I have volunteered at Birds in Flight for many years. It continues to grow each year as many of those in the field have been forced to quit due to lack of funding. Heather has been able to continue by expanding her facility and offering educational programs by showing non releasable birds, sharing her expertise in understanding each individual bird, and explaining the roll the public can play in keeping these majestic birds in the wild. She specifically designs programs to fit very diverse audiences.
Most of the work in caring for the facility is mundane but the rewards are great when you get to work so closely with birds that you would never be able to get close to in the wild. It is also very thrilling to watch these majestic creatures be returned to the wild.
I think the number one difficulty is receiving funding. Although she is one of a few licensed by the federal and state government and works with them frequently, they do not offer any funding. Her only funding comes from the programs she offers the public.
Since this facility has expanded to care for injured and sick birds in 16 Ohio counties there are more opportunities to learn how to transport birds from these great distances as well as gather necessary donations of goods and materials to continue daily operations.
I have been a volunteer for Birds in Flight Sanctuary for 10 years now and have enjoyed every minute of it. Over the last 10 years I have had the chance to watch a great sanctuary for local wildlife grow from a small low key operation to amazing and well established center that has many years ahead of it. Few people in this world have the compassionate,patient, and driven spirit it takes to run a center like this the way Heather does without losing focus on the important aspects of their mission, those aspects being the well being and preservation of the animals as well as the outreach and education to the public that allows them to better help them and us strengthen our local wildlife. Thank you Heather and all those at Birds at Flight for these wonderful years and those that are to come.
As one of many veterinarians in Trumbull County (and multiple other Ohio counties) who have relied on Heather to care for and rehabilitate birds and wildlife, I can't begin to express how wonderful it is to have her expertise and assistance available!
Birds in Flight will answer calls at all hours of the day or night, 365 days a year. No animal in need will be turned away... and everything is accomplished without any federal or local assistance. Birds in Flight is 100% dependent on donations and volunteer help.
Additionally, Birds in Flight does a fabulous job trying to educate the public via a variety of programs.
While Birds in Flight is in need of money to keep the doors open and wildlife cared for, the ultimate dream is to provide a rehabilitation center where the public could visit as enjoy educational programs on the facility's property. A new, larger facility would also allow Heather to care for birds like injured Bald Eagles.
Please consider a donation to help those who can't help themselves!
We at the Trumbull Soil & Water Conservation District have worked with Heather Merritt and her team since 2005 on various educational and conservation programs. They are very hardworking as well as compassionate for the injured birds they have taken in. They have expanded their operation to cover multiple counties over the past few years. I recommend that you donate to Birds In Flight Sanctuary just as our organization has.
The visual presentations are very educational for both youth and adults alike so I recommend you also invite the staff and birds in for a program. We even named our new senior citizen educational program "OWLS" for Outdoor and Wildlife Loving Seniors and Heather was the first program we did.
Mike Wilson, Administrator Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District