medical chart must be updated after each feeding.
You can help! Because Mary Ellen has such limited space, unless you could send medical supplies, the best way to help is to send a check. All contributions are tax deductible because Sea Biscuit is a 501(c)3 organization. Last year Mary Ellen paid $1,150 to obtain that status.
Your children’s school class could adopt the Shelter as a project by raising money or saving dimes or pennies for a year.
If you are among the 10,000 visitors to each of our islands every week during the summer and enjoy our coastal birds, make a donation that will be helpful and appreciated.
Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter
1638 East Beach Drive, Oak Island, NC 28465