Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

July 28, 2015

The Weekly Bittern #2: COME and go HOME

JD Bergeron, Executive Director

Dear Friends of International Bird Rescue–

Did you see Jurassic World yet? In the film, there are four Velociraptors that are shown as fast and savage hunters. Allow me to introduce International Bird Rescue’s very Common Merganser chicks in care at SF Bay Center 7/16/15own “Velociraptors”–a set of four baby Common Mergansers that clearly demonstrated in their feeding habits how they are descended from the dinosaurs! Over the past couple of weeks, I liked watching them during feedings as they swam along the surface with their heads submerged to find the minnows below, then darted underwater to torpedo at one or a few.

According to our friends at AllAboutBirds.org by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Common Mergansers are streamlined ducks that float gracefully down small rivers or shallow shorelines. The males are striking with clean white bodies, dark green heads, and a slender, serrated red bill. The elegant gray-bodied females have rich, cinnamon heads with a short crest. In summer, look for them leading ducklings from eddy to eddy along streams or standing on a flat rock in the middle of the current. These large ducks nest in hollow trees; in winter they form flocks on larger bodies of water.

These orphans arrived from San Jose and Sonoma in May and spent the last 2-1/2 months in the capable care of our SF Bay Wildlife Center in Fairfield. I am happy to announce that all four were released at the American River in Sacramento last Friday. We were happy to be able to stablize these orphans and raise them to strong sub-adults that were able to be successfully released to their new home.

Common Mergansers are abbreviated as “COME” using the first two letters of each word, hence the title of this post. You can support Mergansers and other interesting diving ducks with a donation at www.bird-rescue.org/donate.

We love to hear from you, so please get in touch with your questions about Common Mergansers. We’ll post our replies on our Facebook page.

Be well,

JD-Bergeron_signature-web

 

 

 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director

Video credit: Jen Linander
Photo credit: Cheryl Reynolds

July 25, 2015

Patient of the Week: Goose With Severe Fishing Line Injury

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Canada Goose before having neck strangling fishing line removed.

Anesthetized Canada Goose prior to removal of strangulating fishing line.

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After removal of fishing line from Goose’s neck. Photos by Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue

On Wednesday this week our Los Angeles clinic admitted a patient with a severe fishing line injury.

This Canada Goose was rescued by the staff at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. When it arrived at our Los Angeles wildlife center we found thick wads of monofilament line constricting both legs, with yet more line around its neck. Fortunately, the leg injuries appeared mild, compared to other cases like this we have treated, but the neck wounds were very bad and warranted immediate surgery.

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This wound shows the seriousness that birds face with discarded fishing line.

Our staff immediately anesthetized the bird to remove the line from the neck. Under the line, our staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, found deep lacerations encircling the whole neck. The damage was limited to the skin. Thankfully, the esophagus and trachea appeared undamaged. She removed some areas of dead skin and sutured the skin back together.

Donate-button-Make-GiftThe bird had obviously been trying to eat since its esophagus was packed with a hard dry ball of green grass that it couldn’t swallow.

We have hopes this goose will make a full recovery. Meanwhile our staff will provide supportive care and pain relief until the neck swelling resolves and the bird fully gets the hang of swallowing again.

Many thanks to El Dorado staff for their prompt rescue of this bird!

Please help wildlife by discarding fishing line in appropriate containers, and picking up any stray line you see that others have left. Animals like this goose thank you

If you would like to support the care of this wild bird, you can donate online now

 

July 16, 2015

The Weekly Bittern

JD Bergeron, Executive Director

Dear supporters of International Bird Rescue,

Pelican Release in San Pedro, CA.

Pelican Release in San Pedro, CA.

Tuesday marked the end of my first week as Executive Director, and what a week it has been!

For my first few days, I had the privilege of being among the incredibly capable team at our southern facility, the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care Center. Led by Operations Manager Julie Skoglund and Center Manager Kelly Berry, the team worked tirelessly to welcome Ian Somerhalder and our partners from Dawn dish detergent as we joined forces to celebrate our many superb volunteers, without whom none of this work with injured and orphaned birds would be possible. Thank you, IBR Volunteers and Interns, for your dedication! Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance. I’d like to meet each of you.

