Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for June 2009

June 20, 2009

Photo of the Week: Thriving juvenile Killdeer

A member of the public brought this orphaned baby bird into our bird center in Fairfield, CA on May 27. It weighed only 12 grams. Today he weighs 60 grams, and will be released as soon as he can fly.

From the plover family, Killdeers are common to farmlands, lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots. They are useful to farmers because it has a large appetite for pests. Killdeers are classified as shorebirds, although they are often found some distance from water.

If you can help IBRRC with volunteer time, a donation or just a good word, we’d love to hear from you. http://www.ibrrc.org/donate.html

Thanks for your support!

June 20, 2009

Boston bird lovers’ obsession: Photos of hawks

Near perfect Saturday morning video story from the Boston Globe on John Beattie, who photographs red-tailed hawks on Beacon Hill.

Read the full story in June 20, 2009 Boston Globe

June 12, 2009

Big help: DAWN’s Everyday Wildlife Champions

Want to help us save more birds? Checkout the new DAWN “Everyday Wildlife Champions” program that is getting underway this month.

It’s easy: Buy a bottle of DAWN dishwashing liquid at your market this summer, register it online and viola! IBRRC and the Marine Mammal Center in California split a $1 per bottle.

The two wildlife rescue organizations can collectively raise up to $500,000 in this program. And with the current economic climate, every dollar counts. Please won’t you help us? Cleaning dishes never felt so good!

You’ll need to “register” your bottle on DAWN’s website. They just want your bottle ID, your zip code and the store where you purchased the DAWN.

Details at www.dawnsaveswildlife.com

Also see the IBRRC website for more background on our 30 year partnership with DAWN

June 12, 2009

Join Minnie Driver on DAWN’s new Facebook page

Join actress Minnie Driver on Facebook and others as they connect with the DAWN “Everyday Wildlife Champions” program. The promotion contributes 50 cents to IBRRC if you buy and register your purchase.

“Marine wildlife preservation is a significant issue to me, and I’m always looking for ways to become more deeply involved,” says Driver. “I have partnered with Dawn® and Everyday Wildlife Champions™ to further raise awareness for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.”

DAWN is continuing over 30 years of support for wildlife rescue efforts through their national program called “Everyday Wildlife Champions.” This program will allow consumers to become part of the movement to save and preserve our delicate marine ecosystem and the animals that call it home through their purchase of a bottle of Dawn.

With your help, IBRRC and the Marine Mammal Center in California can earn up to $250,000 each in this program to help save more animals.

So get involved and do a good turn. Join the Facebook page now: www.facebook.com/dawnsaveswildlife

June 8, 2009

New video on rescued cormorant chicks & eggs

After being plucked from a huge utility towers in the South San Francisco Bay, double-crested cormorant chicks are being reared and eggs incubated at IBRRC’s bird center in Northern California.

This is the second time we have raised and rehabilitated baby cormorants from eggs. Last year, we raised a small batch of cormorants and had about a 60 percent release rate of wild, healthy juvenile cormorants.

One of our longtime volunteers, Jean, shot this video. Here’s her description:

In the beginning of the video, you can see our large egg incubator. Next you see the youngest chicks, several days old, being fed in an incubator in our ICU unit. They are born naked and blind, but now their eyes are beginning to open. To avoid habituation with humans, we put on a black cape before we feed the chicks. As the one behind the camera, I am also wearing a cape.

The next video clips show increasingly older chicks. The oldest ones in this video were taken from an outdoor cage in a special section of our Pelican Aviary to one of the inside cages, where they will spend the night.

June 7, 2009

Two ducks recovering after "plastic surgery"

This spring, IBRRC’s San Pedro facility took into care two female mallards with head injuries sustained during breeding. Mallards are known for their aggressive mating practices, during which females can become injured or even drown.

Both mallards had extensive trauma to the scalp, with few to no remaining feathers. The skin had become jerky-like and attached to the skull. This tightened area suffered reduced blood flow, which created a risk of infection. In addition, the bird’s vision was occluded due to tension pulling the lower eyelids upward. Without full vision, a mallard is seriously disadvantaged in the wild.

