Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

August 15, 2017

Patients of the Week: Cackling Geese

Bird-Rescue

This week we’re sharing a story of human accountability and compassion, all to save two young Cackling Geese!

Like a good number of migratory birds, these goslings were born in the tundra on the North Slope of Alaska. They managed to find their way into an enclosed pit on the oil fields there, but were quickly rescued by workers trained by Bird Rescue to stabilize wildlife. The company flew them to us immediately and continues to support their care financially.

International Bird Rescue provides regular training for workers in the oil fields so they can be first responders in case wildlife wander into harm’s way. Our Alaska Wildlife Response Center is based in Anchorage and is funded by partners to be ever-ready in the case of a spill. We also handle small-scale contamination of a few birds at a time. Just last week, we cared for a Lapland Longspur which was contaminated with industrial lubricant. Without intervention, contaminated birds become hypothermic and die, or lose mobility and fall victim to predators. Having trained first responders in these areas where animals and humans are in close proximity greatly enhances chances for survival. This is only possible when the companies involved are committed to doing the right thing. Until the day when we can move beyond dependence on fossil fuels, we are proud to have responsible partners.

These Cackling Geese have been stablized and washed by our experienced team. Shown in the photo to the right is Michelle Bellizzi, Response Services Manager, who has been working for Bird Rescue for 17 years and who is one of our most tireless teammates when the birds’ needs are not yet met. The expression on her face says it all!

The birds are clean and should be able to return to the wild in the coming weeks to rejoin other Cackling Geese during migration.

Yum…Cackling Goose salad!

Behold the yummy greens, waterfowl feed, and mealworms that make a nutritious meal for our three goslings.

Usually, we need to raise funds to cover the costs for caring for birds, but our partners in Alaska are paying the full bill for these birds that were contaminated on their premises. We do however need to pay for additional updates to our facility, and we could use your support! To donate to our Alaska facility readiness, please click here and indicate “Alaska” in the donation comments. Thank you!

Photo credits: Barbara Callahan, International Bird Rescue

 

August 6, 2017

Photo of the Week: “Tugboat” Baby Common Murre

Bird-Rescue

A Facebook followers recently wrote in to ask about the little bird shaped “like a tugboat” on our San Francisco Bay BirdCam. The photo above shows a baby Common Murre that was found in a paper bag at the community center near Stinson Beach.

“Tugboat” weighed only 90 grams on July 25th when he was transferred by our friends at WildCare to Bird Rescue’s SF Bay Wildlife Center. He has a fractured humerus, likely sustained when he leapt from his nest on a cliff though he is quite small to have made this big leap.

Common Murres are cliff nesters and the babies take a leap into the ocean with their dad when it’s time to head for safer waters. Sometimes called “Pacific Penguins” for their resemblance to that family of birds, murres are in reality more closely related to gulls and terns.

This species has had a rough time in the past few years, including a mass stranding and starvation event in the fall of 2015 which brought more than 500 of them to our center. It is thought that ocean warming and climate change are causing traditional food sources to be less available, leaving molting adults and chicks especially vulnerable since they cannot dive as deep or relocate to better feeding grounds.

Tugboat had his daily exam a few days ago and he has more than doubled in weight in just ten days! Murres in care will eat their body weight of fish in a sitting, so this little fellow will eat 200 grams of capelin (4-5 fish) in a day. We especially enjoy these birds as patients because adults will readily take on a surrogate chick, as shown in the photo on the right.

Photo credits: Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue

 

July 29, 2017

The Release Files: Partnership Helps Egrets and Herons Fly Free

Bird-Rescue

Snowy Egret released at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline Park in Oakland, CA. Photo by Ilana DeBare, Golden Gate Audubon Society

This week we celebrate the partnership that helped rescue and release 20 Egrets and Herons in Oakland, CA. Among the bunch, a Black-crowned Night-Heron that came into International Bird Rescue with a broken leg after a tree split in two June 19th in downtown Oakland.

The Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons were set free at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park with the help of our partners from the Golden Gate Audubon Society and the Oakland Zoo.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons peek out of transport cage before taking flight. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue

“Today, I saw the culmination of a near-perfect partnership! Last year, our friends at Golden Gate Audubon and Oakland Zoo came together to monitor the downtown Oakland rookery and provide urgent stabilizing care,” said JD Bergeron, Executive Director of Bird Rescue. “This resulted in quicker response times for fallen chicks and better outcomes once they arrived at our wildlife center for rehabilitation.”

“Building on the success of last year, our three organizations rescued even more birds this year. It feels great to see off this many young herons and egrets back into the wild,” added Bergeron. “It’s quite a moving experience for everyone involved. And all this in front of volunteers, new and old, and the media — it’s so encouraging to see everyone coming together to do the right thing for the environment and our fellow inhabitants of this little blue planet.”

