Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

July 17, 2016

Freshly Hatched Cormorants: ‘They’re Getting So Big!’

Bird-Rescue

DCCO-chicks-yawnCormorant eggs found by Caltrans last month are beginning to hatch, representing a rare example of how humankind can come together to save wildlife. Staff and volunteers at International Bird Rescue are buzzing about happily, sharing images of the new hatchlings. Here, you get to see one of those precious pictures.

Help-Cormie-HatchlingAt just three days old, they are growing fast! It takes the keen attention of dedicated staff to make sure they get the best chance at survival by feeding them on the hour while wearing a head-to-toe bird suit, as to protect them from being too comfy with humans.

Isabel Luevano, our Lead Rehab Technician in our San Francisco Bay Center states, “Just three days ago, they were so tiny only eating small bits of fish. Now these guys are ready for whole fish. They’re getting so big!”

Double-crested cormorants are a robust seagoing bird with some amazing abilities. They are great flyers, superb divers, and are one of the few species of aquatic birds whose feathers are not completely waterproof. They spend hours sunning themselves and waving their wings to dry off after a swim. In nature, you can see them easily on rocks along many shorelines.

Won’t you help these little guys today, by making a $15 dollar donation to help pay for the cost of food? We want to see these Cormies continue to grow healthy and strong and reach adulthood in the wild. How beautiful would it be to see one of them out on the rocks sunning themselves under the big open sky?!

Our clinics operate with the help of individual giving, so any amount you offer has a huge impact. We even have simple monthly giving programs, for as little as $4 per month that make you an official member. For questions related to membership or other ways to give, please contact Michele Johnson at michele.johnson@bird-rescue.org.

Caltrans and International Bird Rescue continue to work closely to monitor the old Bay Bridge site for cormorants and any nesting behavior. This public-private partnership and others like it are crucial for wildlife conservation. Thank you for your continued interest and support of International Bird Rescue’s mission to mitigate human impact on seabirds and other aquatic bird species.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Reynolds

July 15, 2016

Meet Talia: A Bird Rescue Intern Making A Difference

Jake Skoglund

Talia-Science-FairWe are pleased to honor Talia Baddour, above, a recent intern at International Bird Rescue (Bird Rescue) in San Pedro, CA, who was the recipient of the first place award in the Zoology category at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Science and Engineering Fair. She was also awarded the United States Air Force Award at a science fair held at the South Bay Botanical Gardens.

HCBF_Logo with webTalia came to Bird Rescue through the Harbor Community Academic Internship program. This program is funded by the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation which gives local students the chance to gain experience in wildlife conservation and biology. The program also gives Bird Rescue the opportunity to connect with local students in the community. Due to the nature of the work performed at Bird Rescue, community interaction is limited. The program allows Bird Rescue to expand this interaction by granting students with an interest in animals, wildlife conservation, or biology access to see how the field operates outside the academic world.

Talia was accepted into the Harbor Community Academic Internship program in the summer of 2015. During her time at Bird Rescue, she witnessed the human impact on the local sea bird population, watched people who have dedicated their careers to mitigating this impact, and observed the importance of a positive and welcoming work environment. In her words she said “actually seeing first-hand what birds go through and how they are affected by people has helped me understand the importance of protecting them.” The internship allowed her to experience the amount of work that goes into helping injured birds and eventually returning them to the wild. She further stated the people she interacted with at Bird Rescue were “the most social coworkers I have ever had,” and they played a major role in helping her complete the research project.

The program requires the intern to work on a research project focused on a subject related to the work done at Bird Rescue. With the help of the Bird Rescue staff the intern chooses a project in an area that is of most interest to them. Talia studied a phenomenon known as Broken Feather Patch (BFP), which affects aquatic bird species such as loons and Common Murres. A bird that is found to have a BFP typically cannot maintain its plumage in a waterproof state. The BFP structurally compromises the bird’s feather layers leaving their skin to be exposed to cold ocean water, leading to hypothermia. In her research, Talia found that Common Murres are more likely to have a BFP than any other species. She also found that most birds (59%) coming in with BFPs were from Malibu beaches. This led her to theorize that because Malibu has so many miles of beach property and a high number of people visiting these beaches that the stranded or beached bird was more likely to be recovered in these areas. Finally, she noted that although BFPs were more common in non-oiled birds, they were the primary reason for euthanasia in oiled ones.

