Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for April 2013

April 30, 2013

Up for a Wash: Oiled Mourning Dove nestlings

Dove1-Kylie Clatterbuck
Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck

Last Friday, International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center received two nestling Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) from a worker at a local gas company. Their nest had been sprayed with a small amount of oil, and unfortunately they were contaminated. Center manager Julie Skoglund (pictured below) and staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr washed the duo on Saturday, and after the successful procedure, they were sent to California Wildlife Center in Calabasas to continue their rehabilitation. Staff rehab technician Kylie Clatterbuck took these images of the nestlings during their care.

Both our centers are seeing influxes in baby birds. For instance, at our San Francisco Bay center, staff have received 260 Mallard ducklings and 20 Canada goslings since April 20. We expect a busy year!

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Dove2-Kylie Clatterbuck

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April 29, 2013

This Mother’s Day, send a duckling message to dear Mom!

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching! And chances are that Mom is a wildlife lover, too. A symbolic duckling adoption is a meaningful way to show your gratitude in honor or in memory of Mom.

This year, we’ve created a customized, vintage e-postcard that comes with any duckling adoption of $25. With Duckling mugyour gift, we’ll email this postcard to Mom — or to another recipient in memory of Mom — by this Friday. And your personalized message will be included in this custom e-postcard!

International Bird Rescue’s wildlife care centers in California care for hundreds of Mallard Ducklings each year. Orphaned and without their mother, they each need food, warmth and TLC before they’re big enough to be released into the wild.

Update: We have a goal of 50 duckling adoptions by the end of this week, and we’re currently about two-thirds of the way there. Can you help us meet this goal and care for these ducklings?

Note: While can still also send a hard mail copy of the postcard to Mom, please note that mailings may not arrive in time for Mother’s Day. All e-postcards will be emailed out by Friday, May 10.

Warmest Wishes this Mother’s Day,

International Bird Rescue


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April 25, 2013

Green Heron feeding session

Thanks to Cheryl Reynolds and Isabel Luevano for filming feeding time at our San Francisco Bay center!


April 22, 2013

Pelican release at Terranea Resort, Earth Day weekend 2013

During this past winter, a number of California Brown Pelicans were reported to have traveled well north of their usual habitat – British Columbia, to be exact.

Several of these birds settled in Victoria’s inner harbour, and three were found to have parasites, frostbite, and in the case of one pelican, wounds that may have been from fishing hook injuries.

After weeks of planning and the securing of appropriate permits, the birds were flown south via commercial jet cargo to International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles wildlife care center, which is equipped with the large aviaries necessary to successfully treat aquatic birds of this size. These pelicans were released at Terranea Resort in nearby Rancho Palos Verdes on April 20, 2013.

Photos and video by Bill Steinkamp. Music by Wired Ant. View the full-size video here.


Find out how you can get involved with pelicans through our Pelican Partner program.

April 21, 2013

Wrapped in cuteness: Barn Owl hatchling

This Barn Owl hatchling made its debut this week at International Bird Rescue!

On April 11, two Barn Owl eggs were delivered to International Bird Rescue from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. Both eggs were placed in IBR’s state-of-the-art egg incubator. And then … we waited.

On the afternoon of April 18, one of the eggs had begun pipping as the tiny chick inside started to peck its way out of its shell. By the time staff had arrived the following morning, a check on things in the incubator revealed that this little bird had completely broken through and had hatched.

International Bird Rescue often partners with other local wildlife rehabilitators like the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. In this case, we were able to help by providing the special incubator and optimum environment for this egg to hatch. Working collaboratively with other centers ensures that we are all able to provide the highest and most comprehensive care to the animals that need it.

While this baby owl has now been transferred back to the raptor experts at Lindsay Wildlife Museum for care and feeding, many other orphaned and injured baby birds continue to arrive at our wildlife centers. Through the generosity and caring of our donors, these little chicks receive a warm and cozy enclosure and regular feeding and care until they are able to fend for themselves in the wild. We are very grateful for your support.


