Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

July 1, 2020

Stuck In The Mud, Struggling Brown Pelican Saved By Community Rescuers

Bird Rescue Staff

A rescue team from Alameda Fire Department, guided by a concerned citizen, capture a Brown Pelican tethered to discarded fishing tackle and stuck in the mudflats. Photos: Cindy Margulis – International Bird Rescue

A Brown Pelican in Alameda, CA that was stuck in the mud and tethered to discarded fishing tackle is alive today and in care at International Bird Rescue after a heartwarming community rescue effort.

On June 23th a newly retired Lincoln Middle School teacher, Sharmaine Moody, noticed a Brown Pelican that appeared to be stuck in the offshore mudflat between the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and the Bay Farm Bridge during low tide. As it struggled to get airborne, other pelicans became alarmed and kept circling in the air over the young bird. Eventually the other pelicans left to forage elsewhere, but Sharmaine kept returning to monitor the stranded pelican at different tidal conditions to try to ensure there would be a chance for a boat rescue to work in a higher tide.

After rescue, the Brown Pelican was transferred to a large transport carrier and driven to Bird Rescue’s wildlife center in Fairfield.

A call was made to the Alameda Fire Department for help rescuing this pelican in peril. When Battalion Chief David Buckley was confident there was sufficient fire coverage in town on June 24th, he deployed Alameda’s Rescue Boat 01 crew, manned by firefighters Ty, Roland, & Nick. As soon as their Zodiac approached the pelican, they realized how stranded this poor bird was. When they tried to lift the pelican with a net, they felt the tug of the entanglement beneath it, preventing them from getting the bird out of the water. An assortment of fishing gear, including wads of monofilament line, had to be cut off before they were able to bring the pelican up into the rescue craft. Back at the boat launch, even more fishing gear had to be cut away to get the pelican out of the net.

In care at our center in Fairfield: Brown Pelican following rescue.

With the help of Sharmaine Moody and former Bird Rescue volunteer, Linda Vallee, the injured pelican was quickly transported to our San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center in Fairfield for emergency veterinary care. The young Brown Pelican is currently in serious but stable condition. It suffered severe constriction wounds to its leg and damage to its wings from the fishing line entanglement that will require many weeks in care to heal.

Special thanks are due to the Alameda Fire Department for their rescue heroics last week, as well as to Sharmaine Moody and Linda Vallee for keeping track of the pelican’s predicament until a rescue could be arranged. It truly takes a community to protect our natural world and the wildlife we share it with.

This case is not only a strong reminder of the needless suffering and bodily harm that stray fishing gear and monofilament fishing line can cause for wildlife, but also the positive impact individuals can have when they take action on behalf of animals in need.

Preventing Needless Suffering Starts Here

The Reel In and Recycle program is a good step towards encouraging recycling fishing line.

There are simple actions everyone can take to help prevent needless suffering for wildlife, including birds and marine mammals, and also reduce entrapment risks for swimmers in local shorelines, too. We encourage all fishermen to remove all their gear from the water and shoreline.

If you come across any discarded fishing line, make sure that it gets deposited into a proper receptacle. Alameda, and many other fishing locations throughout California have specialized bins for recycling monofilament, which are part of the national Reel In & Recycle Program.  When specialty receptacles aren’t available, you can cut the monofilament into small pieces and dispose of it in a lidded trash container. If you would like your local park or pier to implement a fishing line recycling program, contact your harbormaster or local parks department.

In recent years other bird species in nearby waters have been adversely affected by cast off fishing gear. Four Ospreys in the Alameda area have been entangled in fishing line and gear, including one confirmed to have died from its injuries.  Just last month, another local Osprey female at Alameda Point had to be trapped on her nest in order to remove an entanglement.

June 23, 2020

Patient of the Month: Western Gull

Dr. Rebecca Duerr
Western Gull seabird caught in fishing line

After swallowing a fishing hook a Western Gull awaits rescue at the harbor jetty in Half Moon Bay. Photo courtesy Bart Selby

A severely injured Western Gull, that was originally entangled and trapped by discarded fishing line and tackle, is back in the wild after heroic surgery and treatment by International Bird Rescue.

X-ray showing fish hook stuck in the Western Gull esophagus, right near the bird’s heart

X-ray shows fish hook stuck in Western Gull’s esophagus, right near the bird’s heart.

