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In Memoriam: Sandy Reed

Updated: Feb 24

Sandy Reed on the site helping to dig burrows for Project BUR-O.

It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of Sandy Reed. Sandy was a passionate birder, volunteer and friend. Sandy passed away peacefully at her home Feb. 19, 2024.


Visitation is March 2, 11 am - noon, followed by a noon memorial service at Serenity Meadows in Riverview. Click here for more information.


Tampa Audubon Society President Ann Paul wrote the tribute below to recognize Sandy’s many achievements as a dedicated volunteer at Tampa Audubon.


A Force of Nature. A Bird Lover and Energetic, Thoughtful and Passionate Wildlife Advocate. An Excellent Friend. An active Member and Leader of the Tampa Audubon Society.


Many phrases correctly describe Sandy Reed. She did a lot for birds working through Tampa Audubon Society. I will list some and likely miss some. I remain sincerely glad to have known Sandy, shared field days with her, and become her friend. And I deeply regret her too-early death.


Working through the Tampa Audubon Society, Sandy:


-       Initiated a Bluebird Trail at Hillsborough County’s conservation land, the Balm Boyette Preserve and MacDill Air Force Base, and inspired Mary and John Miller’s Tampa Audubon Bluebird Trail activities and leadership.


-       Coordinated Tampa Audubon’s Natural Hillsborough class for the University of South Florida’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for more than five years. The class involves eight one-hour lectures by Audubon expert biologists about the ecology and wildlife of our county followed by a one-hour walk at Lettuce Lake Conservation Park. Sandy recruited the speakers, worked with USF and county park staff to promote and host the classes, and oversaw the education about the unique resources, birds, and other animals of our region.

Sandy (left) helping rescue a hooked Brown Pelican with other volunteers.

-       Created awareness of the significant carnage to Brown Pelicans and other seabirds caused by fishing gear entanglement. This work included personally rescuing hooked and entangled birds at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier, training volunteers, and transporting injured pelicans to bird rehabilitation hospitals – always a long car drive.


-       As part of her efforts to protect seabirds, she recruited volunteers to help develop better rehabilitation facilities for Lee Fox, one of our area’s best rehabilitators. Sandy documented the enormous scale of the impacts to the local pelican population to prove that many more birds were being injured than regional biologists and pier managers realized.


Through Sandy’s leadership, she brought together a coalition of involved biologists, concerned citizens, and staff to begin creating a solution and demanding the involvement of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida State Park staff. She pointed out that the Commission had no information on their website or other outreach about the bird entanglement issue and helped design educational materials, and then got them printed and distributed. She spoke eloquently at meetings and Commission hearings, successfully changing attitudes and opinions, leading to measures that are hopefully making a difference.


-       Initiated a program to promote installation of artificial burrows and nesting habitat for state-listed Burrowing Owls in Hillsborough County. Burrowing Owls were once relatively common in Hillsborough County, but are now rare. Sandy researched best practices, enlisted volunteers, purchased materials, found burrow site landowners, and led burrow habitat installation and maintenance workdays.


-       Served on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Audubon Society for several years.


-       Led field trips in the area and out of state for Tampa Audubon members and offered her own yard as a haven for birds and the bird-watchers who flocked to see them, including the Florida Young Birders’ Club and other groups.

- Was an Eagle Nest Monitor for the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, an Audubon Florida program. As a monitor, she observed active nests, recorded information about nesting activities and watched for possible disturbances or threats to the nesting eagles.


-      Was co-administrator of the Hillsborough County Birds Facebook page, a place to share information about birds and where they could be found for beginners and more advanced bird watchers.


-       Gave talks about best methods and equipment for providing food, water and habitat for birds in private yards.


Sandy took great joy in watching birds, identifying birds, sharing stories about birds, and photographing birds. Everywhere she went, she was watching for birds and sharing what she saw with her friends, family and acquaintances.


We are already missing her – a lot.

1 Comment

Sandy was an incredibly supportive person and loving friend. She was admired by so many. She will be seriously missed.

Joel and Barbara Jackson

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