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Talia with other interns who helped at Dawn dish soap event featuring Ian Somerhalder, right, as the guest celebrity.

Interns have the opportunity to participate in events held by Bird Rescue. Talia helped with an event sponsored by Dawn dish soap featuring Ian Somerhalder as the guest celebrity. This event was held to raise awareness of human impact on the environment and highlighted the partnership Dawn has with Bird Rescue. The event was held at the Bird Rescue San Pedro facility and allowed the staff and volunteers to take part in educating the public. Events such as these occur frequently at Bird Rescue in an effort to educate the public about the work that takes place in this unique environment. The interns are welcomed to help and participate in many aspects.

Another benefit of the internship program is the opportunity to participate during environmental crises, such as oil spills. Interns gain first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience by aiding the staff in these events. They work in a fast-paced work environment alongside the staff and learn how bird care is performed when high volumes of effected birds are rehabilitated simultaneously.

In March 2016, Talia entered her research study in the Palos Verdes Peninsula United School District (PVPUSD) Science and Engineering fair. This event is held by The Palos Verdes Peninsula Education Foundation (www.pvpef.org). This foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing key programs and staff to the local schools. Talia was awarded first place against 18 student entries in the category of Zoology. She also won the United States Air Force Award, in a field of 115 entrants at a science fair held at the South Bay Botanical Gardens. After winning these two awards, Talia decided to continue working with Bird Rescue by volunteering in the hospital and working with the birds directly.

This internship program has proven to be highly beneficial. Interns receive the unique opportunity to interact, research, and observe the amazing work performed at International Bird Rescue. Those that have graduated the program have walked away with invaluable skills that they can apply in their future career choices.

July 6, 2016

Window into the Pelican’s World: New Streaming PeliCam At Los Angeles Center

Russ Curtis

Photo of Brown Pelican from the new PeliCam at Bird Rescue's Los Angeles Center

We’re excited to announce we’ve added a new live streaming BirdCam to our Los Angeles Center!

Thanks to a grant from the Christen C. and Ben H. Garrett Family Foundation we recently installed a new high definition video system that really shows off our bird patients recuperating in the 100-foot flight aviary. Viewers will see Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Gulls and more. Another camera indoors will show off ducklings , goslings and other species.

This is the first live streaming set of cameras at our Los Angeles Center located near the coast in San Pedro. Bird Rescue’s first BirdCam feed began three years ago at our San Francisco Bay Center.

With two full-time wildlife centers in California, we treat more than 6,000 bird patients a year. All of our support comes from  individual donations, foundation grants and corporate donations.

With the addition of the new BirdCam in Southern California, we are moving to a new streaming platform via HDonTap. This new feed works on all devices including the iPhone and iPad without the need for a Flash player.

We’d like to thank HDonTap and especially Joe Pifer who designed and install the new system.

We also want to give a big shout out of thanks to Doug Lankenau and Dave Goleman, volunteers at the California Fish and Wildlife volunteer program. Additionally, they provided us with wiring assistance at the San Francisco Bay Center by designing and fabricating two special mobile camera mounts for our inside caging.

The Axis Q1765-LE, an HD camera, is used to capture live video feed from the pelican aviary in San Pedro, CA.

Equipment used

Back in 2013 with a very modest budget Bird Rescue purchased two Axis 1214-E cameras. These are very small security keyhole cameras got us off the ground but they were really not built to withstand the punishing outdoor weather and indoor moisture issues at our centers.

This year we moved to high definition (HD) cameras. We again chose Axis cameras, but opted for more sturdy, weather resistant models. The outdoor pool cameras are Axis Q765-LE models with optical zooms. They are sharp durable models with heavy weatherproofing, IR and audio capable. The indoor duckling and ICU boxes are running on Axis 3364-LVE models for a wide view. They too have IR and audio abilities.

The system is managed by Russ Curtis, Bird Rescue’s Technology Manager.

http://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-p1214-e

http://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-q1765-le

http://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-p3364-lve

June 29, 2016

Preserving Wildlife in Images: A Community Event with Joel Sartore

Bird-Rescue

Celebrate 45 years of wildlife preservation

Joel-Sartore-Penguin

Featured speaker: Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer.