The Western Gull was spotted May 18, 2020 on the breakwater in Half Moon Bay, ensnared by fishing gear. Luckily, a local kayaker, Bart Selby, spotted the helpless bird on his way out to do a Brown Pelican survey around Pillar Point Harbor. He immediately took action and enlisted the help of nearby wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to rescue the injured bird. It was critical the bird was captured quickly because in its entangled state, it was doomed to drown when the tide came in. From his kayak, Mr. Selby coached the warden, who was gingerly standing on the slippery rocks, as they carefully secured the gull with a towel and cut the fishing line that had been tethering the bird to the rocks. Were it not for the intervention of these valiant rescuers, the gull would certainly have died.

The gull was transported to the Peninsula Humane Society Wildlife Center for stabilization before being transferred to International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center in Fairfield, CA for surgery to remove the hook that was lodged deep inside the bird.

Our team found that the hook was lodged in one of the worst spots in the esophagus, right near the bird’s heart (see radiograph). When a fish hook pokes through the wall of the esophagus at this area, it very often skewers the aorta or even the heart itself and the bird can bleed to death from the tip of the hook lacerating these irreplaceable structures.

The gull’s neck was opened to get to the hook wedged in the esophagus. Photo: Dr. Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue

Unfortunately, the line had been swallowed, which meant the hook couldn’t be retrieved without surgery. So, on May 20, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Director of Research & Veterinary Science, did just that, choosing the least invasive approach for extraction. She cut into the esophagus at the base of the neck. According to Dr Duerr, the surgery was quite nerve-wracking as the bird had an extremely abnormal heart rhythm as soon as she began to gently manipulate the hook. In addition, none of the instruments were quite long enough to both secure the hook and allow it to be moved out of the stretchy esophagus wall. Nevertheless, our wildlife clinic team was able to pull the bird through this tough procedure and successfully remove the hook, leaving the bird with just a small incision to heal in his neck.

The male gull healed fabulously and fast, and flew perfectly as soon as we put him into the center’s large outdoor aviary. Our team wanted to get him back to his mate as soon as possible. So, as soon as his skin incision healed, we arranged for release back at Half Moon Bay on June 5th. We hope he was reunited with his mate and may be working on producing the next generation of Western Gulls, and we hope he stays away from fishing gear!

Note: a high percentage of the rescued water birds that come into our clinics have been injured by fishing line and tackle injuries. The high cost of repairing these serious injuries is borne by Bird Rescue. Your generosity gives these wild birds a second chance. Please Donate now.

Whenever you’re near the water, please pick up and remove any stray fishing line and tackle from the environment to eliminate this menace for wildlife. Encourage fishermen to avoid casting into areas with birds visible in the water.

After life-saving surgery to remove a fishing hook, the Western Gull was released at Pillar Point Harbor. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

June 19, 2020

On Standby: Major Diesel Spill In Siberia

Bird-Rescue

Site of the Norilsk Nickel power plant fuel leak. See larger map

Nearly 50 years ago, International Bird Rescue was created to respond to oil spills. Our supporters have come to expect that when there is a sizable spill, we will be there to offer our expertise in crisis management and aquatic bird care. Unfortunately, that is not always possible and it is difficult for us to stand on the sidelines when wildlife is in danger.

On June 4, 2020, a massive fuel spill occurred in a remote area of Russia, as a diesel oil storage tank collapsed at the Norilsk Nickel power plant sending diesel into a river. It is believed that a prolonged heat wave melted permafrost beneath the storage tank’s footings. At least 21,000 metric tons of diesel fuel has stained the Ambanaya watershed in the Siberian Arctic ecosystem.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a State of Emergency as that area is part of a watershed linked to the Arctic Ocean, but he has not thus far reached out for international support. See map

Emergency response of this scale is only possible with the invitation and cooperation of the government and a responsible party being willing to cover the costs.

Further, human safety is of utmost importance, and the needed resources to stand up a full-scale wildlife response can be next to impossible in a very remote location like this one.

While we have been in touch with our international partners, none has yet been asked to participate. This group includes leading experts trying to solve the challenges of oiled wildlife outside of currently covered geographies. Russia’s far north is a perfect example of an uncovered geography which the group was created to cover. At this point, reports suggest that workers are focused on containing and removing the fuel in a very remote area with few roads – more than 1200 miles NE of Moscow. We will remain on standby in case we are needed.