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April 19, 2013

Daily rounds: Domestic Goose with large facial mass


Consider it the month of the goose for International Bird Rescue. As local media helped us to solve a cruelty case involving a goose shot through the neck with an arrow, we also received into care this Domestic Goose from a feral population at a housing development near Suisun Marina, one much beloved by the locals who monitor the flock.

As you can see, the bird was observed at the Suisun Marina in January of this year with a large mass on its face. After several months of attempts to capture the bird and get it the medical attention it clearly needed, local rescuers were able to bring the bird to our center for care on April 7.

On our initial exam, the bird was found to be very thin, although with no other injuries other than the large mass on its head. Prior to surgery, the team attempted to make the goose comfortable, as the mass was pulling the facial skin to the right, making it difficult for the bird to blink. X-rays were taken to determine if the goose had any additional tumors/masses that could be seen on X-ray. No other masses were found, and the bird was scheduled for surgery the following day.

Veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr performed the “lumpectomy” surgery on April 8. The surgery went very well, despite some significant blood loss. The bird recovered well and immediately began drinking and preening — behavior that it may well have been struggling with when the tumor was attached to its head. The tumor weighed 70g, nearly what we would expect the bird’s entire head to weigh.

The mass has been sent to a laboratory to perform histopathology (microscopic examination of tissue) on it. This will let us know if the mass was a tumor or an abscess. If it was a tumor, the test will determine whether it’s malignant.

Post-surgery, the bird is recovering well, although we are closely monitoring its ability to self-feed in addition to monitoring the surgical site. It’s currently housed in an aviary with a companion bird: the goose recovering from an arrow wound.

April 17, 2013

Earth Day events this Saturday: Celebrate with us!

IMG_0957-LPhoto by Bill Steinkamp

Saturday, April 20, marks the three-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s also a day of events celebrating Earth Day 2013 (which falls on Monday), and a time to renew our commitment and responsibility to the environment and to wildlife.

International Bird Rescue is participating in several events on the West Coast. Want to join us? Here’s the download:

pelican1. Los Angeles area: Pelican release at Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes


We’re excited to join our friends at Terranea for an inaugural pelican release at their wonderful oceanside resort!

Where: Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes (see map below, zoom as needed). The Release will take place at the resort’s Cove. We may have multiple Brown Pelicans to release back into their natural habitat in celebration of this day.

When: Saturday at 10am

Terranea Resort will provide validated parking for guests of the release. Guests can bring their tickets to the Pointe Discovery area of the resort where staff can validate.

For more information on the resort, click here. International Bird Rescue executive director Jay Holcomb will be on hand to answer questions about these birds and provide their backstory.

Donations to International Bird Rescue by guests in attendance for the release are most welcomed!



2. San Francisco Bay Area: John Muir Birthday-Earth Day Celebration


We’ll be on hand at this great festival, which features music, a silent auction, tours of John Muir’s 1882 Victorian home and a keynote lecture by wildlife expert and Contra Costa Times columnist Gary Bogue.

Where: John Muir National Historical Site in Martinez (see map below). Free parking at Martinez Adult School.

When: Saturday, April 20th from 10am to 4pm.


Looking for other Earth Day events? The Sierra Club has a good list of what’s going on, for starters. Find more happenings via KQED for Northern California as well as info on WorldFest in Los Angeles.

April 17, 2013

The Release Files: Great Egret

This Great Egret (Ardea alba) was treated for multiple wing fracture and a leg wound in spring 2013. Here, Los Angeles center manager Julie Skoglund releases the bird. Video by Dr. Rebecca Duerr.

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April 16, 2013

In Malibu, a gorgeous murre release


In these trying times, an image of simple compassion and care can have a profound effect on the viewer. Here’s one that recently moved us:

This past weekend, International Bird Rescue rehabilitation technician Kelly Berry released five Common Murres at the Malibu Pier. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that our Los Angeles center received a heavy influx of oiled seabirds earlier this year, mostly Common Murres that were found beached along the Southern California coast.

Our favorite detail of this release: “Once all of the birds were in the ocean, they jointly made the signature Murre call and headed out to the open ocean,” Berry reports. “This photo was their last look at the shore.”