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

Where: International Bird Rescue – Los Angeles Wildlife Center

3601 South Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731 :: Directions

• Guest Speaker: Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer and author
• Explore the behind-the-scenes world of Bird Rescue
• Follow an oiled bird’s journey from rescue to release
• Participate in a family-friendly interactive experience
• Learn how to contribute to wild-bird conservation
• Meet Bird Rescue’s wildlife response team
• Eat lunch at an onsite local food truck
• Enjoy an immersive and interactive art experience

Be sure to R.S.V.P on Eventbrite

Explore the behind-the-scenes world of Bird Rescue.

Explore the behind-the-scenes world of Bird Rescue.

Thank you for your continued interest in International Bird Rescue. We cannot do this work without you! Come join me and the Bird Rescue community for this special behind-the-scenes look at our LA Center and learn more about the ways we work together to mitigate human impact on aquatic aviary wildlife.

Also enjoy the stunning images and message from our special guest Joel Sartore, who photographed oiled wildlife during the Deepwater Horizon spill for National Geographic. This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the last 45 years and look ahead to our future in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation.

I hope to see you there!

JD Bergeron

Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

P.S. –Thanks to DAWN and the Los Angeles Port for their generous support!

POLA-Public-Invite-45th

June 3, 2016

The Release Files: Fare thee well, Great Blue!

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An adult Great Blue Heron came to us from Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz after being found April 14 hanging from its right wing by fishing line. On arrival the bird had substantial skin damage and edema midway out the wingtip, and the bones felt possibly fractured under the swelling. We splinted and wrapped the wing for support to make the bird more comfortable, and scheduled x-rays for a few days later when the bird was more stable.

The x-ray showed the wingtip had not been fractured – but rather had ligament and bone damage at one of the two wingtip joints. Over the next week the edema resolved but the skin crossing the wing tip joint necrosed (died), leaving defects in skin coverage and an infected joint. Also the bird’s primary flight feathers were damaged and severely crimped which put them at high risk of breaking. With all the bird’s issues it was not looking good for this bird ever flying again.

In treatment we used a feather repair method where the feathers are soaked in extremely hot water to soften them. Then our staff veterinarian ‘ironed’ the feathers to reshape the crimped zones and thus restore the feather’s normal shape.

The skin and joint injuries were more complicated. Our vet treated the heron by surgically removing dead tissue and closing the main defect with adjacent skin. Another area of skin necrosis that exposed the infected joint itself was debrided, flushed, infused with an injectable antibiotic, and managed as an open wound.

The wingtip injuries finally and completely healed as of earlier this week, and we were at last confident the bird was out of the woods. So, with great pleasure, we released this gorgeous Great Blue Heron this week and watched it gracefully fly into the marsh!

 Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

 

May 10, 2016

Patients of the Week: Mallard Ducklings

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It’s a scene all too common: A mother Duck is struck by a vehicle on a busy highway while moving her brood of ducklings.

Last week this drama played out again in Santa Rosa, CA. Luckily for the surviving mallard ducklings, a quick thinking California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer sprung into action. The CHP contacted our friends at The Bird Rescue Center of Sonoma County and they coordinated a tricky rescue in the fast lane of Highway 101.

Unfortunately, they were unable to save the mother who, in her last protective act, kept all her ducklings together in a very stressful and scary situation. The ducklings transferred to our San Francisco Bay wildlife center where they are enjoying their own pool and enclosure.

From the size of these ducklings, it is clear that these ducklings had a courageous mother because they are rather mature to still be in such a large clutch. She kept them together longer than a typical Mallard hen would.

Please consider making a gift to celebrate courageous mothers everywhere!

Your donation helps Bird Rescue to continue its important work in mitigating the human impact on injured, oiled, sick, and orphaned water birds. Every bird matters.

Read more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5581218-181/chp-rescues-ducklings-on-highway

May 2, 2016

Meet Bart Selby, Ace Pelican Spotter!

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Brown Pelican with its blue band A56 was reported at the Monterey Wharf. Photo by Bart Selby

Our Blue-banded Pelican Program has become important to a lot of pelican enthusiasts who like the idea of connecting with California Brown Pelicans as individuals with personal histories. But to Bart Selby, connecting in this way seems like a calling of the highest order. This self-described Brown Pelican fan has become one of the super-reporters of banded pelicans in our (so far) seven-year old program.

