Save Our Seabirds Inc
1708 Ken Thompson Pkwy
Sarasota FL 34236


Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick and injured birds while educating our community about preventing injuries and preserving habitats.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. David Pilston
Board Chair Mr. Nicholas Gladding
Board Chair Affiliation Attorney - Retired
General Info
Former Names
The Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary
Pinellas Seabird Rehab Center
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1991
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Aug 2018
State Registration Yes Apr 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
501 c 3 for Save Our SeabirdsView
Impact Statement
In the past year, we have:
  • Responded to over 4,000 bird calls.
  • Hosted over 25,000 visitors in our Wild Bird Learning Center.

  • Hosted over 1,000 youngsters from Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Sarasota YMCA Foster Program, and others.

  • Hosted dozens of senior citizens from various nursing and assisted living facilities.

  • Participated in dozens of outreach events at schools, clubs, churches, and homeowners associations, as well as at Selby Gardens, Mote Marine Aquarium, and others.

Needs Statement
  1. Our operating expenses are approximately $2,000 per day for labor, food, medicines, supplies, maintenance, and utilities.
  2. When SOS moved into the former site of the Pelican Man, the facilities were in severe disrepair. Although we have made many improvements, we are a long way from the state-of-the-art facility that we hope to be. Our hospital Commissary, which prepares over 100 different foods for our birds every day, needs various kitchen cabinets and equipment: $9,458.
  3. All of the windows and doors on our hospital and office buildings do not seal properly and therefore leak alarming amounts of heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer: $26,712.
  4. Our wooden ramp and railings are deteriorating.  We estimate it would cost $51,000 to replace them with safer and more durable composite materials.
  5. We would like to build a new flight pen for our recuperating birds.  Cost would be approximately $40,000.
Background Statement

Save Our Seabirds moved to the former Pelican Man site on City Island in 2008 and has since grown to to an organization with over a dozen employees and hundreds of volunteers with a mission to rescue, rehabilitate, release, and educate. Our trained and permitted avian hospital technicians treat over 4,000 birds per year in our on-site avian hospital. Our goal is to rehabilitate and release every bird that comes into our hospital. Birds that are unable to be released are given permanent homes in our Wild Bird Learning Center, which is open to the public every day from 10 to 5.

Our beautiful natural environment is an important component of the wonderful quality of life that we so treasure in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. That quality of life is a significant catalyst to our local economic engine.

Wildlife viewing - and particularly bird watching - are big business in Florida. A recent study found that more tourists come to Florida to bird-watch than to golf. In 2011, wildlife viewing activities generated more than $4.9 billion for Florida's economy. Wildlife viewing in Florida supports 44,623 full- and part-time jobs. That is more jobs than the entire air transportation industry (35,268 jobs) statewide. (US Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Unfortunately, our local, and migratory, bird populations are under severe threat from automobiles, fish hooks, golf balls, loss of habitat, and environmental toxins.

Our many ecological programs, including bird rescue, rehabilitation, and release and the promotion of solar power and environmentally friendly native plants, contribute to the general quality of life of all Floridians. SOS is dedicated to doing its part to preserve that natural beauty for generations to come.

According to "State of the Birds 2009," birds provide insect and rodent control, plant pollination, and seed dispersal which result in tangible benefits to people. Insect outbreaks can annually destroy hundreds of millions of dollars of agricultural and forest products. Birds' insect control has been valued at as much as $5,000 per year per square mile of forest, translating into billions of dollars in environmental services. Costs can also be incurred by not protecting birds. The cost of recovering endangered species from possible extinction costs millions of dollars per year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that $18.5 million was spent on recovery of the Northern Spotted Owl in 1995 - just one of many essential recovery efforts.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- Hillsborough
Areas Served Comments We rescue and treat birds from all over Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and occasionally receive birds from outside this geographical area.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Animal Related
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Education
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

Save Our Seabirds is the ONLY organization in Southwest Florida that:

  • Focuses on Caring for Wild Birds

  • Rescues Injured Birds in Four Counties

  • Has a Fully-functioning Avian Clinic

  • Provides Permanent Homes for Non-releasable Birds

  • Is Open to the Public Every Day

  • Offers Fully Accredited Field Trips

  • Offers College Internships (

  • Offers Summer Camps


Grades K-2: Who’s That Bird? Follow the path through Save Our Seabirds and search for these birds. Learn the birds’ names and facts about how and where they live in the wild.

