Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

July 23, 2014

Taking flight with Richmond youth!

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All photos © International Bird Rescue-Cheryl ReynoldsBCNH

With the help of some eager young bird watchers, a group of herons and egrets has a new lease on life!

On July 23, we teamed up with the Richmond Police Activities League (or “RPAL”) youth group to set free five Snowy Egrets and three Black-crowned Night Herons at Pt. Pinole Regional Park with a jaw-dropping view of the San Francisco Bay.

Snowy Egrets have long been a bird of special interest — they were hunted to near extinction in the early 20th century for their plumes and have rebounded thanks to the grit and determination of conservationists.

But prior to this summer, many Bay Area residents may have never heard of a Black-crowned Night Heron – that is, until a May tree-trimming incident in Oakland resulted in several orphaned herons falling from their nests. Local and national media descended on this story as five young patients were brought to our San Francisco Bay center with broken bones and scrapes. All were also too young to survive on their own, and were released in early June after several weeks in care.

This year, we’ve raised over 250 young Black-crowned Night Herons and over 130 Snowy Egrets at the San Francisco Bay center — far above our usual levels.

So we were very excited this week to team up with Chevron Richmond and the East Bay Regional Parks District to host a release event with RPAL kids on a field trip to Pt. Pinole. After their carriers were carefully carried and opened by team RPAL, the birds flew up into a nearby eucalyptus tree or to some tall grass nearby for cover.

As part of our Snowy Egret project, the egrets released all have red leg bands with a unique identification number. These birds are numbered C44, C45, C46, C47 and C48. If you see these birds in the wild, please report your sighting by emailing us.SNEG

International Bird Rescue’s team loves to share our passion for animals with local youth. If you are a local youth group in the Los Angeles or San Francisco Bay Area and you’d like more information on a release outing, please email us!

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is a longtime supporter of International Bird Rescue’s local and global efforts to save seabirds, and will sponsor the community release of these herons. “We are honored to be a part of the release of these herons and provide RPAL youth with the opportunity to learn more about our environment,” said Kory Judd, Refinery General Manager. “Partnerships with organizations such as the International Bird Rescue are an integral part of our commitment to protecting and preserving the environment.”

Preservation plans for the release site at Breuner Marsh, located within the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, include restoring wetlands and coastline prairie, as well as providing improved public access to the shoreline and a 1.5-mile extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Thanks for being our release pals today, RPAL!

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July 18, 2014

Patient of the week: American Avocet hatches at our Los Angeles center

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Video by Kelly Berry

Our patient of the week is this American Avocet chick, the first of 21 eggs in the care of our Los Angeles center team to hatch. Avocets are shorebirds common to the Pacific coast, and sport a most-striking upturned bill that the bird uses to “sweep” through the water to catch small invertebrates.

These eggs were transported to us from six abandoned nests in the area. We’ll keep you posted on the other eggs as well.

Avocet chicks are capable of feeding themselves soon after hatching. We give them several types of food, some of it live, including mealworms, guppies and tubifex worms.

Audio: American Avocets in Palo Alto, Calif., via Wikipedia

July 10, 2014

A new life begins …

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With a little help from a friend, a duckling makes its way into the world at International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center. Video by Paul Berry, summer 2014. These two are currently among friends: By last count, the Southern California center has 22 ducklings and eggs in care.

July 9, 2014

Update on tern and chick found hooked together

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ELTETerns upon intake, photo by Kelly Berry

A number of loyal readers have asked us for an update on the Elegant Tern found hooked by fishing lure to one of the bird’s chicks. (Read more on this case at Care2.com and the Daily Breeze.)

Both birds continue to be in the care of our Los Angeles center team after a local biologist found them struggling on Terminal Island. They are recuperating together in a large enclosure.

The adult tern’s multiple wing injuries are healing well, and the bird is no longer in need of a wing wrap (we continue to administer antibiotics).

The baby’s wounds were more severe, with triple hooks embedded in the chick’s leg and wing. The bird may have suffered nerve damage to its leg, Dr. Rebecca Duerr reports, and the prognosis remains guarded.

Thank you all for your concern. We are giving these birds the best care possible — which is what they deserve!

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Photo by Dr. Rebecca Duerr

July 8, 2014

What’s it like to intern with us? Just ask Leah.

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Our resident photographer Bill Steinkamp recently spent a morning at our Los Angeles center interviewing Leah, a summer intern as part of a unique program with the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation created for students with ties to the San Pedro and Wilmington communities in the L.A. harbor area. Check it out!

July 3, 2014

The week in bird news, July 3

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• The Audubon Society of Portland is fighting a proposal by the US Army Corps of Engineers to kill up to 16,000 Double-crested Cormorants (shown above) on an island in the Columbia River in order to aid survivability of juvenile salmon and steelhead. The proposed project, which would kill roughly 20 percent of the cormorant population, also has been roundly announced by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility; the group’s executive director, Jeff Ruch, called it a “crazy, crude and needlessly cruel plan that should go right back to the drawing board.” [The Oregonian]

• More troubling news on the 2014 population survey of Brown Pelicans on the West Coast, via UC-Davis. [Futurity]

• The first flight of a young Laysan Albatross is captured via live-streaming wildlife camera on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. [National Geographic News]

• Also on Kauai, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife are working with a local utility company to save endangered Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels.