On May 7th, you too can become a pelican spotter as part of the California Audubon Society’s Brown Pelican Count, and we hope you will keep an eye out for blue-banded pelicans as well! Learn how to get involved here:
http://ca.audubon.org/brownpelicansurvey

Our ace spotter Bart hails from San Carlos, CA, and is passionate about pelicans. Using his kayak and a keen eye, he has reported more than 175 sightings of 95 different individual blue-banded pelicans–and that’s not counting his sightings of green-banded birds released after the Refugio oil spill or white-banded birds rehabilitated at Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria, OR. Most of his sightings have been photodocumented with beautiful images of our former patients resting, preening, and generally behaving like normal wild pelicans.

We talked to Bart about his passion and some of the spotting strategies he uses in the field.

Q. How did you hear about and begin spotting blue-banded pelicans?

A. I’m a huge Brown Pelican fan. I’ve been photographing them for years. I’m a volunteer Team Ocean kayak-based naturalist on Monterey’s Elkhorn Slough summer weekends, and I’m on the Citizen’s Advisory Board of NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. I spotted my first blue-banded pelican (“A56”) in Monterey in 2011, and my second (“P62”) at Pillar Point in 2014.

During the summer of 2015, I began training for a solo kayak crossing to the Farallons, paddling three times a week before work, often in harbors. At Half Moon Bay’s Pillar Point, I happened to photograph Brown Pelican C84, and was hooked on banded birds when I read his amazing history (see below). Over the summer, I refined my spotting technique and racked up a few identifications.

C84’s story:

Oft spotted C84: Blue-banded Pelican. Photo by Bart Selby

The winter of 2010 saw a mass stranding event of adult pelicans. At the time, Southern California’s breakwaters and jetties (as well as highways and backyards!) were covered with dead and dying, starving, cold, and contaminated mature adult pelicans. This mass mortality event was occurring only a few months after the species was removed from the Endangered Species List in November 2009.

This bird was admitted on January 9, 2010, after landing in the yard at our LA wildlife center, and was listed in our database with the very rare distinction of being “self-admitted.” This very smart bird was thin and weak, and had contaminated plumage. We treated and released him, clean and well fed, on January 29, 2010.

Resightings:
11/12/2012 in Moss Landing, CA
7/30/2015, 8/1/2015, 8/16/2015, 8/24/2015, 9/13/2015, 9/15/2015, and 9/17/2015 at Pillar Point Harbor, CA

Q. What things have you learned in your quest? Tips, suggestions?

A. The first rule of respectful interaction with animals is to not disturb any wildlife. Disturbance is defined as any change in behavior. In an ID shot, it is ideal if the bird is grooming, stretching, sleeping, or even looking at the camera. If it is taking off or hopping away, it was most likely disturbed. That’s bad karma.

I tell visitors to only go out with or get instruction from someone who knows how to approach wildlife without disturbing it. For one thing, it’s a numbers game. You have to see a lot of birds to find tagged ones, and you will not see a lot if you disturb any, as they all talk to each other. And roosting birds need recovery time to groom and rest.

The best way to get close to water or shore birds is to go on a boat tour with responsible guides in an area where the wildlife is acclimated. I tell people who ask that the best place to photograph sea otters is walking around the pier at Monterey’s marina. If you paddle in Drake’s Estero in Point Reyes, harbor seals spook at 500 yards. At Cannery Row in June, the adolescents often jump on boats. Pelicans in harbors are generally not afraid of humans, if the humans are behaving as the birds expect.

Notice the defect in the middle right side of T80's upper bill--IBR staff were not sure if this would be a problem for a plunge-diving bird. Thanks to this photo we were relieved to see the bill looking great several years later!

Notice the defect in the middle right side of T80′s upper bill–IBR staff were not sure if this would be a problem for a plunge-diving bird. Thanks to this photo we were relieved to see the bill looking great several years later!

Pelicans typically roost at night, so if prey is in the area, dawn will find them at their local safe spots.

Q. What surprises you about the pelicans you see?

A. Pelicans are complex, tolerant, and interesting birds. The more I see of them, the more impressed I am. The Blue-banded Pelican Program opens amazing windows to learning ever more about the birds by allowing us to see them as individuals, and by demonstrating that Bird Rescue’s great intervention works. I’m seeing the same birds over months. I see individual birds’ plumage change with the seasons and figure out who hangs with whom, where and when.

When I get a bird’s history, it’s often possible to spot the recovery from an injury in the image, like the foot injury of C74 or the healing beak of T80. It’s very cool to find out I’m the first to see a bird that was released five years earlier. And it’s amazing to see the green-banded (“Z”) birds recovering from the Refugio oil spill getting new plumage. I’ve seen 12 of them in total and one of them, Z15, I’ve seen six times.