The kind of fuel that was spilled – diesel – is lighter and less easily corralled than heavier forms like crude oil (as was the case in the Deepwater Horizon Spill in 2010). Making things worse, diesel evaporates more slowly at cooler temperatures. This means both that initial harm to nearby wildlife would have been severe and, as with any petroleum product, animal welfare would continue to be a concern.

Going forward we continue to strive to work collaboratively on preparedness and planning along with petroleum companies, government entities, and other NGO partners to ensure wildlife emergency response efforts can save animals in harm’s way.

June 12, 2020

49 Bird-inspired Recipes To Sweeten Stay At Home Days

Russ Curtis

Do you love birds and want to support their care? Love to bake, too? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve got a whole volume of bird-inspired recipes to help sweeten these social distancing months for you and your loved ones!

Become a Bird Rescue Member now at the $49 level and we will send you a digital version of our “Sweet Tweets: 49 recipes for 49 years”. Your membership fee supports our work year-round saving water birds. And with the cookbook, you can bake up scrumptious treats to celebrate our 49th Anniversary with us, no matter where you are.

You’ll find recipes for how to make a flock of delicious goodies: from Pied-billed Grebe Apple Pie to Surf Scoter Scones to Sand Hill Crane Sugar Cookies. Order now

The recipe book was created by the Bird Boosters – a dedicated group of volunteers bonded by their love and admiration for International Bird Rescue. The boosters work collaboratively on special projects that help raise funds and highlight the great accomplishments of this 49-year-old organization.

May 18, 2020

Patient of the Week: Western Snowy Plover

Russ Curtis

Using a custom anesthesiology and oxygen rig, the Western Snowy Plover with a wing fracture had its wing pinned. Photo: Dr. Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue

June 2, 2020 update:

The pin was removed in another surgical procedure on May 20th and our veterinarian reports that his bones have healed very nicely and his elbow joint is also in good shape. The plover does have some wing extension problems stemming from the injury to his patagium (the skin that stretches across the leading edge of the wing) and we are planning to work on improving his wing function through physical therapy over the next few weeks.

The Tiny Surgery Patient

On May 4, International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center was contacted by biologists about an injured adult male Western Snowy Plover they had captured at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Union City, CA. On arrival, radiographs revealed the bird had suffered a bad wing fracture, with its humerus bone in 3 pieces, plus it had a lacerated patagium (the web of skin that connects the shoulder to the wrist on the wing). Humerus fractures generally require surgical pinning if a wild bird is to have any hope of ever being able to fly again.

Despite not the best prognosis for this type of fracture healing well in such a tiny bird, not to mention their minuscule size (only 6 inches in length) providing a surgical challenge, our team decided to give fixing this bird a go. Due to the status of Western Snowy Plovers as Species of Special Concern within California, and Threatened status on the Endangered Species list, we had extra incentive to try to get this bird fixed up and back out into the wild.

Surgical repair was nerve-wracking but this feisty little bird did great through anesthesia and Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian, was able to get the three pieces of bone correctly positioned on the pin after repairing the wing wound. Due to the size of the bone and delicate placement of the pin near the elbow, she decided to not attempt to place cross pins, which are often done in cases like this in larger birds to create an external fixator that allows the wing to be unrestrained while it heals. Instead, she opted to simply tape the wing to the body to provide the extra stability needed for the bone to start to heal.

We are happy to report that 18 days in, this tiny patient is doing well, being a good patient running around his enclosure and eating on his own. The pin will be removed next week, and physical therapy will begin in earnest. Since the bird has been healing so well so far, we are guardedly optimistic about his prognosis for being able to fly again.

About Snowy Plovers

Along the San Francisco Bay there are about 200 nesting Western Snowy Plovers, including about 125 at Eden Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. The Pacific coast breeding population extends from the state of Washington, to Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Male Snowy Plovers are good fathers. Though their offspring are able to feed themselves, the fathers watch over their chicks and will valiantly chase off predators or gather chicks underwing to shield them from weather or other risks.