Two orphaned Pied-Billed Grebes are fed every half-hour and cuddle with a feather duster

Two orphaned Pied-Billed Grebes are fed every half-hour and cuddle with a feather duster.

The culmination of the event was the release of three Brown Pelicans and a Western Gull that had finished their rehabilitation and were ready for their return to the wild. I can say firsthand that this is a deeply moving experience, especially as I was given the honor of opening one of the cages. I released the Brown Pelican at the far right of the photo, who I have nicknamed N-20 for the blue band which will be used to track her progress in the future. We invite you to participate by using our citizen scientist reporting tool to document sightings of any blue banded pelican. This information is vital to our ongoing research. I’ll personally be watching closely for news of N-20, N-18, and X-01!

Over the weekend, I was able to meet the equally amazing team of our northern facility, International Bird Rescue – San Francisco Bay. Led by Center Manager Michelle Bellizzi, the northern center is currently working on a massive number of orphaned baby birds, including Green Heron, Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night Heron, Pied-Billed Grebes, Western Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Common Mergansers, and Mallards.

At both facilities, I have also had the privilege of watching our very talented Veterinarian and Research Director, Rebecca Duerr DVM MPVM PhD, as she administered pelicans, gulls, egrets, and more.

On Wednesday morning at Fort Baker, we also released a Double-Crested Cormorant and another Brown Pelican, the latter of which had been in our care for a full year after devastating damage to her wing and feathers. I’ll share more info on this bird, blue band X-01, next week.

Barbara Callahan, Director of Response Services and Interim Director for the last year, and JD Bergeron, incoming Executive Director.

Barbara Callahan, Director of Response Services and Interim Director for the last year, and JD Bergeron, incoming Executive Director.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not send out special thanks to IBR’s Response Services Director, Barbara Callahan, who has served as Interim Director for the past year. Barbara has led the team through a challenging year and has been gracious and generous with her time and knowledge. She is now taking  much-needed rest. Thank you, Barbara!

There are many ways to support IBR:

adopt a bird

become a recurring donor

join as a Pelican Partner

volunteer

Please also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flicker, and YouTube

I love to hear from you so please get in touch!

Be well,

JD-Bergeron_signature-web

 

 

 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director

 

July 7, 2015

Patient of the Week: Mallard With Scalp Laceration And Other Injuries

Rebecca Duerr
Mallard right after waking up from scalp surgery.

Female Mallard when she arrived at WildCare with a scalp laceration exposing her skull. Photo by Nat Smith

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Mallard right after waking up from scalp surgery.

This female Mallard was transferred to us from our colleagues at WildCare in San Rafael, CA. When she arrived, she had several serious problems: a scalping injury at the base of the upper bill (consistent with being struck by a vehicle), a swollen leg with an infected tendon from a small puncture wound, and a broken wing (ulna).

Her scalp healed flawlessly and you can already see tiny feathers starting to regrow! Her foot infection was successfully treated and we are just waiting for final recovery from the wing fracture before being able to release this resilient bird.

As reported by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California’s Mallard population has declined 27% since 2014, following other declines in recent years.

Read more: How waterfowl species in California are faring during the drought.

– Rebecca Duerr, Staff Veterinarian, International Bird Rescue

Photo: Mallard Duck with her skin totally healed and feathers coming in.

Now with her skin totally healed and feathers coming back in. Photos by Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue

June 29, 2015

The Release Files: Black Rail

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A Black Rail is back again where it belongs – hiding in nature.

Staff from our San Francisco Bay Center released the hatchling year Black Rail after came to us via WildCare after being rescued in Novato. It arrived on May 25, 2015 weighing 11 grams. It found with a small wound on its left elbow.

It more than doubled its weight to 24 grams before being released on June 26th at Black Point in Novato, CA.

Black Rails are super secretive as it walks or runs through shallow salt and freshwater marshes. It is rarely seen in flight. It’s the smallest of all Rails.