How? By employing lasers attached to transmission poles and lines to keep the birds from crashing into them. Both birds have suffered a devastating reduction in their numbers in recent decades, largely due to feral cats and invasive species such as the mongoose. [Motherboard]

• A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change calls for listing the Emperor Penguin studyfindsemas an endangered species due to the encroaching effects of climate change. If sea ice continues to decline, at least two-thirds of Emperor Penguin colonies will shrink by more than half their current size by the year 2100, said lead author Stephanie Jenouvrier, a biologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “None of the colonies, even the southern-most locations in the Ross Sea, will provide a viable refuge by the end of the 21st century,” Jenouvrier said. [Phys.org]

• Exploding pollen alert! Read about the marvelous genus of flowers called Axinaea, which have a built-in appendage that explodes when clamped down on by a bird, dusting the animal with pollen. [Science Magazine]

• Scientists are using geolocators for Red Knots, currently considered a threatened species. “To date, all studies of shorebirds using geolocators have changed our conceptions about their migration strategies and the sites they use,” researchers wrote. “This study is no exception. It has revealed previously unknown stopover and wintering sites and a surprising lack of commonality between the eight focal birds in their migratory pathways.” [The Atlantic]

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June 26, 2014

Patient of the week: Baby Pied-billed Grebe

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"Pied-Billed Grebe 14-2060 chick in care at SF Bay Center"
Photos by Cheryl Reynolds PBGR

This week, International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center received its first Pied-billed Grebe chick of the year.

Weighing about as much as eight pennies upon intake, the tiny bird was found alone at Riverfront Regional Park in Windsor, CA and transferred to us by our partners at the Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa.

We’re feeding this orphan plenty of fish every half hour in our intensive care unit and have administered antibiotics.

An adult Pied-billed Grebe was a patient of the week back in March. Check out what these birds look like all grown up here.

"Pied-Billed Grebe 14-2060 chick in care at SF Bay Center"

"Pied-Billed Grebe 14-2060 chick in care at SF Bay Center"

June 26, 2014

Rescuer’s account of tern and chick found hooked together

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Update July 8, 2014 from our vet: “Wounds are healing well but both parent and chick still have guarded prognosis for full return to function. Chick has elbow and leg problems, parent has wing problem.” We will continue to update you when we know more. Thanks for your concern. –IBR Staff

As we posted earlier this week, our Los Angeles center recently received an adult Elegant Tern and a tern chick hooked together by a fishing lure. Found at the Terminal Island tern colony near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the birds have since been separated and are now receiving daily bandage treatment, antibiotics and plenty of supportive care. The prognosis remains guarded.

Nick Liberato, a biologist who monitors the tern colony, found the birds and took this photo upon rescue. “I spotted them as I was ushering some stray chicks back through the chick fencing and into the main rookery,” Liberato says.

“As is usually the case, tangled birds become noticeable when the rest of the colony moves away as one approaches,” he says. “At first, I thought they were just tangled in monofilament [fishing line], but when I saw that multi-hooked lure puncturing both of them, I knew my tools wouldn’t cut it, so I got them over to you guys as quickly as possible.”
June 24, 2014

Treble hook fishing lure seriously injures an adult tern and chick

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Photos by Kelly Berry

Update July 8, 2014 from our vet: “Wounds are healing well but both parent and chick still have guarded prognosis for full return to function. Chick has elbow and leg problems, parent has wing problem.” We will continue to update you when we know more. Thanks for your concern. –IBR Staff

We regularly care for seabirds seriously wounded by fishing hooks. But this case may be a tragic first.

On Monday, our Los Angeles center received an adult Elegant Tern with a chick. Both were found at Terminal Island snagged together byELTE a fishing lure with three treble hooks — one embedded in the adult’s left wing, the other two attached to the chick’s left leg and wing.

We’ve seen cases of monofilament fishing line entangling and injuring multiple seabirds, but this may be our first case of a fishing lure wounding both parent and chick, who were separated by our team and treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. At this time the prognosis is guarded.

Terns are common patients for our centers, and many have suffered at the hands of humans. We cared for oiled Sandwich Terns during the Gulf spill in 2010 and raised orphaned tern chicks during a 2006 incident were workers in Long Beach used high-pressure hoses to illegally remove hundreds of nests situated on a barge. Last fall, our San Francisco Bay center cared for an Elegant Tern with a gunshot injury — also very much illegal, as terns are protected under federal law.

We’ll keep you posted on the condition of these special patients under our team’s expert care.

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You can make a contribution to support these terns’ care by clicking here.

June 19, 2014

#TBT: Jay saving birds during the 2002 Prestige Spill in Spain

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You can leave a remembrance of Jay here. Details on a memorial event will be announced soon.