VALLEY PARK, Mo. — World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park provides refuge and rehabilitation to hundreds of our feathered friends every year. It's also the perfect escape for us humans, too.
Holly Berthold, Marketing and Development, said, "We're situated on 305 acres of Missouri Hardwood Forest. In the coming week, this place is going to be ablaze with color."
When you get here, take in the peaceful surroundings, and go on a walking tour to see where the birds live.
Berthold said, "Some birds are really interactive and others are stately and regal, and it's a lot of fun to see different types of birds here."
There are owls, emus, vultures and so much more.
CJ White, a naturalist, said, "If you find an injured eagle, owl, hawk, vulture, you're not sure or if it's a baby that fell out of the nest, bring it to us. We'd rather be safe than sorry… Raising wildlife by yourself is a federal crime unless you are properly licensed. So that can be something as more of an incentive to not take care of a bald eagle in your backyard.”
Which does happen, according to White. He said, “A handful of animals we have here were raised by people with right intentions but wrong actions."
Every bird here has a story, like Patriot, a 25-year-old bald eagle who was born and raised in the wild.
White said, "But as a young bird, she fell out of her nest. She fell out of her nest into a freezing river and inhaled freezing water. Which messed with how her lungs work. She has bird asthma. So whenever she would exert too much energy to fly around and catch a fish, she could pass out. So, for her own sake, she has free food, free rent, free healthcare and free bodyguards to make sure she can live a happy and healthy life with us."
You can experience amazing animal encounters for yourself at World Bird Sanctuary Amphitheater.
You might have to do a double take if you ever see Aesop the American Crow. This crow can paint.
White said, "Whenever she comes out to paint, she gets food rewards. Kind of like when you tell a dog to sit, they get a food reward. When she moves the sponge to the canvas, she gets a food reward. With crows, ravens, magpies - they are all incredibly intelligent animals and need something to do."
All of the crow's paintings are available for purchase.
White said, “The product is very Jackson Pollack-like. All unique, individual one-of-a-kind that we do sell in our gift shop.”
Come for the birds, stay for the views, and enjoy the unique experience while you're here.
For more information, visit worldbirdsanctuary.org.