These birds build their nests on sandy beaches, and their nesting areas are easily disturbed by hikers and beach goers. You can help protect this species by being extra cautious when you visit the beach or wetlands – give birds plenty of space and pay attention to signage that indicates nesting birds may be nearby. You can also help spread the word and educate others about Snowy Plovers – little birds like these might be hard to spot if you don’t know to look for them!

X-rays revealed the plover had suffered a bad wing fracture.

In surgery a pin was carefully placed to help the fractured wing to heal.

Western Snowy Plover in care at our Northern California wildlife center. Photo: International Bird Rescue

 

May 6, 2020

In The Time Of COVID-19: Alaska Oil Spill Response

Michelle Bellizzi

Aerial photo of the Valdez Marine Terminal, Alaska. You can see the oil sheen and boom deployment in Prince William Sound. Photo credit: Alyeska Pipeline

Sunday, April 12th was just like any other “normal” day adjusting to our new “normal” of “flattening the curve” during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the preceding weeks, states on the west coast of the United States had instituted #StayHome policies to slow the transmission of the deadly novel virus spreading across the globe since late 2019.

On that evening at 6:15 pm, International Bird Rescue received a call from our long-time client, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, alerting us to a small oil spill incident in Valdez, Alaska. Immediately, Alyeska activated Barbara Callahan, Bird Rescue’s Response Director, to provide expertise in this developing situation.

Callahan learned that the incident involved a small leak from a sump pump at the Valdez Marine Terminal – on land approximately 650 feet from the shore of Prince William Sound. The mere mention of a spill in this area, immediately brings up terrifying thoughts in the waters made famous by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster. And while the amount of this oiling was small, the oil seeped into the topsoil and leached into the harbor, where it created a large area of sheen. Worse, the area where the sheen was contained within boom sets was adjacent to a pier where one of the largest and most successful breeding populations of Black-legged Kittiwakes nest annually. There was also concern for the myriad of other fish, seabirds, waterfowl, and marine mammals that were making their annual return to the area for feeding and breeding. To add to the worry, the spill site was very close to a commercial salmon fishery where fry (small juvenile salmon) were scheduled for release within two weeks of this oil spill. There were significant concerns that the resulting sudden influx of prey species to the area would bring in additional animals foraging.

If this event had happened without the existence of a pandemic, the response tactics would be clear: Bird Rescue would deploy one or two field teams to Valdez to capture and stabilize any oil-affected birds. In addition, there would be a team assigned to activate the Alaska Wildlife Response Center (AWRC) in Anchorage. This turn-key standby center is always prepared to offer full rehabilitation of oiled wildlife.

Because of COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions, personnel from outside of Valdez were required to go through a 14-day quarantine within the state. In order to quickly initiate wildlife operations in Valdez, Alyeska activated several “Vessels of Opportunity” (“VOO’s”) who are kept on contract and who are pre-trained annually by Alyeska and Bird Rescue to be wildlife observers and capture crews. In addition, a small team of marine mammal experts were brought in from Anchorage and a local veterinarian were enlisted to perform wildlife stabilization.

Two Bird Rescue team members, Julie Skoglund and Liz Montenegro, were deployed to Anchorage to prepare the AWRC, and arrived on April 20th. As with every other part of this response, even this fairly direct deployment required an intensive contact history and a three-day quarantine without leaving their hotel rooms before the team was able to get to work at the AWRC. Once released from their quarantine, they quickly got to work and not only prepared for potential patients, but also performed a deep-clean on the center’s upstairs storage area, creating new storage space and cleaning out out-of-date or unnecessary equipment and supplies.

We are relieved to report that only three animals were oiled during this event, two were deceased prior to collection and one bird was euthanized. While we are never happy to see any oiled animals, this event had the potential to impact thousands more animals, and we breathed a sigh of relief as the spill area became smaller and smaller each day, and the oiled shoreline has been gradually restored. While spill cleanup operations will continue until the environment is restored, as of May 5, our Anchorage team has been demobilized and returned to their homes to self-quarantine for 14 days. Response Director Barbara Callahan and Bird Rescue will continue to be a part of the Spill Response management team providing our best advice and recommendations until cleanup operations are complete.