Reviewing the images with their history has made me a better observer. On my last paddle at Elkhorn, I saw five banded birds, three blue (E08, P09, V89) and two green (Z23, Z36), as well as two injured birds–one badly cut, most likely by a sea lion bite, one with heavily contaminated plumage. And I saw one pelican paddle into the harbor from the bay, for some reason he/she could not fly.

Q. Any gear that you use that helps you better spot banded pelicans?

A. I see most banded birds from a kayak. I have pretty good vision, and I’ve learned to find the tag by looking for color or the brightness of an aluminum band with unaided eyes; then I quickly shoot images with a camera. I try to never stop or point the boat toward the bird. Often I will not see the number until I check the image later. Binoculars are useful in larger boats but not in kayaks, which generally move too much to do efficient scanning. I use (waterproof) Nikon Monarch binoculars and a full-frame Nikon with a fast 400mm zoom. My most useful tools are knowing where to look and how to approach wildlife without disturbance.

Q. Where do you normally look for blue-banded pelicans?

A. Brown Pelicans have huge wingspans and need a lot of time, space, and ground speed to get airborne. They must take off and land facing into the wind. I think they have difficulty getting to flight speed on land unless the winds are within a narrow range, so they stick to a cliff top or someplace on the water; this greatly limits where you will find them roosting, resting, or preening. For pelicans to be present, there must be prey in the area. When pelicans are around, you will find them in the same spots, always on the water and hard for land-based predators to get to. Breakwaters are their ideal roosting spots, jetties a close second. The last two years have been outstanding for sea life in Northern California, with huge numbers of pelicans around, from Monterey to the Gate. I saw more than 20,000 in the Pillar Point harbor on a few days in August and photographed 14 tagged birds.

Brown Pelican C74 was spotted last summer at Pillar Point Harbor. Photo by Bart Selby

Great view of an old injury years later–notice C74 is missing half of his right foot’s outer toe. It was amputated due to a fishing hook injury. Photo by Bart Selby

If pelicans are not feeding, they are travelling to the fish. In California, if they are headed north, you can also see them along Highway 1 or on trails that have high bluffs right along the water. To fly north into our prevailing winds, pelicans “bluff surf.” As the winds strike the coastal cliffs, they are deflected up; birds–mostly gulls and pelicans–will surf that uplift. In it they can fly directly into the wind travelling at 30mph without beating their wings. They position themselves at the top of the cliff, often less than 20 feet away from the edge, then soar up and slide down and forward, repeating the process over and over. If you pull off Highway 1 along those bluffs–anywhere from LA to Oregon–Brown Pelicans will fly right by you. Anyone riding in a car may see pelicans up close, often from the car window.

The Blue-banded Pelican Program began in 2009 as a brainchild of Jay Holcomb, the Director of International Bird Rescue until his passing in 2014. Jay envisioned a program that asked the public, or “citizen scientists,” to track and report these majestic seabirds. Jay’s vision shaped the program, and we are continuing his legacy. The program is now being shepherded by our Veterinarian and Research Director Dr. Rebecca Duerr and our Operations Manager and Master Bander Julie Skoglund. Since September 2009, Bird Rescue has treated and released more than 1,222 blue-banded California Brown Pelicans. Read more about our banding programs

pelicans-2-fly-thumbBecome a Pelican Partner: It’s an unforgettable experience and a unique way to support wild birds in need. In our Pelican Partner program, you and your family will have the chance to tour either our Los Angeles or San Francisco Bay centers, where you’ll meet your seabird as it gets ready for its release.

April 21, 2016

Double your impact on the birds!

JD Bergeron

Dear Fellow Bird and Nature Lovers,

Surf-Scoter-drake-happy-donate-crop

As we celebrate our 45th year of saving birds at International Bird Rescue, we are asking you to help us take advantage of a wonderful offer we’ve received from a generous donor.

This person, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged to double the first $10,000 worth of donations made to International Bird Rescue to celebrate our 45th anniversary! What this means is that donations made now will go even further in helping us save sick, injured, and orphaned aquatic birds just like the over 6,000 birds we helped last year.