Watch the short release video  > >

June 27, 2015

The Release Files: Clean Western Grebe from Refugio Oil Spill

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The Western Grebe was released by Kelly Berry of IBR at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, CA. Photos by Jo Joseph

The Western Grebe was released by Kelly Berry of IBR at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, CA. Photos by Jo Joseph

On Friday our team in Southern California released a rehabilitated Western Grebe from the Refugio Oil Spill. This is the first non-Pelican affected by the spill to be released.

The heavily oiled Grebe was collected on May 22, 2015 from the drainage ditch east of of Venadito Creek in Santa Barbara County.

After being washed and recovering from various secondary injuries at our Los Angeles Center, it was released late this week at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

More than 50 oiled seabirds – mainly Brown Pelicans – have come to the center rescued in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The birds were oiled at May 19th Refugio oil pipeline break that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude.

6-24-Refugio_Data_By_Species_For_WebsiteAs a member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) the center near the Los Angeles Harbor has been ground zero for this oiled seabird response. International Bird Rescue staff and volunteers, along with other OWCN members, have worked tirelessly to help care for the effected birds.

A total of 252 seabirds have been collected. 57 live oiled birds and 195 birds were found dead. Complete list: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

June 13, 2015

First Brown Pelicans Released At Goleta Beach Following Refugio Oil Spill

Barbara Callahan

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Dear Bird Rescue Supporter,

There’s nothing quite like a bird release to stir your soul.

Photo of released Brown Pelicans Goleta, CA

Brown Pelicans released at Goleta Beach head back to the wild. Photo by Valerie Kushnerov, City of Goleta

On Friday we happily helped release the first 10 clean, rehabilitated Pelicans back to the wild at Goleta Beach. All of these majestic seabirds were oiled in the May 19th Refugio oil spill in Santa Barbara.

Satellite tracking device between the Pelican's wings.  Photo: Justin Cox, UC Davis

Satellite tracking device between the Pelican’s wings. Photo: Justin Cox, UC Davis

The awe inspiring sight of these Brown Pelicans returning home gave us all renewed hope that humans can and will work to help heal oiled wildlife. More than 50 oiled birds have come to the San Pedro center – mainly Pelicans rescued in the Pacific Ocean from Refugio south to Ventura County.

As a proud member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) the center near the Los Angeles Harbor was at ground zero for this oiled seabird response. International Bird Rescue staff and volunteers, along with other OWCN members, worked tirelessly to help care for the effected birds.

As part of the research aspect of the spill response, five Pelicans were outfitted with solar-powered satellite tracking devices. This will help OWCN scientists track and study the rescued birds.

As always, we appreciate all the kind words and notes of encouragement for our role in helping to make sure “Every Bird Matters”.

Sincerely,

Barbara Signature

 

 

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

Photo of special green Z banded released Brown Pelican from Refugio Oil Spill

P.S. – If you spot a banded Brown Pelican with a special “Z” leg numbered band, please report it to the OWCN tip line: 1-877-UCD-OWCN.

 

June 2, 2015

Ray of Hope In A Sea Of Dread: Washed, Clean Brown Pelicans in Outdoor Aviary

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After being cleaned of oil, Brown Pelicans recuperate in an outside aviary at our San Pedro, CA center. Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck

Two weeks after oiled seabirds from the Refugio Oil Incident began arriving into our San Pedro Center, many have been washed and are now recuperating in two large outside bird aviaries.

Most of the birds in care are California Brown Pelicans. These are majestic birds with a height of more than 4 feet, weighing upwards of 11 pounds (5000 g) and with a wingspan 6+ feet.

At least 40 Brown Pelicans are in care and upwards of 36 have been washed of the oil that coated their wings after a pipeline burst at Refugio State Beach on May 19th.

Other bird species in care include Western Gulls, Western Grebes, Common Murres, a Surf Scoter, and a Pacific Loon.

As of Wednesday night, June 3, search and collection teams have rescued 58 live birds and 42 live marine mammals. Dead animals collected included 115 seabirds and 58 mammals.