Grades 3-5: Beaks and Feet: A Closer Look at Adaptation Take a close look at the birds' beaks and feet. Discover how much they tell us about what a bird eats and how it gets its food. In our Education Center, take a hands-on approach to trying to “eat like a bird.”
Grades 6-8: Bird Scavenger Hunt Find the birds described on your Scavenger Hunt Search List. Learn how these birds are adapted for survival in the wild, what they eat, where they nest, how they are grouped and classified based on shared characteristics and behaviors, natural threats/predators.
Grades 9-12: Let’s Classify the Way Scientists Do Look at birds the way scientists and researchers do, by identifying various characteristic features of each species, and then placing them within groups of birds that share certain of those characteristics.
Budget $5,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Exhibitions & Shows
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success We hope to host 500 students per year.
Long Term Success We hope our education programs will help prevent many of the injuries that we see every day.  We also hope to do our part to help create the next generation of environmentalists.
Program Success Monitoring We solicit feedback from students and teachers on the overall effectiveness of our field trips.
Program Success Examples We often hear from people who have attended one of our field trips and have put their knowledge to practical use.
Description We offer a rigorous college internship program that has hosted students from the Cornell, Penn State, University of New Hampshire, University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois, UC Santa Barbara, University of Minnesota, Northern Arizona University, University of Florida, New College, USF, SCF, and others
Budget $2,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success Our internships have helped focus our staff on the educational aspects of their jobs.  It is a very rewarding experience for all involved.
Long Term Success Our interns typically plan to be veterinarians or wildlife rehabilitators.  While here, they gain valuable experience that will help them reach their career goals.
Program Success Monitoring Mutual feedback forms for interns and staff.
Program Success Examples Positive feedback forms, positive word of mouth from the interns.
Our core mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick and injured wild birds.
We receive calls about birds in distress from throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties every day. Our goal is to dispatch one of our network of trained volunteer rescuers within ten minutes of every call.
A distressed bird receives initial assessment and treatment in our triage room. From there, it is moved to our critical care room, where it receives ongoing treatment for as long as necessary.  Eventually, it graduates to our less critical holding/treatment areas, until it is strong enough to move to a transition pen. Throughout the process, we minimize human contact in order to avoid imprinting, or familiarity with people.
Once a bird reaches the transition pen, it is kept in extreme isolation from people and is encouraged to regain its flight strength and natural hunting abilities. When we are confident that it is strong enough to survive in the wild on its own, we schedule its release.
Budget $300,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success Increase in birds rescued and birds released.
Long Term Success Last year, we created a relational database, which we call BIRDbase (Bird Intake Research Database), to track every bird that we see.  Our goal is constant improvement in the number of birds we rescue, and the number of birds that we successfully release back into the wild.
Program Success Monitoring Data tracked in BIRDbase.
Program Success Examples We treat nearly 2,000 birds per year, and release the majority of them back into the wild.
Program Comments by Organization
We have made tremendous progress in the past few years.  We have greatly improved the quality and professionalism of our bird care, the maintenance of our facilities, the breadth of our education programs, and the frequency of our community outreach.  We are now a Foundation-reviewed partner of The Giving Partner, rated in the top 10% of tourist attractions worldwide by TripAdvisor, Gold Certified by Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism, and the only organization of our kind that is a certified partner in the Sarasota County Green Business Partnership.

Education is a very important component of our mission. We have greatly expanded our educational offerings for both practical and philosophical reasons.

In a practical sense, educating the public about the types of injuries that we encounter every day can reduce the number of those injuries. The most common bird injuries are caused by automobiles, fish hooks, and golf balls. We expect our newly developed education programs will, over time, grow to influence various decision makers as they drive, fish, and golf - and perhaps even as they make other major decisions in life that might affect the environment - improving the well being of Floridians in general.

In a broader philosophical sense, we strive to do our part to overcome our country's epidemic of "Nature Deficit Disorder" and the health issues that result, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. We want to help create the next generation of environmentalists. We were recently named as the only organization of our kind in the Sarasota County Green Business Partnership, because we practice what we preach!

Our unique Wild Bird Learning Center, which is essentially a living museum, offers fascinating educational displays featuring live birds that have been injured and treated, but are unable to be returned to the wild. Strolling along our "Birdwalk," visitors compare and contrast the various types of diversification and adaptation that make each species unique, and also gain an insight into why each species has evolved specific features, such as beaks, legs, feathers, or feet, in order to survive in their respective natural habitats. Visitors also learn about the various environmental risks to birds, and how to help minimize them.

Our Birdwalk also serves a broader environmental education purpose. Our recently completed Native Plant project has filled our sanctuary with native plants and corresponding interpretive signage that explains the importance of native plants to the general environment and also highlights the specific inter-dependencies between plants and birds. We will launch another phase of this project this summer.

Our recently installed 10 kilowatt solar panel array, donated by FPL, will not only provide approximately one-third of our energy needs, but has also become another important educational asset, with interpretive signage and a video kiosk that explain the importance of solar power to our environment.

Our fully-accredited field trips provide opportunities for outdoor, nature-based education for children of all ages, bolstering lifelong learning and promoting physical and mental good health. We also host hundreds of children every summer from the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department's Summer Camp Program.

