Hidden Gems: Wild Wings Bird Sanctuary

Have you ever wondered whether the owls in Harry Potter could actually carry a Nimbus 2000? Or maybe you just want to see some birds of prey up close?

Why You Should Go

Wild Wings is a charming non-profit raptor rehabilitation center located about 20 minutes south of Rochester, NY. Nestled in Mendon Ponds Park, the facility is home to bald eagles, hawks, owls (big-and-super small), and other birds-of-prey who’ve been injured and rehabilitated and can’t be released back into the wild.

Be sure to note the hours. Wild Wings is only open Fridays through Tuesdays.

Meet ‘Barf’

They have a friendly, welcoming staff who are more than happy to give you the inside scoop on the different birds—‘Barf’ the Turkey Vulture, for instance, got his name because of a particularly unusual (and gross) defense mechanism.  The facility is totally family friendly (even the gift shop!) any time of year. During the spring and summer, they have beautiful gardens and in the colder months they offer hot cocoa to warm up your adventure.

My son insisted on taking home a stuffed Turkey Vulture from the gift shop. I was afraid what would happen if he squeezed it.

What to do

There’s a lot to see in a small space. Ask the trainers if they’ll be taking any of the birds out for socialization or educational programs. The times we’ve gone, my kids have been lucky to see many of the animals out of their cages.

The owls at Wild Wings are always a big hit.

Don’t Miss

You’ll probably only spend 20 minutes or so exploring the facility (especially if you’re with little ones), so be prepared to make a day of it in the surrounding Mendon Ponds Park. Pack some bird seed—but not for the Wild Wings birds (once you’ve seen a Bald Eagle’s talons up close, you’ll understand why). Right outside the bird sanctuary is the Bird Song Trail, where you can hand feed chickadees, nuthatches, and other tiny, wild birds. Just be careful of the squirrels. I had one run up my leg and into my kid’s diaper bag to get at my bounty of bird seed.

The Songbird Trail, located just a few yards from the sanctuary, is a great place to get up-and-personal with some feathered friends.

The Details

Location: Mendon Ponds Park, 27 Pond Road, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472
Hours: Open year-round; Friday – Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (If the weather is really bad they may put some of the birds inside.)
Suggested donation: Admission is Free, but they recommend a $5 per family donation
For more: Go to http://www.wildwingsinc.com

Timothy Murray

Timothy Murray

An upstate transplant, by way of NYC, Tim has fully embraced the country life in bucolic Honeoye Falls, NY and enjoys raising his kids, his chickens, and his neighbor's blood pressure (mostly when he works late into the night in his workshop tinkering with lawnmower engines and very loud power tools). When Tim isn't working on Digital Strategy and Insights at Excellus BCBS you may find him at a local rugby match or taking a deep breath of nature at any of the parks and hiking trails in Monroe County.
Timothy Murray

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2 thoughts on “Hidden Gems: Wild Wings Bird Sanctuary

  1. Shastin says:

    It’s so wonderful that you showcased Wild Wings. I have been a volunteer there for over 10 years and can tell you first hand that the dedication, passion and love for the cause and the birds from the director, her amazing family, and the many volunteers and supporters is unmatched. Not only is this an amazing place to bring your family, but it is also a wonderful Non-Profit (501c(3)) and anything purchased in the gift shop, any paid tours, birthday parties, owl prowls, fundraisers and donations go directly to the birds. They are all permanently injured and non-releasable so by supporting Wild Wings you are directly supporting the birds and environmental stewardship through education.

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