Oil has severe and delirious effect on a bird’s feathers. It mats feathers & separates the tiny barbs impairing waterproofing, exposing birds to temperature extremes. In this emergency situation, the bird will focus on preening (cleaning feathers) – overriding 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. See: How Oil Affects Birds

A 24-inch underground pipeline burst about 20 miles NW of Santa Barbara. At least 100,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the broken pipe, including an estimated 21,000 gallons that washed into a storm drain and flowed out to the Pacific Ocean.

As a member of California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network our wildlife responders were activated to help with search and collection and treatment and washing of affected seabirds. Our center in San Pedro near the Los Angeles Harbor is fully staffed with multiple washing stations and two aviaries – one that is large flight aviary.

Animal numbers are updated each day and available on the OWCN blog: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

May 27, 2015

Number of Oiled Seabirds Continues To Rise from Refugio Oil Pipeline Rupture

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Using a toothbrush, IBR staff and volunteers clean an oiled California Brown Pelican at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center in San Pedro, CA. Photo by Bill Steinkamp – International Bird Rescue

Photo oiled Peilcan at International Bird Rescue

Wildlife responders from International Bird Rescue clean oiled Brown Pelican. Photo: Joseph Proudman – UC Davis

As the numbers of oiled animals affected by the Refugio Oil Incident continues to climb, our Los Angeles Center is ground zero for treating oil coated seabirds. At least 20 seabirds are now in care at the center in San Pedro, CA

International Bird Rescue (IBR) also has teams in the field assisting the search and collection of oiled wildlife in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

“The birds that we’ve seen so far have come in completely coated with oil,”  Dr. Christine Fiorello, an Oiled Wildlife Care Network veterinarian told the media at a press conference last week. “They can’t move. They can’t forage. They can’t fly. They can’t dive. So yeah, they would die pretty rapidly if they were not cleaned.”

Most of the birds captured on beaches are Brown Pelicans – large seabirds that have the strength and fortitude to survive the thick gooey crude. Many smaller seabirds may have perished in the thick gunk.

Serverly oiled Brown Pelican brought to San Pedro Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

Serverly oiled Brown Pelican brought to San Pedro Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

A week ago Tuesday morning May 19, a 24-inch underground pipeline burst near Refugio State Beach about 20 miles NW of Santa Barbara. About 100,000 gallons of crude oil, specifically Las Flores Canyon OCS (Outer Continental Shelf), spilled into a culvert that led to the Pacific Ocean.

As a member of California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network we are providing the best possible care to impacted wildlife. IBR has over 44 years of experience working on oil spill all over the world. See our history

As of Wednesday evening May 27th, a total of 57 seabirds have been collected – 39 alive and 18 dead. There have been 32 total mammals collected with 22 rescued alive and 10 found dead.

Washing oiled Pelican at San Pedro Center. IBR photo

Washing oiled Pelicans at San Pedro Center. IBR photo

The affected birds are being taken to Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network and stabilized before being transported for further care and washing at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center.

All oiled mammals including elephant seals and sea lions are being treated and washed at SeaWorld in San Diego location. SeaWorld is also a member of the OWCN.

Animal numbers are updated each day and available on the OWCN blog: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

Please don’t pickup or try to clean oiled seabirds. The oil is toxic to you and the stress of trying to clean wildlife without proper stabilization and care may do more harm than good. We ask the public to call 1-877-UCD-OWCN to report oiled wildlife.

Note to volunteers: Please don’t contact our very busy San Pedro clinic during this response. Our staff, OWCN members and our trained volunteers are handling the care of these oiled seabirds. 

You can still help in other ways: Please visit the CalSpillWatch website to register as volunteer for other needs on this spill response.

Photo of Oiled Brown Pelicans at International Bird Rescue - OWCN in San Pedro, CA

Most of the oiled seabirds rescued were California Brown Pelicans. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

Photo cleaned Brown Pelicans at International Bird Rescue

After cleaning Brown Pelicans rescued at the Refugio Oil Spill in Santa Barbara County. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

May 21, 2015

Working To Save Seabirds Affected by Santa Barbara Oil Spill

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Photo Tuesday, May 19, 2015 of what looks to an oiled Red-throated Loon. Photo courtesy of Lara Cooper/Noozhawk.com

Oil spill victim: A Red-throated Loon was one of the first birds photographed on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 showing the severity of the Refugio oil incident. Photo courtesy of Lara Cooper/Noozhawk.com

Photo of captured Oiled Brown Pelican

Oiled Brown Pelican was one of the seabirds captured this week. OSPR photo

The International Bird Rescue (IBR) has teams on the ground helping with the search and collection of oiled wildlife at the Refugio Incident oil spill in Santa Barbara County. Our center in San Pedro, CA has been mobilized to treat any oiled seabirds.

