Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for December 2007

December 30, 2007

Update: New Year’s "Jazz for the Birds" concert

Do you want to show your support for the birds this New Year’s Day? Then attend the benefit concert “Jazz for the Birds” this Tuesday, January 1, 2008 in Oakland featuring grammy-nominated pianist Matt Herskowitz.

The mostly jazz concert will be held at 7 PM at the Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave. Oakland 94611. The suggested donation is $10-$20 per person. The venue holds 200 people, so please don’t be late!

Map to concert site

The updated list of musicians includes Herskowitz, flutist Carol Alban, vocalists Kenny Washington, Laurie Antonioli and Mary D’Orazi, cellist Suellen Primost, flutists Nancy Tyler, Antonia David and Ann Licater, bassists Dave Lockhart and Randy Marshall, drummer Greg German and Ed Bell on sax. (Matt Herskowitz photo, right)

All money raised will go for IBRRC’s local and international bird rescue efforts.

For more information, please call: (510) 542-7517. Or see the following websites:

Benefit for the Birds

Matt Herskowitz site

December 29, 2007

2500 bird deaths in spill

As the Cosco Busan spill response finally comes to an end, the official tally for bird deaths reached 2,500. This includes 1,851 birds collected dead since the November 7th oil spill. Another 649 birds died or were euthanized during initial treatment at the joint OWCN/IBRRC wildlife hospital in Cordelia, CA.

On a happier note, 404 of the birds oiled in the San Francisco Bay spill were cleaned and successfully returned to the wild.

December 29, 2007

Any oil at the bottom of San Francisco Bay?

To be on the safe side, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will check to see if any oil settled on the bottom of San Francisco Bay near the site of last month’s Cosco Busan 58,000 gallon oil spill.

According the corps, the swabbing of the bay’s bottom will give it a better idea how far the bunker oil spread when the Cosco Bussan side-swiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007. The resulting spill spread through the bay and ultimately oiled beaches south past Pacifica to north around Point Reyes.

The oil spill was especially tough on birds in the bay. At least 2,500 birds died during the response.

Read the story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Full coverage of Oil Spill

December 22, 2007

Rest and be merry

This blog is going to take a break. After seven weeks of trying to keep things current, a hoilday break is order. Yes this olde blogger is tired.

Before I rest, I want to acknowledge all the incredible volunteers that have supported IBRRC’s efforts during the Cosco Busan oil spill and the Mystery Spill that hit Monterey Bay. Without the tireless help of a squadron of dedicated volunteers, the spill response would have been much worse. Everyday people took time off from work, changed their vacation plans and even skipped Thanksgiving to help care for the birds. As of this week, some were still helping out at IBRRC/OWCN center in Cordelia.

While the center is slowly being decommissioned from the spill, the lasting effects from the November 7th oil spill will most likely linger for years to come. Nearly 2,500 birds died and more will surely be found dead – some fear the number may reach 20,000. Many of us weeped at the shear number of animals harmed by this man made mess. But the trained rehabilitators carried on…searching for and capturing oiled birds; Washing the stick mess off the birds and then ultimately releasing the ones that made it through a delicate but stressful situation.

Many of staff of IBRRC have been involved in 100-200 spills in their lifetime and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Each spill has its own character set with the political and social constructs. Add the frailties of the human abilities and spirit and you’ve got one great “Movie of the Week”.

However, each spill is reminder that more people care about the natual environment than we often realize. They contribute time and money, question our government’s effectiveness and response and make it know that birds are as important to the world as the air we breathe. For this we’re grateful.

Have a great holiday.

December 21, 2007

Good riddance: Cosco Busan sails out of port

Chased by lawsuits, the Cosco Busan ship that side-swiped the San Francisco Bay Bridge, finally headed back to South Korea.

The ship sailed out of San Francisco on a crsytal clear day on Thursday morning. Numerous lawsuits will follow the owners of the ship, including a big lawsuit filed by the city of San Francisco.

The Hong Kong based Cosco Busan spilled 58,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into the San Francisco Bay after it struck the bridge on November 7, 2007. Nearly 2,500 birds were killed in the spill.

It had been at a Pier 70 ship repair yard to fix the 230-foot gash in its port side. Regal Stone, the owner of the 900-foot ship, put up a $80 million note to cover the maritime release bond. Most of that bond will help pay the total cleanup costs on the spill which have been estimated at more than $60 million.