April 22, 2020

Webinar April 30: Blue Banded Pelican Project

Russ Curtis

Join us for an informative webinar on the Blue Banded Pelican Project by Dr. Rebecca Duerr, International Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian. The online event will be held on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 5:30 PM (PST). Please register here

In an effort to increase the number of reports of live sightings, Bird Rescue initiated the Blue-Banded Pelican Project in 2009. In addition to the metal federal band, each Brown Pelican receives a large, blue plastic leg band bearing easily readable white numbers. Since starting this program, thansks to citizen scientists, the rate of live Brown Pelican sighting reports has greatly increased.  The blue band IDs that we use feature a single letter followed by two numbers.

Read more

April 19, 2020

$49 for 49 more years!

Russ Curtis

It’s time to Raise the Rookery and help celebrate International Bird Rescue’s 49th year.

Baby bird season is already in full swing and you can help! For every $49 donation, we will honor you with an egret perched in our symbolic rookery tree. Your first name and last initial will be noted on your bird(s), or you may pick a different tribute name.

We could not do this work without YOU. You rescue birds right along with us and we thank you so very deeply. Your gift directly funds food, medication, and expert daily care for a bird in our wildlife centers.

Please Give 49. Your $49 donation includes a Bird Rescue membership for 2020.

Read more: History of International Bird Rescue

 

 

April 17, 2020

Virtual Open House April 20 – May 1

Russ Curtis

Dear Bird Rescue Supporters,

In light of the current situation with COVID-19, we have postponed our annual open houses and opted instead to make the Bird Rescue Open House experience available to you all in the comfort of your own homes!

We invite you to join us virtually from Monday, April 20th to Friday, May 1st for a variety of online events that will take you inside the doors of our two wildlife centers, give you the chance hear from and chat with members of our executive team, and participate in bird activities that are fun for all ages!

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Procter & Gamble: DAWN, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Port of Long Beach, and Preparative Consulting!

Below is our schedule of events:

Monday, April 20th 5:00 PM (PST): Webinar – Bird Rescue 49th Anniversary with Executive Director, JD Bergeron. Watch this recorded webinar

Tuesday, April 21st 12:30 PM (PST): Tune in on our Facebook or YouTube channel for the release of our 49th Anniversary Bird Video: Meet the Western Grebe.

Wednesday, April 22nd 12:30 PM (PST): Kids’ Corner: Watch the video on making a bird-themed craft!

Friday, April 24th 12:30 PM (PST): Learn about baby bird care in a virtual visit to our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center: Watch the video

Monday, April 27th 12:30 PM (PST): Learn about oiled bird care in a virtual visit to our Los Angeles wildlife center: Watch the video

Tuesday, April 28th 12:30 PM (PST):  Kids’ Corner: Watch a special presentation for the young and young at heart about bird nests: Watch the video

Thursday, April 30th 5:30 PM (PST):  Webinar: Blue Banded Pelican Project, presented by Staff Veternarian Dr Rebecca Duerr. Watch the recorded webinar.

Friday, May 1st 12:30 PM(PST): Closing remarks via Facebook Live and a video celebration of releases on our YouTube channel

Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Bird Rescue veterinarian, will present a webinar on Bird Rescue’s Blue Banded Pelican Project: Register now

April 15, 2020

Webinar April 20: Introduction to Bird Rescue

Russ Curtis

Please join us on Monday, April 20, 2020 at 5:00 PM for a special webinar celebrating the 49th anniversary of International Bird Rescue. JD Bergeron, Executive Director at Bird Rescue will host an engaging online presentation through Zoom video conferencing. Register now

The event is part of Bird Rescue’s move to Virtual Open Houses as the COVID-19 pandemic requires families to #StayHome. We have postponed our traditional open houses at both California wildlife centers and opted instead to make the experience available online to all.

From Monday, April 20th to Friday, May 1st Bird Rescue will host a variety of online events that will take you inside the doors of our wildlife centers. You’ll have a chance to hear from and chat with members of our leadership team, and participate in bird activities that are fun for all ages!

See the complete calendar of events

 

April 13, 2020

Release Files: Laysan Albatross Returns To The Wild

Russ Curtis

Laysan Albatross gets the first taste of freedom as a Black-footed Albatross waits. Photos by Don Baccus

The wayward Laysan Albatross that was found grounded in a meadow in Soquel, CA, is back in the wild after being released back to Monterey Bay. Thanks to the SPCA for Monterey County for doing the original rescue back in late March after local birders alerted the animal rescue group. After being transferred to International Bird Rescue, the albatross made an excellent recovery after two weeks in care.

