Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

April 19, 2014

A Red-breasted Merganser at our SF Bay center


Red-breasted Merganser # 14-0243 in care at SF Bay Center
Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

RBMEThis female Red-breasted Merganser was found at Main Beach in Santa Cruz on April 6 and was transported to us via our wildlife partners at Native Animal Rescue on Saturday.

Upon intake, she was found to be emaciated with poor feather quality, and was suffering from toe abrasions, a likely result of being out of water for multiple days, rehabilitation technician Isabel Luevano reports. She also lacked crucial waterproofing and was determined to be contaminated from fish oil and feces.

The merganser received a quick wash on Monday and is now acclimating to an outdoor pool, where she’s gaining wait and eating plenty of fish.

Red-breasted Mergansers are one of three species of mergansers in North America. Known for their thin, serrated bills to catch fish prey, Red-breasted Mergansers are “bold world traveler[s], plying icy waters where usually only scoters and eiders dare to tread,” 10,000 Birds notes. “While all mergansers are swift fliers, the Red-breast holds the avian record for fastest level-flight at 100 mph.”

Red-breasted Merganser # 14-0243 in care at SF Bay Center

April 19, 2014

Brown pelican with severe pouch laceration


This Brown Pelican with a severe pouch laceration injury was found and captured Wednesday at 5400 Ocean Blvd in Long Beach before transfer to our Los Angeles center. The laceration runs all the way around the pouch, and as a result the pelican was unable to self-feed.

Our center team has placed temporary staples in the pouch to allow the bird to self-feed and stabilize. The bird is currently living in our small aviary awaiting surgery to repair the pouch.

If anyone has information regarding this bird’s injury, please call the SPCA cruelty tip line for Southern California at 1-800-540-SPCA. We’ll keep you posted on this bird’s condition.

To make a donation that will assist in the care of this bird and other pelicans cared for year-round at our wildlife centers, please click here.


Further reading:

Blue-Banded Pelican Project

April 18, 2014

Patient of the week: Brandt’s Cormorant


Photo by Bill Steinkamp

BRACDo not adjust your screen settings. The bright blue throat patch on this Brandt’s Cormorant is the real deal, and part of the bird’s breeding plumage, which also includes wispy white plumes on its neck as you can see here.

This cormorant didn’t attempt to fly away when picked up by Manhattan Beach Animal Control last Saturday, volunteer coordinator Neil Uelman reports. When it arrived at our Los Angeles center, the bird showed signs of neurological issues and was very unstable when walking or standing.

In recent days, this week’s featured patient has slowly improved and began to self-feed a few nights ago. Our L.A. center has a growing number of seabirds in care; check out the latest tally here.


Further reading:

• Brandt’s Cormorant species profile on AllAboutBirds.org

April 18, 2014

The week in bird news, April 18


Brown Pelican in the 2010 Gulf oil spill, photo by Brian Epstein

• “Active clean-up” of the 2010 Gulf oil spill has ended, nearly four years after the explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 workers and caused a sea-floor oil gusher that spewed 4.9 million barrels of crude oil before the wellhead was capped on July 15, 2010. Via New York Times:

In a statement, BP said that the Coast Guard ended patrols on Tuesday of the final three miles of affected shoreline in Louisiana.

Still, the Coast Guard stressed that a more narrow cleanup response would continue and that crews would remain on the Gulf Coast to respond to new reports of oil. Teams will be positioned to provide a rapid response when they are needed, the Coast Guard said in a statement on Tuesday night.

International Bird Rescue worked with Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in co-managing oiled bird rehabilitation centers in four states, as part of a large-scale response to the incident that involved federal and state agencies, industry, and non-governmental organizations. You can see photos of the response on our Flickr page. [New York Times]

• A London street artist is painting all of Britain’s unwittingly urbanized birds, including this Chaffinch. [Policy Mic]197b627aa280f98d389e6589072c45c2

• Coveted commercial shipping sea routes in the Arctic that are increasingly ice-free happen to be crucial marine habitat for millions of seabirds, according to a new study published in the journal Diversity and Distributions. [Alaska Dispatch]

• Earth Day is next week! To honor the upcoming day, our friends at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium have a wonderful event planned this Saturday, the Earth Day Fair and Coastal Bird Fest. [CabrilloMarineAquarium.org]

• Landfill on the high seas: Why is the ocean filled with trash? [NBC News]

• In a brilliant program combining conservation, citizen science and metadata (used for non-nefarious purposes, for once), the Nature Conservancy-backed BirdReturns program pays farmers in the Central California valley to keep rice fields flooded for the welfare of Dunlins and other migratory shorebirds suffering as the result of the state’s epic drought.

“It’s a new ‘Moneyball,’” said Eric Hallstein, a Nature Conservancy economist, referring to the movie about the Oakland Athletics’ data-driven approach to baseball. “We’re disrupting the conservation industry by taking a new kind of data, crunching it differently and contracting differently.” [New York Times]

Tweets of the week:




April 15, 2014

Contaminated pelican the latest among string of oiled birds at Los Angeles center


BRPE Oiled 3-L
Photos by Kelly Berry

BRPEOur Los Angeles team has been dealing with an array of oiled aquatic birds in recent days, from Common Murres to a very large Common Loon. And now, this Brown Pelican, brought to us 100% oiled by a contaminant with the consistency of motor oil.