As a member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) we are providing the best possible care to impacted wildlife. IBR has over 44 years of experience working on oil spill all over the world. See our history

As of Wednesday night, 5 Brown Pelicans are have been rescued. These numbers are being reported by the California Office of Spill Response (OSPR). California state officials have setup an oil spill incident page with more information.

The public is urged to call and report any oiled wildlife @ 877-UCD-OWCN.

A 24 inch underground pipeline burst Tuesday morning near Refugio State Beach about 20 miles NW of Santa Barbara. At least 21,000 gallons of crude oil, specifically Las Flores Canyon OCS (Outer Continental Shelf), spilled into a culvert that led to the ocean.

Officials in Refugio Joint Information Center (JIC) estimate a worst-case scenario of up to 2,500 barrels (105,000 gallons) of crude oil was released from the pipeline.

The news media should contact the JIC by calling (805) 696-1188.

May 8, 2015

Patient of the Week: Common Loon

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Photo of Common Loon treated at International Bird Rescue

Following toe surgery this beautiful Common Loon is out swimming in our pools at the San Francisco Bay Center. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

Radiograph shows hook puncturing foot of Common Loon.

Radiograph: Fish hook fragment embedded in bird’s toe prior to surgery.

A Common Loon, our patient of the week, was rescued with a fish hook injury and is in care at our San Francisco Bay Center.

The Loon was found stranded in Fort Ord near Monterey, CA on May 1st. It was captured by our colleagues at the SPCA for Monterey County. The underweight but alert and active bird was transferred to us for further care and management of its fishing hook injuries.

This week our staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, performed surgery to remove infected tissue from the bird’s foot. Normally she prefers to wait until a bird’s plumage is fully waterproof before performing foot surgery, but this bird’s toe was already very badly infected so she opted to do the procedure right away.

Fish hook injuries often seem innocuous, but unfortunately, this is something we see far too often. A simple poke with a dirty fish hook may skewer tendons or joints and lead to terrible infections like in this bird. As shown in the photographs, fish hooks that puncture toes often cause osteomyelitis (bone infections) and cause adjacent bone to be eaten away by bacteria. Fish hook infections may also lead to systemic infections affecting the entire bird.

As of today this beautiful bird is mostly waterproof and out swimming in our pools. Current therapy includes antibiotics, pain medication, and lots of tasty fish.

adopt-bird-button-transNote: International Bird Rescue treats 5,000 injured and sick aquatic birds each year. We rely on the generosity of the public to help fund our bird care at both California centers. Please Adopt-a-Loon

Photo of Common Loon's infected foot before surgery at International Bird Rescue

Common Loon’s left foot prior to removal of a hook fragment and infected tissue. Photo by Michelle Bellizzi – International Bird Rescue

May 1, 2015

On Mother’s Day, Make Mom Proud With A Duckling Adoption!

Barbara Callahan
Your Duckling adoption + our loving hands = Great Mother's day gift!

Your Duckling adoption + our loving hands = Great Mother’s day gift!

Dear Fellow Bird Lover,

Happy May Day! With Mother’s Day just around the corner on Sunday, May 10, we’d like to suggest a winning gift idea: a Duckling adoption!

Adopt a bird in your Mom’s name and we will provide you with a customizable adoption certificate. With a $75 donation you can “adopt” of clutch of Ducklings. For as little as $25 you can symbolically adopt a single Duckling!

Best-Mother-Certificate-iconWith any bird adoption you can celebrate knowing that this gift of love and life will provide support for the hundreds of orphaned ducklings and baby birds we care for each year at our California wildlife centers.