Thanks to Kelly’s husband, Paul, for taking such a memorable shot.


See more on the murre influx from winter 2013 here.

April 14, 2013

Birds of a feather knit together

BE120408_01“When life starts to unravel, get your knitting sticks out and stitch it up.” ~ Unknown

Love to knit? Then we’ve got a great way to stock up on some great knitting yarn and help save birds at the same time.

In honor of Earth Day 2013, Knit Picks will donate a $1 for every unit sold of their recycled wool line. That’s 15% off their usual prices!

We’re so grateful to Knit Picks for choosing International Bird Rescue as their Earth Day beneficiary this year.

May the knitting be with you!


April 12, 2013

Photographers in Focus: Yeray Seminario

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A Black-backed Jackal and a Rüppell’s Vulture fight for the right to feed on a dead buffalo near Lake Nakuru, Kenya. All images © Yeray Seminario.

Yeray-SeminarioAdmit it: Your pulse has gone up a few notches.

Viewing this Rüppell’s Vulture looming large as it defends its carrion find from a jackal (one dwarfed by comparison), can provoke a physiological response. And if that’s not a hallmark of exemplary wildlife photography, we don’t know what is.

Your skeptic’s brain may have also kicked in: Is this photoshopped? Is this bird the stuff of myths? The answer to both questions is No. Rüppell’s Vultures were prominently featured using bird’s-eye cameras in director John Downing’s recent documentary Winged Planet. Listed as an endangered species by the IUCN in part due to habitat loss, this spectacular scavenger has a wingspan of up to 8.5 feet and can soar at the altitudes of a private jet.

The photographer behind this shot is Yeray Seminario, our April Photographer in Focus. Seminario, a wildlife veterinarian who interned with International Bird Rescue in 2007 and lives in Tarifa, Spain, recently spent some time with us to share some of his favorite photos from the global field.

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Seminario: The impressive scenery of the abandoned palaces in India is a great background for this critically endangered Long-billed Vulture.

Camera-worthy countries

Seminario: Every country has its distinctive flavor, a particular light that gets reflected in the pictures you take. To me, I find them all enjoyable, but in terms of pure wildlife, Kenya is probably the one that provides more opportunities to capture images of birds and mammals interacting in an open, natural environment.

There are some other characteristics of a country that can inspire you in different ways and make you feel at ease when taking pictures. India and Nepal are probably the second best to me after Kenya, as I feel more “in tune” there. Also, I live in a great place for birding and photography! In Tarifa (the southernmost tip of Spain and Europe) there are always good numbers of raptors around that make it a really exciting place to live if you are into birds and photography.

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One of the highlights for any bird lover in a trip to the great country of Senegal is the Egyptian Plover.

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After almost four years working with the Orange-breasted Falcon in Belize, I got to see them pretty close.

Images that inspire

It is the work of others that inspires me most! I try to think about the technical aspects of the shot, and how the photographer captures the essence of the moment. That said, I am quite happy with the series of pictures that I have of the Orange-breasted Falcon, a species I worked with for almost four years. Some of the locations where I observed them are quite remote and difficult to access, with rain, heat and insects.

Looking at those pictures brings me back to those real wild places where I enjoyed an intimate relation with nature. I hope some of my pictures will help spark an interest in other people to visit some of these places, learn more about these birds and be aware of the conservation issues they face.

You can see some of my pictures on Whitehawk and on my personal website, Light as Feathers.

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Deserts don’t hold a high number of species, but those that survive such harsh conditions are quite charismatic, like these Trumpeter Finches drinking in a small puddle in Morocco.

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Short-eared Owl, Tarifa, Spain

Camera of choice

I use a Canon 7D most of the time, which I found to be an improvement from my previous 50D. I have a modest array of lenses, including the 300mm f/4 with a 1.4X converter, which I use to take pictures of birds and other wildlife. Of course, I would love to have a 400mm or 500mm to have more reach, but I’m quite happy with my equipment, as I can take it with me in a backpack just about anywhere, whether to a high peak in the Himalayas or a sand dune in the Sahara Desert, which I imagine would be more difficult with a heavier lens.

