Florida on a Tankful: Bird Gardens offer sanctuary, learning experience

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2018, 10:16 AM EST

Birds from all over the world, young and old, have found a pretty unique home on a five-acre sanctuary on the west side of the state.

  • Bird Gardens is a retirement home for feathered friends
  • It is home to 150 birds currently; it once held 400

Jake Fitzgerald's passion for birds started at a young age. His mother, an exotic bird breeder, first introducing him to what has become a lifelong love.

"A lot of people started to know her as 'the bird lady'. So after a while people would start bringing birds to our house and we always had a house full of birds. After a while though she realized she wanted to work with them in a way that was more sustainable," Fitzgerald said.

Cue the birth of the Bird Gardens, a sanctuary for abandoned and rescued birds of all shapes size and color.

Fitzgerald, now a college graduate, works at the sanctuary giving daily tours of the hundreds of birds.

At the moment, the rescue is home to 150 birds, but it has had as many as 400 on the property before.

"Most of the birds we do get out here, this is their retirement home. When we get nice birds like Rosita, they get adopted out. They don't stay here long, because nice birds deserve good homes," Fitzgerald said.

Bird Gardens is of the largest bird rescues in the state and it gives tours to the general public. They even allow you to get inside some of the enclosures for bird feedings and encounters.

"My favorite reactions are when I have kids come and their parents tell me they're afraid of animals and they never hold animals and I can give them Rosita and they can see how sweet she is," Fitzgerald said.

This spot is sure to put a smile on your face and give you a better appreciation for unique birds from all over the globe.

A fun side note, all of the birds at the reserve are adoptable, so if you visit you might even meet your future pet.

The Bird Gardens is a nonprofit that operates solely on donations. It does ask if you visit you call ahead of time and reserve a tour spot.