Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

September 19, 2016

We’ve Re-launched Our Membership Program and We Hope You’ll Come Aboard!

Michele Johnson
Bird Rescue Membership Car Decal

Bird Rescue Membership Car Decal

You have helped us rehabilitate over 6,000 birds each year by supporting our work through donations to Bird Rescue. Thank you for your interest and gifts when you are able to make them — every gift is impactful, from the $5 one-time donation, to time spent by volunteers, to the thousand dollar gift or grant given. As we celebrate our 45 years of service together, we thought it was a great time to re-launch our membership program!

So what is the membership program, anyway, you might ask? It’s a one-time membership fee of $45 that gets you a year of member-only communications and a car decal to raise awareness for Bird Rescue.

Let’s get people talking about who we are as a Bird Rescue Family. From the person you park next to at the grocery store, your neighbor, your mom, daughter, son, dad, best friend — the people that you interact with everyday! We need ambassadors like you to bring life to the New Membership Program.

Our logo of the Pelican and Murre represent the connection to the fascinating world of aquatic birds, while the blue color identifies the hard work of our dedicated team of clinical staff. As their beaks almost touch, it shows that moment of connection between the birds and the people that care for them.

This brandmark is a symbol of the importance of wildlife rehabilitation for a healthy and vibrant community and ecosystem. It is a reminder to teach our youth about wildlife rehabilitation in the hopes that they will become our future conservationists.

Bird Rescue Membership Car Decal

Placing this decal in a visible place is a simple, but effective way to remind people about the wondrous life of birds. Will you join the flock and help raise awareness of the importance of oceanic birds today?

BIG thank you to those that have already joined and please feel free to email Michele Johnson, our Membership Manager, at: michele.johnson@bird-rescue.org, if you have any questions about this NEW Membership Program. Thank you for your continued interest in the health of our aquatic avian species!

September 18, 2016

The Release Files: Pelican’s Slashed Pouch Ends On A Happy Note

Bird-Rescue
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With her N41 blue band (inset photo), a healed Brown Pelican returns to the wild after being treated for a slashed pouch and leg injury. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck/International Bird Rescue

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Massive pouch laceration prior to surgical preparation. The bottom half of the pouch has been completely severed from the bird’s jaw. The white tube is delivering anesthetic gas to the bird’s trachea. Photo by Bill Steinkamp

Earlier this summer, our Los Angeles wildlife center received a female Brown Pelican from Ventura Harbor with injuries consistent with being slashed by a sharp object, very reminiscent of the injuries of Pink the Pelican, a case of ours from 2014. We reported the bird to US Fish and Wildlife Service as a likely animal cruelty case.

This new bird had a completely severed pouch, with straight cuts all the way back to behind her eyes on both sides (see image). She also had a razor-straight laceration on her right leg that cut deep into the muscle, but she was still able to stand and was in generally good condition. Like Pink, her pouch was stapled together temporarily so she could eat and regain her strength before surgery. It was repaired in one long surgical procedure instead of two as Pink’s was because the injury was, inches-wise, smaller than Pink’s– the bird was smaller overall, and the cut was angled through the pouch differently. The leg laceration was already infected when the bird arrived, but healed great with a combination of partial surgical closure and open wound management. The pouch repair healed fabulously in about two weeks.

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The severly slashed pouch was carefully sutured back together. Photo by Bill Steinkamp

Whenever one is keeping a wild animal in a cage there is a risk every day that the animal will hurt itself. When an animal nears readiness to be released it becomes more active and eager to get out, and the probability that it may hurt itself in its caging rises. This particular bird was very stressed in captivity, and was noticed to be limping one morning. At first we assumed her slashed leg was becoming infected again, but we quickly saw that the leg she was favoring was her formerly uninjured leg…uh oh! X-rays revealed that she had broken her femur near her hip joint while in the aviary. We don’t know how it happened or whether we could have done anything to prevent it, but this accident set the bird’s potential release date back substantially. She spent several weeks floating quietly in a private pool while her leg healed, which it did, and nicely, although when she first started walking again she had a very pronounced limp. Since then she has been becoming increasingly annoyed with us as we have waited for her limp to resolve sufficiently for her to be released. Currently, she is a super agile flier and stands and perches very normally, although she still has a mild limp when she walks; we expect this will fade with time as her fracture healed with excellent alignment.

We are extremely happy to announce that this beautiful girl who faced multiple serious threats to her life was finally released! With her shiny new blue plastic band N41, she returned to the wild on Saturday, September 17th at White Point in San Pedro. Please cheer her on if you see her out fishing off the coast. And also please report the sighting on our website so we can know she is out there doing well, back being a wild Brown Pelican.