Executive Director JD Bergeron transported the bird from our wildlife center in Fairfield to the Moss Landing Harbor. Big thanks to Fast Raft who donated their services to help transport the bird 10 miles off the coast. Bird lover and friend of Bird Rescue Jan Loomis was also helpful in arranging the trip. This trip out into the open ocean was a rare moment during the current pandemic and the small group involved were blessed with views of many seabirds, a few humpback whales, and a pod of orcas.

When the boat finally reached its destination, a nutrient-rich part of Monterey Bay, the boat was greeted by a Black-footed Albatross during the release of the former patient and was soon joined by a dozen more Black-footed Albatrosses, which also nest on Midway Atoll. It was a magic moment in nature after many weeks cooped up during the restrictions.

The bird’s release was dedicated to the late Shirley Doell who was one of the count leaders during the annual nesting albatross count on Midway Atoll. Bergeron met Doell several years ago when he volunteered to help count 600,000 nests on these northern Pacific Ocean islands.

With their tremendous 6½ foot wingspan, Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) can take advantage of prevailing winds to glide long distances – sometimes 300-400+ miles in one day. They breed on tiny islands in the North Pacific Ocean – especially Midway Atoll – about 3,000 miles from California.

The oldest known banded wild bird in the world is a Laysan Albatross named Wisdom. At 69 years old, Wisdom returns most years to Midway to renew her nest and hatch a chick – as she did again in December of 2018 but took a year off in 2019. To date she is believed to have hatched more than 40 chicks over the course of her life.

In the past, Laysan Albatrosses notably have been found as stowaways on container ships that travel the ocean highways. They have often been spotted resting or even building nests aboard these vessels. In recent years, we’ve also seen them picked up after crash landing in the Southern California desert. Read more

Bird Rescue relies on the generous support of the public to care for wildlife, including wayward birds blown off course, those injured in cruelty incidents, as well as those harmed by fishing gear and other human-caused injuries. Please donate

Near the release site, agroup of Black-footed-Albatrosses. Photo by Janette Loomis

April 2, 2020

Patient in Focus: Brown Pelican 0A2

Russ Curtis
Brown Pelican spreads its wings in care at International Bird Rescue

After 95 days in treatment for a wing fracture, Brown Pelican 0A2 was released back to the wild. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

The Long Road to Recovery

Late last month we released a young Brown Pelican who came to us in 2019! This bird was found in Half Moon Bay, CA, in December standing around looking dazed on a beach, ignoring dogs running up to him. After his rescue, he was brought to our San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center for care. Radiographs showed this bird had suffered a wing fracture – the ulna.

The pelican’s radiograph (x-ray) shows the (ulna) wing fracture.

Sometimes fractures of the ulna in birds can be successfully treated with splints and wraps, but due to previous experience with pelicans recovering from ulna fractures, Bird Rescue’s veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr opted to place orthopedic pins and two external fixators, securing the fracture site from two different angles.

Pinning can reduce the probability that a bird will develop range of motion problems in their wing joints as a result of a prolonged time in a wrap. Pinned wings are generally kept wrapped only for the first few days, then the bird can have the wing unrestrained for the duration of healing, which lets them wiggle and move and keep their joints in good shape. This pelican patient then had a long road to recovery ahead under the expert care of our rehabilitation technicians, needing to fully regain the strength in its wing to be able to survive again in the wild.

For this pelican’s ulna fracture, our veterinarian placed orthopedic pins and two external fixators to its wing. Photo: Dr Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue

Bird bones generally heal much faster than mammals – after just 3 weeks, the ulna had healed and the pins were removed. Although he did not have any range of motion problems in his joints, the wing was very weak. Once he was ready, we moved him to our pelican aviary where he could bathe and preen, and start exercising by swimming. When birds bathe, they vigorously move all the muscles and joints of the chest, shoulders, and wings, and this provides amazing exercise for a bird recovering from a wing injury.