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This young leopard almost jumped into the middle of the road while driving in Kenya. It stayed for a minute and came back into the bush. To see one of these magnificent animals is always a privilege, and to be just a few meters away from such a beauty feels exhilarating.

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Lake Naivasha, Kenya is home to several species of birds, including this Greater Flamingo. This spectacular freshwater lake is being threatened by an extensive flower industry. These huge gardens provide colorful flowers to Northern Europe while draining the lake in the process.

Photographic challenges

I find it very challenging to shoot in the rainforest, where quite often there’s very little light. I’m now trying to improve my skills using a flash in poor light conditions, which I find not easy to control to get the desired results. Of course, when birds are in flight, especially if they are fast and small, like swifts, makes it quite difficult to frame the bird and get a sharp shot.

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Western Banded Snake Eagle seen in the Gambia River, Senegal

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Scarlet-rumped Tanager, Panama

Animal rescue

As you are in the field taking pictures and observing birds most of the time, you find the most diverse injuries in a wide variety of species. Sometimes you can reach them and take them to the nearest rescue center, sometimes not. One of the most incredible things I can remember right now was a Black Stork that had no beak at all! She was flying with a small flock of Black Storks on their way to Africa, but I can’t imagine she could have survived long.

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Orange-breasted Falcon in flight, Belize

For the beginner

My advice to a novice photographer would be to just get out there and take as many pictures as possible. Find a subject you like and experiment with different apertures, settings, times of day and different ways to frame the same shot. I think this is the best way to learn. Reading books about photography, of any kind, helps a lot too. Actually, I should follow this advice more often!

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Northern Gannet in Tarifa, Spain, one of the best places in the world to enjoy bird migration


If you would like to be considered as a featured wildlife photographer for International Bird Rescue, or would like to recommend a photographer for this regular feature, please e-mail Andrew Harmon at Andrew.Harmon@Bird-Rescue.org.

And check out some of our previous featured photographers, including Jackie Wollner of Los Angeles, Matt Bryant of Florida, Robyn Carter of New Zealand and Christopher Taylor of Venice, Calif.

Hat tip to Julie Skoglund for nominating Yeray for this installment.

We welcome people from all countries to come and learn at one of our rehabilitation programs. For information on our International Internship Program, click here.

April 11, 2013

An update on arrowed goose’s recovery


We’re pleased to report that the Greylag Goose recently brought to International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center with an arrow wound through its neck is doing well.

Center Manager Michelle Bellizzi informs us that the goose has “graduated to a water-based aviary in preparation for his/her placement/return to Napa Wildlife,” the organization that had captured the bird and brought it to us for surgery and care (read more on this bird’s treatment and surgery by Dr. Rebecca Duerr here).

According to local reports, an individual has stepped forward in this incident. Via Napa Valley Register, which was a key media source in solving this case:

A 14-year-old boy who lives along the Napa River admitted shooting a Graylag goose in the neck with an arrow in late March, Napa County Sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said Wednesday.

The boy said he meant to shoot the rubber-tipped practice arrow into the ground to shoo a gaggle of geese away from the family’s yard, she said.


“The young man was visibly upset, very remorseful about hurting the goose and has no history of similar behavior,” Stuart said.

The case was discussed with a prosecutor from the Napa County District Attorney’s Office, Stuart said. “It is likely that the young man will be devoting many hours to community service, helping and learning about animals,” she said.

Read the full article here.

Unfortunately, cases like this one are rarely solved. According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS):

—Wildlife officials estimate that nationwide, tens of millions of animals are killed illegally each year.

—It is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poached animals come to the attention of law enforcement.

In California, animal cruelty is a felony and police take animal cruelty cases seriously. With the goose and arrow as evidence, the Napa Police began a criminal investigation and the HSUS put up a reward of $5,000 for evidence leading to arrest (null in this case, as the offender turned himself in).