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Pelican after slashed pouch was stitched back up.  Photo by Rebecca Duerr/International Bird Rescue

N41 Ready for Take-Off

N41 ready for take-off. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

September 2, 2016

Adopt-a-Loon in Honor of Loon Month!

Bird-Rescue

Loon

This September we celebrate Loons as our bird of the month, and the unique care that is required for this particular species. Have you ever heard the sounds of a Loon? We’ve got a great video posted on our Facebook page, where you can watch and listen to the beautiful vocalizations. When a Loon comes through our doors, we must work quickly to stabilize, as loons tend to be one of the more fragile species we get into care.

Did you know it costs $10 a day to provide a Loon with fish to eat, the necessary medical treatment and supplements, and clean water to swim in?

This means for Loons alone, the average cost is $300 a month!

Will you help us by adopting a Loon today for just $10? For every Loon adopted we will share on our social media sites, to encourage participation and help meet our fundraising goal of $3,500. This will cover our estimated cost for caring for this species in the year ahead.

You can even adopt a bird as a gift to someone that you know works really hard as a thank you to him or her, while also helping a bird today. Your adoption includes a fun downloadable PDF that you can print and display proudly.

Will you help us reach our fundraising goal of $3,500 this month by adopting a Loon today?

Adopt-Loon

August 26, 2016

American White Pelican Out of Trouble

Michele Johnson
American White Pelican

American White Pelican released at McNabney Marsh, Martinez. This bird came to us with two broken legs, but has since recovered from surgery, ready for the wild! Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

Great news! The American White Pelican reported in our July 26 blog post successfully recovered from his two leg fractures and was released Aug 22 in McNabney Marsh in Martinez, CA.

When the cage was opened, he calmly walked out and took his time walking over to the water. We watched an interesting display of pelican thought processes as he decided what to do next. He first looked at a large group of his species resting on the shore far away, and then a smaller group closer to us that were in the water feeding. He took one last look back at us then entered the water and swam a small distance, next thing we knew he was taking flight towards the small feeding group. After landing in the water he calmly swam up to them and immediately started enjoying his first self-caught meal in more than a month. We could not have asked for a more perfect release of this bird back into the wild!

American White Pelican

American White Pelican “Double Trouble” taking flight to join a small group of his species. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

Note from Dr Rebecca Duerr:

The highlight of August for me was this release! The care of this single bird really exemplified the nature of everything we do for thousands of birds every year, requiring a tremendous and coordinated effort among all the bird’s caregivers in order for him to make it to release. Every aspect of his care from housing and feeding decisions and delivery, to anesthesia, surgery, and medication administration, to assuring nothing bad happened during his time in private pools or the pelican aviary, to the funding that paid for it all, was absolutely essential for getting this guy out the door.

Having worked in wildlife rehabilitation for nearly 30 years, I have a really solid appreciation that pretty much everything I am able to do surgically for our birds is dependent on the efforts of everyone else; the fanciest surgery is totally pointless without the rest. Consequently, I’d like to personally say thank you to everyone who had a hand in this guy’s and every other bird’s care! Great teamwork all around! Thank you for being willing to go the extra mile for our patients.

You can read more about his care here: http://blog.bird-rescue.org/index.php/2016/07/patient-of-the-week-double-trouble-american-white-pelican/

How did you help a bird today?

American White Pelican standing on exam table during a check-up. Both external fixators are visible; they are made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position. The odd shapes are due to the shapes of pelican legs, each fracture's different need for support, and the need for the bird to be able to both stand and crouch comfortably.

In July the American White Pelican had external fixators attached made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position.

August 5, 2016

Our 45th Anniversary Celebration Was A Huge Success Thanks To You!

Bird-Rescue
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We had a great turnout at our 45th celebration in San Pedro. Photo: Katrina Plummer

Last Saturday, July 30th, at our San Pedro wildlife rehabilitation center, we joined the community in celebrating 45 years of service to aquatic bird species. Dawn and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) joined forces as our main sponsors and helped us put together a phenomenal event.

We were beyond thrilled to have Joel Sartore as our keynote speaker at the event. Joel specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes around the world. He is the founder of the Photo Ark project, a 25-year photographic documentary to save species and habitat. In his words, “it is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.” He certainly inspired our group to continue this quest to respond to, rehabilitate and ultimately protect our wildlife for future generations.

This family-friendly event also featured exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of our wildlife center, educational tables, immersive art with Greenly Art Space, delicious food trucks, and more! We hosted a raffle, with items such as a special weekend at our partners Terranea’s Resort, in which we regularly release birds from their beach-front property.

