In 2005 Mary Ellen Rogers moved to Oak Island, North Carolina and determined that there was no facility caring for the local coastal birds that got hooked, netted, or otherwise injured or orphaned. Since she had been previously volunteering for years at the Center for Birds of Prey in South Carolina, she thought she could address this need.
To gain additional experience, she volunteered at the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter. She received and continues to hold the necessary state and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits for the wild birds that are sheltered at Sea Biscuit. In 2007 she began to convert the basement and backyard of her small beach house into a wild bird clinic. The upstairs remains her home.
Because there were no other facilities for birds within 100 miles at the time, the shelter quickly filled up. Since the second year of operation, new arrivals have exceeded 350 birds annually, including all types of birds from songbirds to pelicans to raptors.
Sea Biscuit has undergone expansion over the years as conditions changed, adding new enclosures and work spaces. All of the improvements have been funded by local grants or donations of funds, labor, and materials by local supporters. As the population of Brunswick County continues to grow, so too do the needs of injured, sick, or orphaned wild birds. Additional space to house Sea Biscuit’s rehabilitation and educational activities will allow it to meet those needs. Therefore, the shelter is working to expand again into a new facility.