(Coast Guard photo of the gash; Yes it’s been repaired)

December 19, 2007

Birds released hits the 400 mark

This week the release of cleaned birds back to the wild hit the 400 number mark. On Tuesday morning December 18, a team from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network released 4 birds – 2 horned grebes and 2 surf scoters – at San Pablo Bay. All the birds came in from the Cosco Busan oil spill that struck San Francisco Bay on November 7.

Rehabilitation continues for those birds in care with secondary problems, including
hock, keel and foot lesions. Releases will continue as birds come off of
medical care.

December 15, 2007

New Year’s Day benefit concert: "Jazz for the Birds"

IBRRC is pleased to announce a New Year’s Day benefit concert “Jazz for the Birds” in Oakland featuring grammy-nominated pianist Matt Herskowitz. (See his photo on the right)

The concert will be held Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 7 pm at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave. Oakland 94611. The suggested donation is $10-$20 per person. Map to concert site

The mostly jazz program features Herskowitz, flutist Carol Alban, guitarist Jack Gates, vocalists Laurie Antonioli, Mary Fineman, Alvenson Moore, Jeff Suits and Mary D’Orazi, flutists Nancy Tyler, Antonia David and Ann Licater, cellist Suellen Primost, bassists Dave Lockhart (upright) and Randy Marshall (electric), drummer Greg German and other surprise guest musicians.

All money raised will go for IBRRC’s local and international bird rescue efforts.

For more information, please call: (510) 542-7517. Or see the following websites:

Benefit for the Birds

Matt Herskowitz site

December 14, 2007

Angel Island reopens with an asterisk

At least six weeks after the Cosco Busan oil spill struck San Francisco Bay, the popular beaches at Angel Island will reopen on Saturday.

The reopening is with an asterisk. State officials are warning visitors there still may be tar balls of oil remaining on the island beaches. The same oil killed thousands of birds and marred miles of coastline.

Angel Island is the largest island in San Francisco Bay. It’s beaches were closed shortly after the November 7, 2007 oil spill. The spill was caused when a South Korea bound container ship, the Cosco Busan, struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge dumping 58,000 gallons of bunker oil.

There are some bay area beaches that are still closed, including Rodeo Beach and Pirates Cove in Marin County. Point Isabel and Eastshore State Park are expected to open by the end of next week.
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Some other areas of the bay have been slow to be cleaned. In fact in the East Bay, many locals and bird watchers are still complaining of insufficient cleanup around the shoreline in Richmond. See the CBS-5-TV report

December 14, 2007

Banning bunker fuel: Tread lightly expert says

An environmental chemist looking into the rush to ban the use of bunker fuel on ships, says the alternatives, especially diesel can be harder to cleanup. Christopher Reddy’s Open Forum piece in the San Francisco Chronicle and is worth a careful read:

“…Bunker oil is highly viscous, sticky, and floats. Bunker oil spills are visually obvious but the very nature of this product allows it to be cleaned up easier than diesel fuel. It can be boomed, skimmed and oil-covered objects along shorelines, often called dirty bathtub rings, can be removed. Diesel fuel is less viscous and harder to contain and recover. Once in the water, diesel insinuates itself into the lifecycles of plants and animals. Toxicity is always difficult to define, but in a relative manner, diesel fuel is significantly more lethal than bunker fuel.

Pure vegetable fuels and biodiesel are attractive alternatives but are not perfect. One marine spill of vegetable oil in Europe left behind a polymerized residue that one scientist argued was more persistent than petroleum fuels. Another spill of vegetable oil in Canada resulted in a large kill of birds. Biodiesel is used to formulate a range of mixtures from B2 (2 percent biodiesel mixed with 98 percent petroleum diesel) to B100 (100 percent biodiesel). While the biocomponent of biodiesel mixtures is much safer and less persistent in the environment, anything less than B100 will contain petroleum diesel with the same negative attributes…”

Read onward

December 13, 2007

Cleaned of oil, Red-tailed Hawks back home

In the “lets make it right” category. Please take a look at the wonderful release of two young red-tailed hawks oiled in the aftermath of the Cosco Busan oil spill last month. They were cleaned of oil at our facility in Cordelia and spent weeks in treatment at WildCare in San Rafael.

As many know already, raptors saw the spill as a golden opportunity to feed on oiled, weak and dying birds along the San Francisco Bay shorelines. What came natural to theses hawks probably has killed many more.

The release of these lucky red-tails this week is testimony to the power of humans trying to heal the balance of nature that we all have altered.

The photos and audio are from Jeff Vendsel a gifted photographer at the Marin Indepedent Journal. See the slide show

Read the full story