Many individuals and organizations came together to help this goose, including:photo-1

—Kerana Todorov, crime reporter at the Napa Valley Register (follow her on Twitter @NVRkerana)

—Michelle Anderson at Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County and her rescue team

—Jennifer Fearing at HSUS (@JenniferFearing)

—Nick Janes, reporter at CBS 13 Sacramento (@nick_janes)

—Sargent Oscar Ortiz, Napa Police Animal Services

—Rebecca Duerr, DVM MPVM at International Bird Rescue

—Our volunteers and staff who have cared for this beautiful Greylag Goose, now looking for a safe and proper home! Karen Benzel

April 10, 2013

First of the season: killdeer

This juvenile killdeer is currently in care at our San Francisco Bay center. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds.

See our latest count of birds in care here.

Baby Kildeer at SFB Center

April 9, 2013

In care at our Los Angeles center: The international pelican trio


Last week, International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center received a trio of international patients: three Brown Pelicans that had been in the care of Wild ARC and several fellow animal organizations in British Columbia.

Via the Victoria Times-Colonist:

They missed spring break in Malibu, but three brown pelicans will finally head south today after undergoing treatment at the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin.

Two of the birds were left behind by a flock of about 15 adults and juveniles that hit Greater Victoria in early December, hanging out in the Inner Harbour and getting fed by members of the public.

While most eventually migrated, one male and one female were too weak to make the trip.

They had frostbite on their feet and parasites and were generally in poor condition when rescued by the B.C. SPCA’s Wild ARC in January.

The third bird was found in Tofino in early December. She had parasites and head wounds, possibly inflicted by a predator.

(Read the full article here.)

Given International Bird Rescue’s expertise in the care of pelicans and other aquatic birds, animal caregivers decided the birds would be best served at our facilities.

Upon arrival on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles last week, the birds were taken to IBR’s facility in San Pedro. Staff rehabilitation technician Kylie Clatterbuck reports that overall, the pelicans are doing well in our large aviary: One of these juvenile birds is already flying perch to perch (the full length of the enclosure) and the others are getting very good lift and flying the length of the aviary pool. All three will undergo comprehensive flight conditioning before they evaluated for release.

Thanks to the team at Wild ARC and to Pacific Coastal Airlines for donating the flight from Victoria to Vancouver. These animals will be featured on an upcoming wildlife show, we’ll give you the details as soon as we have them!

Photos courtesy Kylie Clatterbuck

BRPE1-Kylie Clatterbuck



April 5, 2013

Humane Society offers $5,000 reward in case of Greylag Goose shot with arrow


Update: An individual has stepped forward in this incident, read more at the Napa Valley Register. We are grateful for the resolution of this case and will post more updates as soon as we can. Below is the original release on the cruelty incident:


As we wrote on Wednesday, a Greylag Goose was shot with a target arrow in Napa and brought to International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center last week for surgery (the bird is now recovering).

Thanks to The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, a $5,000 reward has been offered in the case — see HSUS’ press release below for more information.

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Reward Offered for Goose Shooting in Napa, Calif.

(April 4, 2013) – The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally shooting a Greylag goose with an arrow in Napa, Calif.

According to International Bird Rescue, on Wed., March 27 around 5:30 p.m., Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County received calls about an injured Greylag goose on the Napa River between 1st St. and the Yacht Club. The goose had been shot through the neck with an arrow bearing the initials ‘K.H.’ and was taken to the International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center for surgery the following day. She is currently recovering.

“This act of wanton cruelty demands legal justice,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Napa County Sheriff’s Department for its efforts to find those responsible.”

Anyone with information concerning the shooting of the goose is asked to call the Napa County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 253-4451.


—Wildlife officials estimate that nationwide, tens of millions of animals are killed illegally each year.

—It is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poached animals come to the attention of law enforcement.

—Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.

—The HSUS and HSWLT work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $5,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.

—The HSUS and HSWLT work to curb poaching across the county. The HSUS recently doubled its standard poaching reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from HSUS board member Cathy Kangas and her husband Ed Kangas of New Canaan, Conn.


Media coverage: Thanks to CBS13 Sacramento and the Napa Valley Register for covering this story.

Want to help support this bird’s care and recovery? Click on birdrescue.org/donate and join our team.