Rehabilitation technician Kelly Berry reports that the adult female was found on April 10 at Faria Beach near Ventura and Santa Barbara, CA. The bird was initially taken to Santa Barbara Wildlife, which then transferred this patient to us.

Thankfully, the pelican was thermo-regulating and self-feeding upon arrival at our center. “After a full day of supportive care and a physical exam, the bird was deemed healthy enough for a wash,” Berry says. “It was washed today, and under all that oil was a beautiful adult female pelican! She ended the evening assist-feeding sardines.”

We’ll post updates on this patient once she graduates to an outdoor enclosure. Below are photos of the bird pre-wash, during-wash and after-wash. (What a difference, indeed.)

BRPE Oiled 2-L

Oiled BRPE 5-L

BRPE Oiled 6-X2

BRPE Oiled 8-L

Pelican Partners

Further reading on Brown Pelicans:

Species profile on All About Birds

Keeping watch over brown pelicans, International Bird Rescue blog

Plight of the pelican, Los Angeles Times

Blue-Banded Pelican Project


April 12, 2014

Patient of the week: Common Loon


Loon, Common IMG_0444-M
Photos by Bill Steinkamp

Our patient of the week is this stunning Common Loon in breeding plumage, currently in care at our Los Angeles center.COLO

On April 7, the bird was found oiled and beached along Refugio Beach in Lompoc, CA and was immediately transferred to our wildlife partners in Santa Barbara. A day later, the loon was transported to our Los Angeles center, which currently has a wide array of diving birds in care, from Eared Grebes to Common Murres.

Volunteer and outreach coordinator Neil Uelman says it’s a very large loon as well, weighing in at 3,296 grams, or about 7.5 pounds. The loon was about 50% oiled upon intake; we’ll keep you posted on its condition.

Like other diving birds, Common Loons are susceptible to becoming oiled, whether by natural seepage or human-caused events.Check out wash photos here of another oiled Common Loon cared for in the last year by our L.A. center team.

Also, this loon is still looking to be adopted! Click here if you’d like to make a symbolic adoption of this beautiful bird.

Loon, Common IMG_0408-L

Further reading:

Common Loon profile on AllAboutBirds.org

• International Bird Rescue blog: The loon and the lighthouse

• KQED: East Bay Regional Parks rescue injured loon, cared for at International Bird Rescue

April 8, 2014

Ducklings at our wildlife centers


Mallard Ducklings in care at SF Bay Center

With the arrival of the year’s first ducklings, baby bird season is upon us again, and we need your help.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 11.34.22 AM

Landscaped yards, road medians and industrial landscaping have replaced many natural nesting areas for waterfowl. After their eggs hatch, ducks and geese walk their young to the water facing man-made obstacles such as storm drains, fences, cars, pets and people. Hazards like these leave hundreds of wild ducklings and goslings orphaned each year, and International Bird Rescue is honored to take responsibility for their care and subsequent release. But we can’t do it alone.

Volunteer coordinator and ace photographer Cheryl Reynolds snapped a few photos of our recent arrivals. Enjoy! (And adopt!)

It is the generosity of donors like you that makes this life-saving work possible.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 11.34.27 AM

Mallard Ducklings in care at SF Bay Center

Mallard Ducklings in care at SF Bay Center

April 7, 2014

Orphan season: Green Heron


Green-Heron1 GRHE
Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Over the past week, both International Bird Rescue’s wildlife centers in California received orphaned baby birds.

Our Los Angeles center is caring for four orphaned ducklings, while our San Francisco Bay center has Canada goslings, Mallard ducklings and a Green Heron, shown above being fed via puppet surrogate. This patient was found in Discovery Bay, CA with injuries, and re-nesting was unfortunately not an option.

The heron is currently in an incubator within the center’s ICU, which is kept at a very warm temperature. During clinic hours, you can catch him/her on our live BirdCam.

Baby Green Heron Adoption

April 5, 2014

Patient of the week: Canvasback


Photo by Isabel LuevanoCANV

Remarkable healing is commonplace at our wildlife centers. Case in point: this male Canvasback at our San Francisco Bay center. He arrived with severe hock lesions, as well as a broken toe.

For weeks, you may have seen this diving duck on our live BirdCam, wearing a waterproof “shoe” to protect the healing fracture while he comingled with grebes and a Bufflehead.

Despite these severe injuries, the Canvasback has done extremely well in care, and we’re optimistic about eventual release.

April 4, 2014

The week in marine news, April 4


Matagorda Island cleanupTask force members remove oil-contaminated sand from the beach on Matagorda Island, Texas, March 30, 2014. Photo via U.S. Coast Guard

Hundreds of dead, oiled birds continue to be found on the Texas Gulf Coast following an oil spill near Galveston late last month. The Texas Tribune reports that as of yesterday, 329 oiled birds had been found from Galveston Bay to North Padre Island over 200 miles south.

“A lot of these shorebird species are not doing well to begin with, and we keep chipping away at their populations,” said David Newstead, a research scientist at the Corpus Christi-based nonprofit Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program. “At some point, they won’t be able to recover from repeat insult.” [Texas Tribune]

• For the first time in centuries, the endangered Nēnē returns to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. [Atlantic Cities]

• A $21,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for the shooting of three male otters found dead last fall at Asilomar State Beach in Northern California. [Huffington Post]

• A new study shows that dolphins are in poor health following the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. [NOAA Response and Restoration Blog]

Migratory birds flying in Japan’s coastal waters are being surveyed for possible contamination resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. [Earthweek]

Tweets of the week: