Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for September 2013

September 30, 2013

More than one year after cruel attack, a Brown Pelican soars high again

Peli IMG_0210-L
Photos by Bill Steinkamp

Human cruelty incidents against Brown Pelicans are among the most heartbreaking cases our wildlife team sees. As this seminal 1992 Los Angeles Times article on the problem shows so vividly, such cruelty is longstanding, and unfortunately it continues to this day.

But such stories sometimes have happy endings. Over the weekend, we had the distinct pleasure of releasing a healthy, rehabilitated Brown Pelican, one that had been subjected to wing clipping more than a year ago (the perpetrator or perpetrators have not been found).

This bird originally came to our San Francisco Bay center in July of 2012 at only about four months of age, and weighed far less than an average four-month-old pelican. Sadly, its damaged feathers rendered the bird unable to fly, and therefore to hunt. With the pelican under anesthesia, the cut feathers were plucked to encourage new feather growth.

This spring, we transferred the bird to our Los Angeles center to continue its rehabilitation. And after 14 months in care, this pelican was successfully released alongside a fellow pelican on September 28 at Terranea Resort’s cove in Rancho Palos Verdes, not far from our L.A. center.

Click here for video of the release from Michelle Valles of NBC4 Los Angeles, who interviews center manager Julie Skoglund.

Keep an eye out for this pelican! As part of our Blue-Banded Pelican Project, this animal has a blue band reading “V50.” For more info on reporting Blue-Banded Pelicans, as well as our sighting contest that continues through October 14, click here.

Peli IMG_0131-L

Peli IMG_0195-L

Peli IMG_0202-L

Peli IMG_0203-L

Peli IMG_0221-L

September 26, 2013

Update: Blue-footed Booby released!

Blue-footed Booby IMG_0084-L
Photo by Bill Steinkamp

Last week, we wrote about a juvenile Blue-footed Booby brought to our Los Angeles center after it was found wandering in a South L.A. neighborhood. This is one of many such birds seen along the California coast, where they are rare visitors. Many experts believe that the birds are coming north in search of fish (click here for an article in the Los Angeles Times).

This booby was found to be thin with minor abrasions. In the video below, we document the bird’s evaluation and release off the coast of San Pedro. Film and images by Bill Steinkamp.

Thanks to the Los Angeles Times, KABC, KCBS and many other outlets for covering this unique case!

Read the original blog post on this bird here.

Sustaining-Members Basic-Membership 3

September 23, 2013

Great Blue Heron released at Ballona Wetlands

A Great Blue Heron leaping to freedom when released at Ballona Creek, photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

If you love Great Blue Herons, we know you’ll fully appreciate the resiliency of one amazing bird recently in our care.

A few months ago, International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center received a heron with dual misfortunes: It was both oiled and suffering from GHBEsubsequent burns on about 25% of its body.

Our wildlife rehab technician team washed the animal, and our veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, surgically repaired the bird’s most severe injury where the skin along its spine was dead and adhered to the spine itself. Surgical procedures were also necessary to heal a wound on the bird’s keel as well as a thigh wound that required debridement to remove dead muscle tissue and a skin graft.

After many weeks of healing, this heron was released at the Ballona Wetlands in Los Angeles, home to a wide array of birds, including egrets, grebes and many species of shorebirds. Rehabilitation technician Kylie Clatterbuck reports that the bird was released at a spot in the wetlands where there was another Great Blue Heron nearby, as well as a Great Egret.

Below, you can see this heron in its new habitat, as well as a photo of the bird upon its initial exam at our Los Angeles center.

Heron release photo by Kylie Clatterbuck; inset photo by Paul Berry

September 18, 2013

A blue-footed celebrity!

Blue-footed Booby2
Photos by Kelly Berry

If you’ve been following the news in California, you likely know that the region is in early stages of Blue-footed Booby fever.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a recent “invasion” by Blue-footed Boobies that have been spotted up and down the California coast. One bird was even found in an L.A. neighborhood miles from shore and brought to International Bird Rescue’s center in the San Pedro neighborhood.

Via LAT’s Louis Sahagun:Blue-footed-booby

The sightings include one reported to Los Angeles Animal Services after the bird was found waddling along a sidewalk near 2nd and West Slauson avenues south of downtown. On Tuesday, the emaciated juvenile was recovering in a spacious waterfowl pen at the International Bird Rescue Center in San Pedro, gulping small fish by the dozens.

“He’s still really skinny,” Kylie Clatterbuck, a rehabilitation technician at the facility, said as the booby preened nearby. “We’re going to fatten him up a little bit, then find a nice spot to release him.” (Read the full article here.)

We’ll keep you posted on this special bird, which has since been transferred to an outdoor aviary with a large pool.

More coverage:

LAist: Blue-footed Boobies invade SoCal

SoCalWild: A bevy of boobys for SoCal

NBC4: Rare Blue-footed Booby mysteriously appears in L.A. County

Santa Cruz Sentinel: Blue-footed Booby makes unexpected stop in Monterey Bay

L.A. Observed: Boobies of the blue-footed kind are all over L.A. now


Update: Volunteer photographer Bill Steinkamp stopped by the center on Thursday to snap a few photos of the booby, now in one of our larger aviaries that also houses pelicans and gulls.

BFB IMG_9950-L

BFB IMG_9968-L

BFB IMG_9994-L

BFB IMG_9988-L

BFB IMG_9972-L

September 18, 2013

Save the date: The Wine Country Optics and Nature Festival is on October 20

Optics Flyer #2

International Bird Rescue is thrilled to be at the incredibly popular Wine Country Optics and Nature Festival on October 20. See you there!

Event info via SonomaBirding.com:

Meet the company experts from Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, Nikon, Pentax, Kowa, Opticron, Celestron and more. Experience the newest spotting scope, cameras and binoculars on the market! Nearly one thousand people attended the event at Cornerstone Sonoma last year. Stroll through award winning gardens, shops and visit with over 25 major nature nonprofits from around San Francisco Bay. Biggest optics show in Northern CA. Don’t miss it! Download the Optics Flier to lear more. Cornerstone Sonoma is located at 23570 Arnold Dr. Sonoma, CA 95476 – Driving Directions


September 17, 2013

Rails in care

Photos by Kelly Berry

International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center has recently cared for two rails — marsh-dwelling birds of the family Rallidae. One is a Virginia Rail, the other, shown above, a Sora.

A member of the public brought in this Sora in early September, having found the bird in a backyard pool. Thankfully, it was in good shape (if a little thin): Our staff moved the Sora into an inside enclosure, where its health was closely monitored (about a year ago, we had another Sora in care, read more here).

Below, we snapped a few photos of the Sora’s release into local habitat.



Two days after the Sora came into care, we also received the Virginia Rail pictured below. Staff volunteer coordinator Neil Uelman reports that another member of the public had brought us this bird, found near the mouth of the San Gabriel River and thought to have been attacked by a cat. “Upon intake, the bird was missing a large chunk of feathers from the top if its head,” Uelman reports. “Other than that, the bird was found to be in good shape, and no visible signs of puncture wounds were found. The bird was started on antibiotics and moved to an inside enclosure,” where it remains in care.


September 16, 2013

The volunteer experience at International Bird Rescue

International Bird Rescue volunteers perform a variety of crucial tasks that make our centers run, from animal care to all-important administrative support. Here, Jeri, one of our wonderful volunteers at the Los Angeles center, talks about how she got involved and where she helps out.

Click here to find out more about the volunteer program.

American Coot chick at SF Bay Center
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

September 12, 2013

A window into wildlife rehab for vet students

Dr. Rebecca Duerr (second from left) coaching veterinary students in physical examination and fluid administration skills in a hands-on lab at the NWRA Wildlife Medicine Course

Our veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, spent this past weekend enjoying the hospitality of Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind. while co-teaching the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association’s Wildlife Medicine Course with Dr. Erica Miller. Forty-four 1st– to 3rd-year veterinary students learned about the legalities of working with wildlife, what rehabilitation is all about and how it differs from domestic animal practice. Other topics covered in lectures and hands-on labs included physical examination, triage and critical care, bandaging, orphan care, wildlife nutrition, common medical problems of reptiles, and common diseases of wild mammals and birds. All-in-all, it was a busy but productive weekend!

September 12, 2013

The International Bird Rescue membership campaign: Win a pelican iPhone cover!

Stephanie Kiker Designs-iPhone Cover

headerbarInternational Bird Rescue is fortunate to have some truly amazing small business sponsors. For this week’s shout-out, we highlight the work of Stephanie Kiker, a North Carolina-based designer who has donated beautiful, illustrated pelican iPhone cases for our membership drive (available in both iPhone 4/4S and 5 models).

Any member donor who has given in 2013 is eligible to win, as well as any new members this week.  Become an International Bird Rescue member today!

Update, 9/16: Congrats to International Bird Rescue member Monica Duclaud of California, whose name was drawn for this giveaway!

Here’s Stephanie’s story:


Stephanie Kiker

I love living at the beach … and on an island: Hatteras Island, N.C. The smells, sounds, water, wind, wildlife — all make it a wonderful place to be. This place gives me inspiration for my artwork and creativity. Whether it’s on the beach, on the water, under the water, in the marshes, or in the sound, I enjoy creating my own interpretations and expressions of the wildlife and their surroundings. Textures, colors, patterns, shapes and movement all play a part in my pieces. I move from realism in my soft pastel works to bold graphic shapes, patterns and colors in my colored pencil and ink work.

I graduated from the School of Design at North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design and continued in that direction after graduation. Having always enjoyed drawing and illustrating, I soon was in the screen-printing business, designing T-shirts along with the design work.

In 1996, I moved to Hatteras Island and began pursuing a career as a working artist. I now enjoy selling my artwork in many galleries and stores up and down the Outer Banks, as well as nationwide distribution on a variety of products: Giclee prints, ceramic tiles, cutting boards, iPhone covers, notecards, coin purses, coasters and more. My graphic design work includes a Gallery Guide for the Outer Banks, logos, brochures and marketing of my own work.

I feel lucky to be able to enjoy the natural beauty of this area and experience it much of the time through kiteboarding. Along with the exhilaration of the sport, it gives me the chance to be surrounded by the smells, sounds, water, wind and wildlife that inspire me so much.

You can check out Stephanie’s work at her website as well as her Facebook page.

Basic-Membership 3 Sustaining-Members

Cutting board designs by Stephanie Kiker

September 11, 2013

Update on wildlife response in Alberta bitumen release

Primrose-Wildlife Response1

Several weeks ago, International Bird Rescue was activated to assist in collection and rehabilitation efforts for wildlife affected by the bitumen release at the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Primrose Project in northern Alberta.

Working alongside The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton and the Oiled Wildlife Society of British Columbia, we currently have MAPthree technicians in the field — two capture technicians and one field-stabilization technician. As some bird species begin their fall migration as early as July, our team is hard at work to deter animals from the affected area, using such methods as air horns and “bear bangers.” Only a few flyovers have been reported in recent days, however. The field team has deployed many traps to collect birds found in the area for care and/or relocation.

We also have several response team members working as part of a nine-person rehabilitation team at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton. A total of 94 animals have been brought into care during this event, with bird species including Ring-necked Ducks, a Great Horned Owl, American Coots, Green-winged Teals and a Black Tern.

As of Monday, 66 animals (including 23 muskrats) have been released far from the affected area, with more still in care.