Many of the rescued birds were residents of the Bay Area’s largest heron rookery. It’s located near busy streets in a downtown Oakland. It has been the scene of several rescues of baby herons falling to the ground during the nesting season. The young birds were transported to Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center where they are treated for stress and injuries.

“Baby herons and egrets are among our neediest patients,” said Bergeron. “They eat expensive feeder fish and require a variety of cages and specialized care over the course of six or seven weeks. At a cost of about $18 per day for a healthy baby and twice that for an injured one, this can really add up!”

Media Reports

East Bay Times:  Herons and egrets, rescued in downtown Oakland, take flight

ABC-TV: Egrets, Herons nest in wetlands in Oakland 

Snowy Egrets after being set free in Oakland, CA. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue

 

July 15, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Green Herons

Bird-Rescue

Just when we thought baby season was starting to slow down, these three orphaned Green Heron chicks came into care this week because of human kindness. After the mother heron was struck by a car near Glendale, CA, a Good Samaritan scooped up the brood and delivered them to our Los Angeles wildlife center.

The siblings are self-feeding, which is a sign they are doing well in care. Over the course of 25 days, they will fledge (learn to fly) and they will be released to the wild. Check out this video of this energetic threesome.

To spot a Green Heron in the wild, visit a coastal or inland wetland and carefully scan the banks looking for a small, hunchbacked bird with a long, straight bill. They are quite shy and will fly away if approached too closely. One fascinating fact: Green Herons are a species that are known to use tools. During feeding, they are known to drop small items on the water’s surface to entice small fish, making them true fisher-birds! You can see this behavior on YouTube.

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Photo by staffer Kylie Clatterbuck

 

July 1, 2017

Photo of the Week: Oiled Great Egret is clean again

Bird-Rescue


This week, a contaminated Great Egret arrived at our Los Angeles wildlife center. Rescued in Huntington Beach, CA, it was covered over 100% of its body with an unidentified contaminant resembling lubricant. These birds are usually a pure white, but this egret came into care with matted yellow feathers (upper left photo).

Thanks to our rehabilitation team, the bird was stabilized with fluids and rest. Then it was washed using our 46 years of time-tested methods and DAWN dishwashing liquid.

We’re happy to report that this cleaned bird (upper right photo) is healthy and eating well. It will be returned the wild as soon as it puts on some weight and proves to have no infections.

Great Egrets are large birds – about twice the size of a Snowy Egret – and can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet. Learn more from our friends at Cornell Lab or Ornithology: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Egret/id

Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck and Devin Hanson

 

June 26, 2017

Photo of the Week: Injured Heron Nestling from Oakland Emergency

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Thanks to fast action by bird lovers in Oakland, CA, a dozen injured and scared herons and egrets are safely in care this week at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center.

Last Monday in a well-known Oakland rookery, a ficus tree infected by dry rot split in two and spilled wild birds near a busy downtown intersection. Fortunately bird heroes from a number of different agencies–including Golden Gate Audubon Society, the Oakland Zoo, Oakland Animal Control and the Oakland Police Department–sprung into action, scooping up the dazed and injured nesting birds. While some of the birds did not survive the fall, 14 birds were sent immediately to our wildlife center.

After transport to our rehabilitation center, the birds were treated, given needed food, medication and water, and a couple of them underwent surgery to repair broken bones, including the juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron shown above and in the x-ray.

Thanks to local media reports, attention was drawn to these unfortunate nesting birds and the public has graciously donated more than $1,000 to care for these birds. At $18-50 per bird per day, that gets us off to a good start, but there’s still more need to fill.

You can adopt a heron or egret today

Read more in the East Bay Times

Photos by staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr

 

 

June 12, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Birds…not quite yet!

Bird-Rescue

Our two wildlife centers are inundated with baby birds, but we also have a large number of not-yet-hatchlings!

This week’s photo shows the egg incubator at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center with a variety of eggs in it. The top row has a number of Western Gull eggs from the ongoing Bay Bridge demolition project, and the bottom row has California Quail eggs. Not shown are two very special eggs — from an American Bittern!

All of these eggs are from abandoned or disturbed nests. Fortunately, we have experience with all three species of hatchling, so we’re ready for any chicks that come along.

To the right is a Western Gull chick from last season, so you can see why we’re eagerly awaiting their hatching.

Photos by Jennifer Linader and Cheryl Reynolds

 

June 6, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Grebe

Bird-Rescue

This week we have a nice surprise in the fuzzy silver face of a young diving bird called a grebe. While we are not yet sure if this chick is a Western Grebe or Clark’s Grebe since the two species look quite alike at this age, we are quite sure he is adorable!

This “grebe-ling” was rescued in Clearlake, CA, and is now in care at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center. While we care for many adult grebes that are sick or injured, we rarely see them at this tender age.