The highlight of the day was our extraordinary release of a very special pelican that was given, not only a second, but a third chance at life. Dawn hosted a Facebook Live stream of the release that you can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/dawn/videos/10153670480956820/. Pelican N39 came to us at our SF Bay Center back in 2010 emaciated and anemic, and was released after a typical three weeks stay. He had been spotted all over California, up and down the coast and as far north as Washington State. With the help from Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, he came back through our doors at our San Pedro Center with an abdominal puncture wound and toe injury. He stayed a bit longer this time, for five months, until he was ready to be released. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect to pay homage to this landmark occasion. N39 did not hesitate in his flight as he soared out into the open ocean, and back to the wild.

This event beautifully demonstrated how our community can come together to give voice to the wild birds and stand behind their needs. We so are excited that you were able to celebrate with us as we launch into the next phase of Bird Rescue.

Missed it? There’s still time to celebrate! We will be hosting a 45th Anniversary Gala next spring in the San Francisco Bay Area and hope you’ll be able to join us. Stay tuned and thank you again for all that you do for International Bird Rescue!

Many thanks to all of our hard working volunteers, staff, and generous sponsors: POLA, Dawn, McRoberts Sales, Tesoro, OWCN, Princess Cruises, Dr. John and Mrs. Terry Miller, and anonymous donations from long-time supporters. We couldn’t do this without you!

How Will You Help A Bird Today?

Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer and founder Of Photo Ark, joined us for an inspirational talk about preserving wildlife through images. Photo: Bill Steinkamp

July 28, 2016

Patient of the Week: Double Trouble American White Pelican

Bird-Rescue
Photo of American White Pelican with two fractured legs i care at International Bird Rescue

American White Pelican with two fractured legs contemplating fish while in a recovery cage we call a “peli box”. (Photos by Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue)

American White Pelican standing on exam table during a check-up. Both external fixators are visible; they are made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position. The odd shapes are due to the shapes of pelican legs, each fracture's different need for support, and the need for the bird to be able to both stand and crouch comfortably.

American White Pelican standing on exam table during a check-up. Both external fixators are visible; they are made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position.

This beautiful American White Pelican was transferred to us on July 18 from our colleagues at the SPCA for Monterey County’s Wildlife Center, after being found on a rural road in Monterey County with injuries consistent with being stuck by a vehicle. They sent our staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, some x-rays that did not make the case seem very hopeful…but it was intriguing! The bird had a good attitude (snappy and feisty) and was in otherwise good condition, but had two broken legs. In pelicans, the bone that is broken in this bird (the tarsometatarsus) is a fracture that requires pinning in order to have a good outcome. Our vet had pinned several of these in pelicans before but never both legs on the same bird! The rehabilitators in Monterey splinted the fractures temporarily and transferred him to our San Francisco Bay center for surgery.

On examination at our center, the left tarsometatarsus had intact skin but felt like a crunchy shattered mess through the whole middle half of the bone. On the x-rays we could see a series of longitudinal cracks, but it felt structurally sound on each end, which boded well for holding pins. The right side felt more-or-less intact but had a squishy, caved-in area on the front side that appeared as a greenstick (incomplete) fracture on x-rays. Even in a well-fitted splint, greenstick tarsometatarsus fractures in pelicans tend to bend and warp as they heal, leaving the bird with altered weight-bearing on the leg and subsequent trouble standing and walking. Both legs definitely needed pinning. Surgery to place pins happened last week.

We are happy to report this bird is now standing and walking very well on his pinned legs! He is also much less cranky now that he can stand up and walk away from us. He has been spending his time enjoying the menu and has gained quite a bit of weight. His foot posture when standing is excellent and he has perfect control of all his toes. So far so good!

The pins will be removed in a few weeks.

How did you help a bird today? Donate and support the ongoing care that our two California wildlife centers provide to to 5,000+ aquatic birds each year.

X-rays of American White Pelican with broken legs in care at International Bird Rescue

Radiographs of the left (on left) and right (on right) tarsometatarsus (leg) fractures in an American White Pelican. The right leg has a a greenstick (incomplete) fracture, and the metal piece of bird shot does not appear associated with the fracture. The left leg shows multiple longitudinal fractures throughout the central half of the bone.

Closeup of American White Pelican sleeping peacefully under anesthesia while his two fractured legs are being pinned.

Closeup of American White Pelican sleeping peacefully under anesthesia while his two fractured legs are being pinned.

July 17, 2016

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

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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

Bird-Rescue

MALL-CHP-rescue

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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A56-Monterey-Wharf-9Oct2011-BartSelby

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,

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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,

 

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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!

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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