Once he began flying, we could see he was flapping asymmetrically with the formerly broken wing not extending fully with each flap, but thankfully this improved with practice. Due to the large size of our pelican aviary, we are able to see when a pelican is not flying normally or is compensating for a mobility deficit. We could see that as his flight strength and coordination improved, he persisted in leaning his head to one side when flying. As plunge-divers, Brown Pelicans have a very athletically intense way of catching dinner in the wild; consequently, we kept him for more exercise until his flight normalized. We want every bird we release to be as able-bodied as wild birds that never had a health crisis, so that they have the best possible chance of leading a long wild life.

After 94 days in care, he was finally ready for us to put bands on his legs and say Good Bye and Happy Fishing to Blue Band 0A2!

Before heading out for release, Brown Pelican 0A2 has final photos taken with James Manzolillo, Bird Rescue rehabilitation tech. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

April 1, 2020

Here Come The Baby Birds!

Russ Curtis

Orphaned ducklings are some of the baby birds we will enter into care this spring.

Dear Bird Rescue Supporter,

Our doors are still open for wildlife and that’s a good thing. Baby bird season is quickly upon us and we will need your help to keep them fed and cared for!

We need to raise $5,000 and if you donate today your donation will be DOUBLED by an anonymous donor!

Thank you for ALL your support during these uncertain times. It’s what keeps us moving forward. As always, your generous support is much appreciated!

Be well and please take care of your brood, too,

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

P.S. – We also have another eight oiled Western Grebes coming into care this week – rescued from the natural oil seep that is prevalent along the coast in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

March 31, 2020

Ordering Through Amazon? Use Our Smile Link

Russ Curtis

We always encourage folks to shop local when they can, but for many of you during the COVID-19 pandemic, online ordering has been one of the safest ways to shop. So if you’re ordering through Amazon can we ask you a favor? Use the AmazonSmile program link and the retailer will donate a portion of your purchases to us.

Through the Smile program Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to International Bird Rescue, These are the same products and services as offered by Amazon.com.

You can also you check out our Amazon.com Wish Lists, which feature a wide variety of products we depend upon every day. You can choose from our Los Angeles or San Francisco Bay center Wish Lists.

Thank you again for helping us make sure Every Bird Matters!

March 19, 2020

In Time of Crisis: #LookUp

Russ Curtis

Updated: April 7, 2020

“I go to nature to be soothed, healed and have my senses put in order.”
– John Burroughs

While it can be easy to feel overwhelmed in these challenging times, we encourage you to find solace in nature. A common thread unites our community: a deep love of birds and an appreciation for the natural world.  A simple walk outside, a deep breath, and the unexpected sound of a bird’s song can calm strained nerves in times of stress. Every bird we rescue and release renews our hope – its resilience is a second chance. At times like this, birds can give us a reason to keep looking up.

As we navigate uncertain times together, Bird Rescue will share bird images and stories that give us hope and resolve to face an uncertain future. We invite you to share your stories, photos and reasons to keep looking up in the comments and post photos on social media of your view looking up and tag us @IntBirdRescue with the hashtag #LookUp. Together we can inspire others to act towards balance with the natural world even in times of uncertainty.

Remember to #LookUp.

Brown Pelican stretch, photo by Alan Murphy, Photographers in Focus

 

Baby American Coot, photo by Bill Steinkamp, Photographers in Focus

 

Snowy Plovers on beach

Sanderlings (Calidris alba), photo by Rory Merry, Photographers in Focus

 

Cattle Egret, photo by Sara Silver, Photographers in Focus

 

Baby Mallard checking our a dragonfly, photo by Kim Taylor, Photographers in Focus

 

Black-necked Stilts, photo by Ingrid Taylar, Photographers in Focus

 

African Penguins released after cleaned of oil Treasure Oil Spill, 200. Photo by Jon Hrusa, Photographers in Focus

 

Clark’s Grebe swims carrying chick, photo by Patricia Ware, Photographers in Focus

 

American Bittern chicks, photo by Marie Travers, Photographers in Focus

 

Greater Flamingo on Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Photo by Yeray Seminario, Photographers in Focus

 

Snowy Egret, photo by Kim Taylor, Photographers in Focus

Baby Western Grebe, photo by Marie Travers, Photographers in Focus

 

Brown Pelican in flight after release in Southern California by International Bird Rescue

Brown Pelican in flight after release in Southern California. Photo by Angie Trumbo – International Bird Rescue