Mother grebes lay 2-4 eggs. The hatching of chicks is not synchronized and the last egg may be abandoned in nest. The young grebe-lings will hitch a ride on a parent’s back as they head out on the water. Baby grebes have a red dot on their forehead that quite amazingly turns darker when the bird is hungry. Aren’t birds incredible?! Learn more: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/western-grebe

In the meantime, click on the video below or go here to see this beautiful young aquatic bird.

Photo and video by Cheryl Reynolds

 

May 28, 2017

Baby American Coot Helping Feed Younger Coot

Bird-Rescue

After 46 years, it sometimes feels like we have seen it all… but our patients can still bring surprises! American Coot chicks are perhaps some of the oddest babies we get at Bird Rescue. They start out with fire-engine red and yellow head feathers and grow into a relatively drab, dark gray with black heads and white beaks.

Hungry American Coot chick.

These American Coot chicks came in at different times, as can be seen by their size difference. With a little luck, we are able to match orphans of the same species. None of this is unusual.

What is unusual is that whenever we add food to their enclosure, the larger baby coot takes it upon itself to FEED the younger one! Click the video above to see an adorable video clip.

Coots are in the shorebird family Rallidae, along with Gallinules and Rails, and develop into plump chicken-like birds that spend most of their lives on the water. They have remarkable greenish legs and large feet. Learn more: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Coot/id

Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

 

 

May 20, 2017

Photo of the Week: Caspian Tern With Fishhook In Wing

Bird-Rescue

Check out this beautiful Caspian Tern, photographed by Alex Viduetsky from the oceanic jetty in Playa Del Rey, California.

Now look closer and you’ll see what Alex also saw: “Unexpectedly, a Caspian Tern with a fishhook in its right wing flew above my head. It made me think how many birds are getting hooked and how many of them are capable of breaking free?”

The answer is that we see many, many birds that have been hooked or entangled, and next to none of them are capable of unhooking themselves. Many hooks are ingested.

Fishing line and fish hooks are the single most frequent problem we treat at Bird Rescue. Please help by picking up fishing debris wherever you see it!

 

May 11, 2017

For Mother’s Day: Adopt a Duckling!

Bird-Rescue

Everybody needs a Mom! These orphaned Ducklings are a reminder that Mother’s Day (May 14th) is just a around the corner. What better way to celebrate than with a bird adoption.

Adopt a bird in your Mom’s name and download a customizable PDF adoption certificate. With a $125 donation you can adopt a clutch of Ducklings. For as little as $25, you can symbolically adopt a single Duckling!

Each spring hundreds of ducklings stream into our California centers in search of a meal, a warm home and some TLC. In care this week we have 167 Dabbling Ducks and ducklings. You can help. Support their care and make Mom proud, too.

 

May 9, 2017

Patient of the Week: Black-crowned Night-Heron

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Oh, how this baby has grown! When this Black-crowned Night-Heron came to us after being rescued from a downtown Oakland rookery in mid-April it weighed just 45 grams (shown at right) and looked like it might not make it another day.

Black-crowned Night-Heron chick arrived at 45 grams and looked like it might not make it another day. It now weighs more than 500 grams (top). Photos by Cheryl Reynolds-International Bird Rescue

Thanks to a strong will to live, and the great care of our team at the San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center, this heron has thrived and now weighs more than 500 grams (see above).

More than 800 herons and egrets pass through our clinic doors each year, and the egrets have only just begun arriving! The average baby heron spends 40 days in care and runs up a $600 bill. Injured birds need more time and resources and will cost us more than $1,800. No public funds are provided to support these babies and we rely upon partners like YOU to help us pay their bills. They are a hungry bunch and your donation makes it possible to give them the best care.

Watch a video of a young Cattle Egret learning to feed.

Read more about how we team up with the Oakland Zoo and Golden Gate Audubon Society to save wild baby herons. You can also learn more about Black-crowned Night-Herons on the Audubon website.


 

Bird Rescue Is Hiring!

Ever dream of putting your fundraising or marketing skills to work for wildlife? Well, you’re in luck, Bird Rescue is hiring!

Come help become part of a development and communications team that will encourage others to support the important work we do everyday with seabirds and other aquatic birds.

Learn more

 

May 5, 2017

Celebrating Bird LA Day: Open House May 6th At Bird Rescue Los Angeles

Bird-Rescue

We’ve got a great day lined up at International Bird Rescue as part of the annual Bird LA Day on May 6, 2017. This is  a rare chance for visitors to tour our Los Angeles Center and see our team in action as they rehabilitate sick and injured seabirds!. We will be starting the day with a bird walk through Fort MacArthur Museum and then join the clinic staff for a chance to learn more about our local aquatic species.