In a procedure akin to “plastic surgery for ducks,” Dr. Heather Nevill and IBRRC staff gave the girls a new lease on life. Called a “sliding advancement flap,” a portion of skin on the head is surgically loosened and pulled forward, allowing blood supply to return and the bird to regain normal use of its eyelids.

The birds are currently recovering at IBRRC and at the end of their rehabilitation will be released to the wild.

Heather Nevill, DVM, is a clinical veternarian and research coordinator for International Bird Rescue Research Center.

June 6, 2009

20 years later: Finding oil from Exxon Valdez

Time Magazine has a story worth reading on the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The piece chronicles scientists studying the remnants of the 11 million gallon spill in the Prince William Sound:

…Here, on Death Marsh, Mandy Lindberg, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Alaska’s Auke Bay, turns over a shovel of sand and broken rock to reveal a glistening pool of brackish oil. The crude can be chemically typed to the Exxon Valdez, and more oil can be found beneath the beach at Death Marsh and at a number of islands around the Sound. “I wouldn’t have possibly believed the oil would last this long,” says Lindberg. “Studying the spill has been a great learning experience, but if we had known in the years after the spill what we know now, we would have been looking for oil much earlier.”

See more: Still Digging Up Exxon Valdez Oil, 20 Years Later

IBRRC report of spill response: Crude awakening

June 6, 2009

If birds ruled the world

This is terrific article from the Washintonian.com:

If birds ruled the world, here’s what they’d do:

First, they’d advise human operators of mowers, pruners, leaf blowers, and sprayers to back off a little. Then they’d ask you to provide more—more shrubs to nest and hide in, more trees, more berries, more flowers to attract insects and produce seeds, more wet leaves to harbor worms, more twigs for nest building.

And that lawn you work so hard on? Birds don’t get the appeal. Stephen W. Kress, writing in The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds, is even a bit harsh: “Lawn itself, especially expansive rolling fields of it, is one of the most destitute bird habitats on earth.”

But you don’t have to turn your garden into an overgrown tangle to attract birds. Most of the things birds prefer will actually make the lives of gardeners easier and their gardens more beautiful. For example, replacing as much lawn grass as you dare with medium-size shrubs and small trees will save you time and money. Should a dandelion or two flower in the remaining turf, at least the goldfinches will be happy.

Read more

June 5, 2009

FAA: Airports need to take bird strikes seriously

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is redoubling efforts to force the nation’s airports to take the threat of bird striking aircraft more seriously.

>> Photo (right) from bird strike at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska after Canada Geese struck a USAF training plane. >>

New efforts by the FAA come on the heals of the bird strike that brought down a US Airways jet earlier this year. The collision with a flock of Canada Geese knocked out both engines and forced the plane to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River. The plane had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport.

Read the story in the USA Today

FAA Bird strike website

June 3, 2009

Alcatraz Island Seabird Celebration Day: June 6th

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, on Saturday, June 6th, IBRRC will be hosting a booth at the Alcatraz Seabird Event! It’s being held on Alcatraz Island from 9:30 am- 4:30 pm. This event is their 4th annual event and is in celebration of International Migratory Bird Day as well as Ocean Day.

Other environmental groups will be present including PRBO, the Golden Gate Raptor Society and the Bay Area Sea Kayakers, to name a few. There will be docents stationed around the island to talk to visitors about the seabirds found on Alcatraz and an opportunity for visitors to check-out binoculars for their visit.

Seabirds are in the middle of seabird nesting season on “The Rock” and this is great time to check out the historical island

They will have a slide show of island birds and a photo gallery of the wildlife on the island, a scavenger hunt for kids, and visitors can stop by to enjoy shade-grown coffee & organic chocolates.

Public ferries leave from Pier 33 about every half hour, beginning at 9 AM. Alcatraz is about a 20-30 minute boat trip from San Francisco. The event usually sells out in advance check the website for times and reservations: http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/.