Create a Mother’s Day certificate online. This PDF is suitable for full-page printing and mailing. Let us know if you want us to mail it and if we receive your order by Tuesday, May 5th, the certificate will be mailed in the following day’s mail.

If you would, please tell a friend about this Mother’s Day adoption by forwarding this email to all animal lovers in your life!

Thank for your continuing generosity,

Barbara Signature

 
 
 

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

April 28, 2015

Influx of Black-crowned Night Herons

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Black Crowned Night Heron in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Black Crowned Night Herons in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Black Crowned Night Herons in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

This is baby bird season and at each of our two California centers we’re beginning to see an influx of young aquatic birds – especially Black-crowned Night Herons.

A handful of these sharp-beaked birds are in care at our Los Angeles Center after being found at two separate rookeries in Marina del Rey and in Long Beach.

All are doing great, self feeding and being given supplemental vitamins. They will likely move outside this week.

We currently have 38 Black-crowned Night Herons in care between both California centers, as well as a host of other sick, injured and orphaned birds that need your support! You can donate to help with their ongoing care here.

BCNH-Wing-Spread

April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day: “We All Love Wildlife” by Dawn

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Our friends and partners at Dawn have come up with another terrific web video. This one captures the heart and soul of one of our long-time volunteers, Deborah Heritage, working with wildlife at our San Francisco Bay Center.

Volunteer Deborah Heritage releases a Grebe.

Volunteer Deborah Heritage releases a Horned Grebe.

Deborah speaks about becoming an empty nest parent. She began as a volunteer in 2008 at International Bird Rescue.

“Maybe I’m just the kind of person who just wants to keep taking care of something – and the birds came into my life,” says Deborah. “My nest is full of birds right now!”

IBR, the earth and the birds are so lucky to have dedicated volunteers like Deborah.

Happy Earth Day from all of us!

#HowDoYouLoveWildlife

April 15, 2015

Last Mystery Goo Bird Released Back To The Wild

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Russ Curtis of International Bird Rescue releases a male Surf Scoter, the last Mystery Goo  Response bird back to the wild in Sausalito on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Soren Hemmila, Marinscope Newspapers

The last Mystery Goo bird in care – a male Surf Scoter – was released Wednesday back to the wild.

The seaduck’s freedom represents the end of three long months of rehabilitation that included hundreds of birds that were contaminated in San Francisco Bay by a yet to be fully identified substance that coated birds with a sticky substance back in mid-January.

Male Surf Scoter was the last Mystery Goo released. Photo by Cheryl Reynodlss

Number: 165: A Male Surf Scoter was the last Mystery Goo bird released. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

“We are so happy to see the final clean, healthy seabird returned to the wild,” said Barbara Callahan, Interim Executive Director of International Bird Rescue (IBR). “We are also extremely grateful for the public’s support – including the generous donations that helped us fund this expensive response.”

The mystery goo impacted over 500 hundred aquatic birds – 323 were brought into care at IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield and 165 of those have now been RELEASED! The remaining birds were in such poor condition they could not be saved. At least 170 dead bird carcasses were picked up during January by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel.

The goo covered the feathers of seabirds, destroying their ability to stay warm, but no mystery goo was found to be on the beach or in the water, which deepened the mystery.

No responsible party has yet to be identified and the cost of all the bird care has fallen to IBR who has relied on the help of the public and foundations for donations. Bird Rescue has spent nearly $150,000 on this unusual contaminant response. Donate here

Many of these rescued birds also came to the center with pressure sores on their hocks or toes from being stranded on hard land. These injures can take months of care and healing. Other patients had surgeries for keel injuries but most of those healed quickly.

On February 12, state and federal labs concluded that the substance that coated birds includes a mixture of non-petroleum-based fats or oils. See the press release from CAFW: http://ow.ly/J4bZp

This week a bill moved through the first round of committees that would open a state oil spill response fund to help pay for non-petroleum responses involving wildlife. See info on the bill proposed by California State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)

Surf Scoter released back to the wild by Russ Curtis of International Bird Rescue in Sausalito. Photo courtesy Soren Hemmila, Marinscope Newspapers