For 46 years, International Bird Rescue has been dedicated to mitigating the effects of human impact on seabirds and other aquatic species world wide. Not only is Bird Rescue a leader in oil spill response, but we also operate two California wildlife hospitals year round!

This is a terrific day to spend with the family and appreciate the beauty of the birds around us!

Bird Rescue schedule
8 am- Bird Walk at Fort MacArthur Museum (located next to Bird Rescue)
9 am- Visitor center and gift shop open
10 am, 12pm, 2pm- Bird Rescue Hospital tour
11 am- Visitor Welcome- Executive Director, JD Bergeron
1 pm- Blue Banded Pelican talk- Dr. Rebecca Duerr

Bird Rescue is located in San Pedro. The address is 3601 South Gaffey Street, San Pedro, CA 90731. See Map and Directions

Please note that tour space IS limited, so please get here early to sign up. Our visitor center and gift shop will be open all day with fun activities for the kids and knowledgeable volunteers to talk about what we do at Bird Rescue.

Please bring snacks, water, a hat, and sunscreen to help you enjoy the day! For more information about Bird Rescue, please visit our website at www.bird-rescue.org

 

May 1, 2017

Patients of the Week: Hooded Mergansers

Bird-Rescue

Behold the four stooges! These adorable little troublemakers arrived at our San Francisco Bay wildlife center this week. They are diving ducks called Hooded Mergansers (affectionately known as “Hoodies”). As cavity nesters, the babies instinctually look upward and have already caused shenanigans at the center, having literally leaped up at the sheet covering their pen until they found a weak spot and escaped. We found them running around the floor of our baby unit after lunch this week!

These babies are also unusual in that they will not eat thawed fish, preferring food that is still moving. This means we have to buy minnows every few days from local pet stores to keep up with their appetites! Last time we raised ducklings like this, it cost us more than $3,200 just for fish! Please make a donation of $25 or more to support our Hooded Merganser food fund and we’ll send you a special link to a video of them exploring their enclosure and looking for an escape!! Please write “Hoodie” in the comments section so we know where to direct the funds.

Check them out on the BirdCam, too!

You can see what they will look like as adults, and learn lots more about this type of diving duck from our friends at Audubon: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/hooded-merganser.

Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

 

April 28, 2017

Update: Loon Crisis Along Southern California Coast

Bird-Rescue

The month of April has not been kind to seabirds in Southern California. Hundreds of aquatic birds – especially Loons – have been found emaciated and sick along Ventura County beaches.

You can help: Adopt a Loon

More than 80 affected birds have come into care at our Los Angeles Wildlife Center since April 1st. The bulk of the rescued seabirds have been Loons. So far 76 Loons (52 Pacific Loons and 24 Red-throated Loons), a handful of Common Murres and Scoters, and one Brown Pelican have come to us due to this event.

Some Good News: 15 healthy birds from the event were rehabilitated and released back to the wild: 13 Loons and 3 Murres. Watch the release video

The culprit is more than likely a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in the Pacific Ocean. The algae that make up these blooms can produce Domoic Acid, a toxin that causes neurological issues in mammals and birds that eat anchovies, sardines, and crustaceans that have eaten the toxic algae.

Volunteers with the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network have rescued the bulk of the affected birds. According to reports, around 300 birds have been picked up alive from local beaches, while hundreds more have been found dead. Many birds died shortly after recue but those that survived more than a short time were transferred to Bird Rescue’s center in San Pedro, CA. Some of the birds were injured while having seizures on the beach and will require several weeks in care to heal their wounds once recovered from their neurologic problems.

The good news is that we have already released 15 rehabilitated birds (12 Loons and 3 Murres) back to the wild in Morro Bay on April 26th. We released so far away on advice from CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife in order to get the birds away from the algae bloom areas. We hope to have another group of loons ready to release next week. Treating birds affected by domoic acid involves intensive medication regimens and fluid therapy to clear the bird of toxin and treat any abnormal neurologic symptoms.

Please donate now to help support our care of these amazing birds!

“Rescue agencies, research laboratories, and wildlife centers are still compiling data and performing necropsies, but there’s a likely culprit for many of the mortalities: domoic acid, a toxin produced by algae that bloom in the waters off the West Coast, called Pseudo-nitzschia. Dave Caron, a professor of Biological Sciences at USC, runs a laboratory that studies harmful algal blooms. His lab recently analyzed samples from 32 sick sea lions, all of which tested positive for domoic acid toxicity. He’s also had a positive test from a brown pelican brought to International Bird Rescue. Among sea lions, pregnant females are most likely to be affected, and many are prematurely giving birth in Southern California marine centers to pups too young to survive.”

– From a report by the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper

Bird Rescue continues to see more frequent indicators of climate change, warmer seas that include dangerous HABs and Domoic acid outbreaks.

Learn more about Domoic Acid