As you probably already know, the funds we receive from you and other bird and nature lovers support our day-to-day bird rescue operations, which involve caring for many different patients such as a male Surf Scoter that was found on a beach in Monterey and brought to our San Francisco Bay facility. When this patient was closely examined by our dedicated clinic staff, they discovered and removed a 3-inch piece of metal from his left shoulder. See Facebook post

The State of California provides partial support to our two state-of-the-art California wildlife clinics to enable them to respond quickly to oil spills. But this funding represents only a small portion of what it costs to operate our facilities 365 days a year, rescuing, caring for, and rehabilitating thousands and thousands of birds annually.

If you believe in the work we do and share our belief that we humans must make efforts to mitigate our impacts on birds and the natural world, please make a donation today.

Remember, your contribution will be doubled. And no amount is too small it truly does take a village of compassionate, caring individuals to make a difference. Prefer to donate via PayPal? Click here

With appreciation,

 

JD-signature

 

 

 

JD Bergeron – Executive Director
jd@bird-rescue.org
T: 707.207.0380 x102

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April 5, 2016

Our 45th Anniversary Ambassador Bird…the Surf Scoter!

Bird-Rescue

SUSC-2016

In honor of our 45th anniversary, we have chosen the Surf Scoter as our ambassador bird. International Bird Rescue has a long history working with these iconic ducks. Surf Scoters were a seabird species deeply affected by the 1971 oil spill at the Golden Gate Bridge which led directly to the formation of Bird Rescue in April of that same year.

In 2007, Surf Scoters were also a key species during the Cosco Busan spill. We saw them again in great numbers during the 2015 Mystery Goo event in San Francisco Bay.

These striking birds are easily seen from shores and boats even without binoculars, making them a great learning target for new birders and children. In addition, they are very good patients during rehabilitation and heal relatively quickly.

Learn more about Surf Scoters at AllAboutBirds.org.

Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

 

March 30, 2016

Release Files: A Tale of Two Pelicans

Bird-Rescue
Brown Pelicans N32 and N33 about to take off after being released at White's Point.

Brown Pelicans N32 and N33 about to take off after being released at White’s Point by Dr. Rebecca Duerr.

The tale of two recent pelican patients gives you a peek in to International Bird Rescue’s rehabilitation program:

A female Brown Pelican N33 was rescued in San Pedro, CA with a large neck abscess, likely caused by a fish hook. The infection wrapped around the back of her neck, digging deep into her neck muscles. Our veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr, anesthetized her to remove all the necrotic (dead) material from the abscess, and the wound required several weeks of intensive wound management by our LA center staff.

See the before and after images (below) – warning: the ‘before’ picture is a bit graphic! But these are the sort of wounds we successfully treat every day. We are very happy to report that the wound healed beautifully, and she was ready to be released with her aviary buddy N32.

The next Brown Pelican N32 entered care June 14, 2015 after being found on the streets of Long Beach by LB Animal Control. After a full examination, we determined she was suffering from a facial neuropathy. She had little to no control over her lower eyelids, pouch or mandible muscles, showing a floppy pouch, droopy eyelids, and the inability to fully close her mouth. We knew we couldn’t release a Brown Pelican who was unable to control her mouth – to catch dinner, they have to hit the water mouth first at high speed!

The cause of the pelican’s problem remains unknown but we suspect a toxin of some kind, such as from some species of marine algae. Improvement was very slow but steady, and it took lots of time and patience until she regained the ability to control those areas of her body. After nine months in care we determined she had fully recovered and was ready to go!

Both birds were released March 14, 2016 at White’s Point in San Pedro and flew off strongly. They circled around their caregivers a few times before landing one on the reef and one on the water offshore.

Please support Bird Rescue’s rehabilitation programs. With your generous gift we can continue to treat each pelican with the medical, surgical, and nursing care it needs to have a second chance at a vibrant life in the wild. We love Pelicans!

Brown Pelican N33's nasty neck wound early in treatment.

Brown Pelican N33′s nasty neck wound early in treatment.

Brown Pelican N33's healed neck wound just before she was released.

Brown Pelican N33′s healed neck wound just before she was released.

March 22, 2016

Patient of the Week: Great Blue Heron

Bird-Rescue

GRBE-Avairy-wing-wrap-2016-redWe get a lot of birds with broken wing bones into our wildlife centers each year. This latest patient is a Great Blue Heron that was found in Milpitas, CA with a fracture of radius and ulna (see x-ray). Great Blue Herons are among our most challenging patients because of their size and intense skittishness. In fact, we have to keep them in quiet isolation as best we can because they can become spooked easily and harm themselves by bumping against the sides of their enclosure.