June 3, 2009

For the birds: Buy Dawn, sign-up online

For 30 years IBRRC has used Dawn to save the lives of birds and other aquatic animals covered in oil. We discovered that Dawn is an effective way to clean and rehab animals—strong enough to remove the oil quickly, but mild on their skin and feathers. And Dawn has been donating their product to us ever since.

And now, Dawn is increasing their support by helping us fund more conservation projects. Through their new Everyday Wildlife Champions campaign, each time you buy a bottle of Dawn and go online to activate your donation using the bottle donation code printed on your bottle, one dollar* is donated to our organization, funding important efforts that strengthen our animal care.

We truly appreciate the continuing support of Dawn. I hope you’ll join us and buy Dawn to help make a difference for animals and the environment.

Jay Holcomb, Executive Director, International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)

*Up to $500,000. You must activate the donation online

June 2, 2009

Fishing line injury study: Pelicans most affected

A recent study has concluded, not surprising, that pelicans suffer the most fishing line injuries. Over 30% of the animals harmed by fish hooks and entangled fishing line were Brown Pelicans.

The report was published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 45(2), 2009, pp. 355–362. The report was authored by Brynie Kaplan Dau including contributors, Jay Holcomb of IBRRC, Kirsten V. K. Gilardi and Michael H. Ziccardi of UC Davis’ Wildlife Health Center.

The study says that pelican injuries caused by fishing gear were most common in the
Monterey Bay region, where 59.6% of the pelicans rescued and admitted to a
rehabilitation center were injured by fishing gear over the 6-yr period.

The highest prevalence of fishing gear–related injury in gulls was documented in the Los Angeles/Orange County region (16.1%), whereas the highest prevalences in pinnipeds (elephant and harbor seals) were seen in the San Diego region (3.7%).

A total of 9,668 cases were included in this study, of which 1,090 (11.3%) were
fishing gear–related injuries.

To reduce risk of injury and death for coastal marine wildlife and people, the SeaDoc Society, a marine ecosystem health program of the University of California Davis Wildlife Health Center, launched the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project in 2005. To date, more than 11 tons of lost fishing gear have been removed from near shore marine waters surrounding the Channel Islands, and hundreds of pounds of recreational fishing gear (such as fishing line and hooks, tackle, and ropes) have been cleaned off public-access fishing piers.

To prevent the reaccumulation of discarded gear at these piers, monofilament disposal stations have been established on many coastal public piers.

The paper was published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases. Read the abstract

June 2, 2009

Rescued cormorant eggs get a chance at life

When the guano droppings from the Double-Crested Cormorants nesting on electric towers began to cause problems for the local utility in the South Bay region of San Francisco Bay, it had to take action to repair the damage. Unfortunately it had to remove some of the nests and eggs to prevent further damage to the electrical infrastructure.

IBRRC was called in to help take care of the birds and is now incubating eggs and rearing some of the cormorant chicks that came from these 5 or 6 towers. So far 30 have hatched.

Plans are now in place to prevent the birds from nesting on the towers in the future so this will not occur again.

In the mean time we are posting pictures of the birds as they grow from egg to adulthood and are released. This is the second time we have raised and rehabilitated baby cormorants from eggs. Last year we raised a small batch of cormorants and had about a 60% release rate of wild, healthy juvenile cormorants.

Follow their growth and rehabilitation with us. See the original posting with more photos on our Facebook site

June 1, 2009

Kids team up to help save more birds

School kids at Andersen Elementary School in Newport Beach, CA took up the challenge with gusto to help International Bird Rescue’s life-saving bird rescue work.

Thanks to an Orange County-based youth organization, Team Kids, IBRRC was one of the nominated organizations to benefit from the ‘Team Kids Challenge,’ a month-long program for schools that empowers young people to be ‘responsible, resilient citizens with a passion for service.’ Each week the children are set a challenge to make a difference to a cause, including homelessness, poverty and the environment.

The class was inspired by the story of 9-year-old Haley Gee who collected coins in 2007 to help birds affected by the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay. Each class at the Orange County school collected aluminum cans, plastic bottles and spare change. In total their environmental week efforts raised $90.67 for IBRRC.

To everyone at Andersen Elementary School, on behalf of all the birds we help, thank you for taking up the challenge!