Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

November 17, 2007

First birds released back into the wild

The first batch of washed birds oiled in San Francisco Bay spill 10 days ago successfully returned to the wild Friday afternoon.
Great SF Chronicle video (QuickTime required)

38 birds were released into the Pillar Point Harbor just north of Half Moon Bay. The harbor is 25 miles south of San Francisco.

About of dozen volunteers brought the colorful boxes down to the shoreline. One by one the birds were gently carried into the the calm harbor waters. As on most of these releases, the media nearly outnumbered the birds, staff and volunteers.

Released birds included 25 Eared and Horned Grebes, seven Western and Clark’s Grebes, five Scaups and one Common Murre. The majority of the birds oiled in this spill appear to be Grebes, Scoters and Scaups.

See: San Francisco Chronicle story on first release

As of Friday evening, November 16, nearly 500 birds have been cleaned of oil at the IBRRC/OWCN facility located in the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center at 4369 Cordelia Road in Cordelia, CA.

A total of 970 birds are in care; 1,113 have been found dead in the field by wildlife rescue teams. Search teams ares still working to recover live and dead animals oiled in the spill.

The spill was caused by the Cosco Busan container ship striking the SF Bay Bridge on Nov 7, 2007. A gash on the side of the ship caused 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil to leak out of the 810-foot-long vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard admitted it was slow to report the severity of the spill.

Also see:

CBS 5 TV Report

Washing oiled birds: Almost there

Birds always come first

Ron Sullivan’s Flickr photos of the release

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9 Responses to “First birds released back into the wild”

  1. NIna Nash Says:

    Great job!

  2. towhee Says:

    Thank you to the staff and volunteers for all your hard work– you are making a difference and inspiring others!

  3. Everymatter Says:

    very nice social job done towards the nature. all the staff and volunteers must be awarded for same.

  4. . . . Lisa and Robb . . . Says:

    I’ve been volunteering all week, and I’m so thrilled to read that some birds have been released.

    I’ll be back at work with the birds tomorrow.

  5. Russ @ IBRRC Says:

    Thanks for all your fine comments.

    I was out at the bird release today and it was gratifying to see all those freshly scrubbed birds heading back into the wild.

    The oiled bird care response is really testimony to the hundreds of incredible volunteers who have worked so hard to help the birds.

    It was fitting that a dozen volunteers were chosen for this symbolic release.

  6. gale Says:

    Watching with sadness and anguish from the Maine coast. Thank you Volunteers and thank the birds for enduring.

    There is a special discussion on flickr in a group called
    href=”http://flickr.com/groups/voices/discuss/72157603154354325/”>Voices in the Wilderness
    . Just thought you might like to know.

    I am wondering if the toxicity of the oil will effect these birds internally making them vulnerable even after they have been cleaned?

  7. gale Says:

    sorry the link is not right

  8. Marg Says:

    Fantastic!! It’s great to know some are being released now-I’ve been following it at How’s Robb and want to thank all your wonderful people for volunteering-I wish I could be there to help too

  9. Frank M. Says:

    Thanks so much to the IBRRC and all the volunteers for helping these animals in the aftermath of the oil spill. As a fellow bird and wildlife enthusiast, I am very appreciative of your efforts.

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