This week our dedicated staff and veterinarian at our San Francisco Bay center may “pin” the fracture soon to aid in the healing of this majestic heron. Right now, the bird is doing well with its purple wing wrap and it has a healthy appetite.

The Great Blue Heron is the largest North American heron with a wingspan of 66-79 in (167-201 cm) and a height of 45-54 (115–138 cm).

Great Blues, like many herons, were hunted to near extinction in the last century for their gorgeous blue-gray plumes. Today, they are a species of Least Concern but of special concern to us as rehabbers. Thanks for all of your support which allows us to be of service to these gentle giants. More info

Please follow us on Facebook for even more great bird stories and photos.

How will you help a bird today?

Photo by Jennifer Linander

March 17, 2016

Patient of the Week: Brown Pelican with severe pouch laceration

Bird-Rescue
Photo of Brown Pelican with torn pouch in care at International Bird Rescue

This Brown Pelican was rescued in San Pedro with a large piece missing from its front pouch. Photo: Doug Carter

Surgery of torn Pelican pouch

Delicate surgery was required to repair torn pouch. Photo: Bill Steinkamp

It may be gull month but we, of course, have had a ton of other animals needing help come our way!

Brown Pelican “Red-111″ (temporary band #) came to our Los Angeles wildlife center with an unusual and severe pouch laceration – not as large as Pink the Pelican’s tear but much more difficult to repair. A large piece of the front of the pouch was ripped off the bird’s jaw, leaving a great big hole and the pouch piece hanging like what some people mistook for a fish.

“Pelicans are good at healing mild damage to their pouches, but if they can’t eat they can’t heal,” said Dr. Rebecca Duerr, staff veterinarian,

Unfortunately, the ripped piece was dying, so Dr. Duerr had to remove it, then take a big tuck and sew the opposite side across the gap. It took about 150 stitches to sew the pouch. She is hoping the bird’s pouch will stretch with time now that it has mostly healed and he’s outside in the aviary.

In the meanwhile, he can enjoy the menu and fly around the large flight aviary.

Photo of pelican pouch surgery at International Bird Rescue

Pelican under anesthesia just before surgery to repair torn pouch. Photo: Bill Steinkamp

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After surgery pelican takes flight in the 100-foot aviary at our Los Angeles center in San Pedro. Photo: Doug Carter

 

February 26, 2016

Patient of the Week: Canada Gosling

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Our first baby bird of the season — a Canada gosling — is also our patient of the week!

Found earlier this month on the grounds of the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, CA, the gosling was then delivered to our friends at Lindsay Wildlife and, 10 days later, transferred to our San Francisco Bay center.

The gosling is growing quickly: it weighed 98g at rescue, and its weight is now 354g and climbing!

This week we received two more orphaned goslings and all the birds are sharing quarters in a duckling box at our center.

A Canada Goose typically lays a clutch of five to seven white eggs, although clutches can range from as few as two to as many as 12. Newly hatched goslings look a lot like ducklings with their yellowish gray feathers and dark bill. By nine to ten weeks, however, they have turned gray and grown their flight feathers.

We treat hundreds of goslings and ducklings each year at both our California centers. This year is starting off with a beauty!

 

February 22, 2016

New Oiled Birds Tied To Old Sunken Ship Still Leaking Off San Francisco

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Oiled Red-necked Grebe

Oiled Red-necked Grebe in care. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

Oiled seabirds recently cared for by International Bird Rescue have been conclusively traced back to a leaking cargo ship that sunk off the coast of California more than 60 years ago.

Since December of 2015, Bird Rescue’s wildlife center in Fairfield has cared for nine oiled birds including a Pacific Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Western Grebe, and six Common Murres. All the birds were rescued along beaches in San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

“International Bird Rescue exists to help mitigate human impacts on birds, and the Luckenbach unfortunately is a huge human mistake that continues to taint these beautiful seabirds,” said JD Bergeron, Executive Director. “We will continue to use our 45 years of experience to wash and rehabilitate contaminated wildlife, to train others to do so, to innovate with care options. Ultimately, this whole effort is to get more of these birds back to the wild.”

To date, three birds have been released, two are still in care, and the four remaining have died. A Red-necked Grebe was one of those released. Here is description of the steps to recovery: http://blog.bird-rescue.org/index.php/2016/02/patient-of-the-week-red-necked-grebe/.