Our adult education offerings include training courses on Wild Bird Rescue and Baby Bird Care.

We are passionate about helping to create the next generation of environmentalists. Through our field trips and internships, we believe we are doing our small part.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mr. David Pilston
CEO Term Start July 2012
CEO/Executive Director Email
MBA, Stanford Graduate School of Business
BS, Business Administration and French, San Diego State University
Diplôme, Universite D'Aix-Marseille
Founder and Managing Partner, Zephyr Ventures LLC
Vice President, Customer Services, Quintus Corporation
Practice Director, the Application Group
Director of Education and Consulting Services, Oracle Corporation
Senior Consultant, Arthur Andersen
Secretary/Treasurer, Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida (current)
Board Member, Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce (current)
National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
Past Board Member and Membership Chair, Rotary Club of Sarasota
Past President, Rotary Club of Sarasota Keys
Past President, Rotary Club of Sarasota Keys Foundation
Past Board Member, Sarasota Family YMCA
Past Board Member, Riverview High School Foundation
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Ms. Lee Fox Jan 1990 - May 2013
Senior Staff
Ms. Holly Forrester Office Manager
Ms. Dana Leworthy Avian Hospital Administrator
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 7
Part Time Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 300
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
  • Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Longboat Key Garden Club , Ringling College, Rotary Club of Sarasota, Mote Marine Aquarium, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Selby Gardens, Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota, Boys and Girls Club of Manatee, Girl Scouts of Sarasota, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Sarasota YMCA Foster Care Program, Easter Seals, many more.

National Rehabilitation Association2013
Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County2013
Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce2008
Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission2012
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Certified Green Business PartnerSarasota County Green Business partnership2013
Certificate of ExcellenceTrip Advisor2017
Gold CertificationFlorida Society for Ethical Ecotourism2016
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government Yes
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2012
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Multi-Media Comments by Organization There are many more videos on our website:
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Nicholas Gladding
Company Affiliation Attorney - Retired
Board Term Oct 2015 to Dec 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ann Anderson Community Volunteer
Jon Berg Retired
Nancy Curtis Community Volunteer
Jim Curtis Retired
Lisa Giusti Community Volunteer
Nicholas Gladding Retired Attorney
Lisa Hartmann Community Volunteer
David Pilston CEO
Sandra Rios The Resort at Longboat Key
Jim Roque Suntrust Wealth Management
Dean Jeffrey Telego Risk Management Expert
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 7
Board Meeting Attendance % 95
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Governance Comments by Organization
In the past few years, our Board has matured, adding seven strong new members (Nicholas Gladding, Lisa Hartmann, Jim Curtis, Jim Roque, Lisa Giusti, Jon Berg, and Jeff Telego) and establishing a committee structure for the first time. We now have a Finance Committee, Development Committee, and Governance Committee. 
Board Chairman Nick Gladding received his B.A. from Yale University and his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Nick serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, where he is the Past Chairman of the Board. He is a past Chair and founding member of the Board of Directors of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence), as well as Past Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. He is actively involved with Mote Marine Laboratory, where he serves on the Research Committee of the Board, the Mote Marine Advisory Board, and on the Mote Marine Policy Institute Board of Advisors. He serves on the Policy Advisory Board of the Florida Solar Energy Center and on the Advisory Board of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium. He has also served his alma maters as President of the Yale Club of the Suncoast and as a member of the Alumni Board of Advisors of Vanderbilt University Law School.
 We have also recently created a new Advisory Council, which includes Gayle Guynup of the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Jim Shirley of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, Patricia Gardner of Sarasota Classified Teacher's Association, Steve Sabato of ABC7, and Anju Lynn of Xplor, Inc.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2018
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $779,000.00
Projected Expenses $742,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$63,599$61,799$80,801
Individual Contributions$432,113--$600,006
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$42,486($12,663)
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$101,273$29,051$53,123
Revenue In-Kind$329,910$481,614$475,858
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$638,577$705,953$751,994
Administration Expense$62,615$62,099$63,045
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.011.021.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses91%92%92%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$327,108$296,919$284,212
Current Assets$37,194$155,246$135,699
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$25,622$0($78)
Total Net Assets$301,486$296,919$284,290
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $432,113Contributions, gifts, grants $536,722Contributions, gifts, grants $600,006
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGate Ticket Sales $103,071Gate Ticket Sales $104,195Gate Ticket Sales $92,731
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $101,273Government Grants - Unspecified $61,799Government Grants - Unspecified $80,801
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $100,001 - $125,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.45----
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization We have recently been named as a beneficiary in a substantial Charitable Remainder Trust, which will be included in our year-end balance sheet.
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from IRS Form 990 and audit documents.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.  Total revenue includes the valuation of contributions in kind. 
Nonprofit Save Our Seabirds Inc
Address 1708 Ken Thompson Pkwy
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone 941 388-3010