Feather samples from the oiled birds sent to a California state lab confirmed that the oil came from the S.S. Jacob Luckenbach that sank in 180 feet of water on July 14, 1953 about 17 miles west-southwest of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This cargo vessel was loaded with 457,000 gallons of bunker fuel. It has been leaking sporadically over the years – especially during winter months when strong currents bring oil to the ocean’s surface.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) announced these findings late last week.

Luckenbach sank 17 miles off San Francisco coast in 1953 and has been leaking oil ever since.

Luckenbach sank 17 miles off San Francisco coast in 1953 and has been leaking oil ever since.

In early 2002, oil associated with several “mystery spills” was first linked to the Luckenbach. These included the Point Reyes Tarball Incidents of winter 1997-1998 and the San Mateo Mystery Spill of 2001-2002.

Over the years, Bird Rescue estimates it has treated thousands of “mystery spill” birds.

“Bird Rescue has shouldered much of the cost of caring for these oiled birds, going back many years.” said Bergeron. “The oceans are becoming less and less hospitable for birds and other marine wildlife, even without these toxins. We step up to help because we believe every bird matters, and we’re grateful for the incredible community support we get.”

By September 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard and the trustees removed more than 100,000 gallons of the fuel oil from the vessel and sealed the remaining oil inside the vessel – including some 29,000 gallons that was inaccessible to be pumped out of the ship’s tanks.

What to do if you observe oiled wildlife

Anyone observing oiled wildlife should not approach or touch the animals. Please report the exact location and condition of the animal to Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (877) 823-6926.

How oil affects birds

When oil sticks to a bird’s feathers, it causes them to mat and separate, impairing waterproofing and exposing the animal’s sensitive skin to extremes in temperature. This can result in hypothermia, meaning the bird becomes cold, or hyperthermia, which results in overheating. Instinctively, the bird tries to get the oil off its feathers by preening, which results in the animal ingesting the oil and causing severe damage to its internal organs. In this emergency situation, the focus on preening overrides all other natural behaviors, including evading predators and feeding, making the bird vulnerable to secondary health problems such as severe weight loss, anemia and dehydration.

Resources

http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/maritime/expeditions/luckenbach.html

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/OSPR/NRDA/Jacob-Luckenbach

Red-necked Grebe preens its feathers after being washed of oil. Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Red-necked Grebe preens its feathers after being washed of oil. Photo Cheryl Reynolds

February 16, 2016

Patient of the Week: Red-necked Grebe

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An oiled Red-necked Grebe is our patient of the week. This grebe whose temporary tag was “Red-33″ came into the center with oil contamination on December 18, 2015. He was stabilized, washed, then treated for foot injuries likely caused by beaching when the oil removed his waterproofing.

After nearly 2 months in care, he was returned to the wild on February 10, 2016.

Here’s the steps to recovery:

Intake

Photo of oiled Red-necked Grebe at International Bird Rescue

When this bird arrived, you could barely recognize what species he was due to the heavy contamination with oil. Every oiled bird receives a thorough examination upon intake in order to assess related injuries such as skin burns, foot and toe damage, and emaciation.

Photo of oiled Red-necked Grebe feathers at International Bird Rescue

While examining an oiled bird, Bird Rescue staff assess the extent of contamination and collect oiled feather samples for use by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Oil Spill Response and Prevention office.

Photo of oiled Red-necked Grebe toes at International Bird Rescue

Grebe feet are among the most beautiful of bird feet, with their lobed toes. They are unfortunately also among the most delicate. An oiled bird will often be forced to beach itself because its feathers no longer retain waterproofing or heat. Within a very short time, these delicate toes can become damaged by sand and rough surfaces. This damage can be nearly impossible to undo if the bird does not come into care quickly enough.

 After stabilization and wash

Photo of Red-necked Grebe in a pool at International Bird Rescue

After stabilization, the bird goes through the wash process. This photo was taken right after the wash process. The grebe is preening and bathing to get its feathers back in order, a very good sign!

 Preening is cleaning

Photo of preening Red-necked Grebe in a pool at International Bird Rescue

Preening activities immediately after the wash ensure that the bird is doing its part to maintain waterproofing.

Ready for release

Photo of Red-necked Grebe in a pool at International Bird Rescue

Success is a fully waterproof grebe with healthy feet and a little extra weight on it to ease the transition back into the wild and the renewed search for its own food! Thanks to everyone who helped this bird with direct care or a donation!!

Photos by Cheryl Reynolds