Founded in 1971, International Bird Rescue has extensive experience in oiled wildlife events around the world. During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we co-managed oiled bird rehabilitation centers in four states as part of a large-scale response to the incident that involved federal and state agencies, industry and non-governmental organizations.

Find out more about our response program here. We’ll keep you posted on the response effort via this blog.

Primose-Wildlife Response2

Update: Below, photos of beaver release at a location far removed from the bitumen-affected area, photos by Judith Paquin, communications and development director for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton.

Beaver release 1 sm

Beaver release 2sm

beaver release sm

September 10, 2013

Become a member, double your donation!

Whether injured, oiled or orphaned, the birds we care for 365 days a year have some truly remarkable people supporting their recovery. Will you be one of them?

Every Bird Matters: Your support will help care for thousands of birds every year, including orphaned baby birds like this colorful American Coot chick. Make your membership gift today!

Every Bird Matters: Your support will help care for thousands of birds every year, including orphaned baby birds like this colorful American Coot chick. Make your membership gift today!

We’re pleased to announce that an anonymous member of International Bird Rescue has just offered a $10,000 matching gift for new members.

If you have yet to join, today’s a wonderful opportunity to do so: Every donation from now until the end of September will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000.

Join as a basic member for just $25, and you’ll receive an International Bird Rescue member window cling to show your membership pride, as well as a beautiful wildlife photo print.

Or, consider a sustaining membership. For as little as $10 a month, your support as a sustaining member of International Bird Rescue is an amazing way to ensure that injured pelicans, herons and other birds will be cared for. New sustaining members will receive the official Alex and Ani Pelican Bangle, designed exclusively for International Bird Rescue. (Please allow up to four weeks for your gifts to arrive.)

If you’re already a member, thank you so much. All members who have donated this year are entered into our membership sweepstakes. Congrats to our first winner, Melissa Berger, who will take home this custom-made fiber art pillow by Nestle and Soar.

Becoming a member is easy. Choose your membership level below to get started. Don’t miss your chance to have your membership donation doubled!

Thank you,

The team at International Bird Rescue

Basic-Membership 3 Sustaining-Members

September 9, 2013

Thanks for celebrating the Pelican Aviary Project with us!

Aviary occupants, photo by Cheryl Reynolds


The commemorative sign for The Pelican Aviary Project

It was a scorcher in Fairfield, but thank you to everyone who stopped by our Saturday community event celebrating completed renovations to the pelican aviary!

Special thanks to Assemblyman Jim Frazier, State Senator Lois Wolk/District Director Lisa Chavez, Kyra Parker with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, the Solano County Fish and Wildlife Propagation Fund, The Green Foundation, Kimberlee Baker, Dave Weeshoff, Hugh and Pat Denton; Lisa and Paul Matheson; and Joan Teitler and Larry Bidinian for their support of this aviary, home to hundreds of ill and injured pelicans and other birds every year.

Additional thanks to the good folks at Whole Foods Market –  Napa Valley, Hint Water and Winterhawk Winery for providing the amazing refreshments.

And last but certainly not least: Thank you to our amazing staff and volunteers for making this event such a success! Event photos by Russ Curtis.

Find out more about the Pelican Aviary Project from our Indiegogo campaign page here.


Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Assemblyman Jim Frazier helps us dedicate the aviary

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Assemblyman Frazier (right) with IBR board members Andrew Harmon and Laurie Pyne

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Lisa Chavez, district director for State Senator Lois Wolk

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Center manager Michelle Bellizzi explains the renovation project on the aviary

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
IBR board member/Bay Nature ambassador Beth Slatkin

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Kyra Parker with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN)

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Guests braving the heat … all for the pelicans!

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
A live look at BirdCam!

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Kimberlee Baker speaks about the life and legacy of Donna Baker, who was instrumental in the original construction of the aviary. The Pelican Aviary Project is dedicated in her memory.

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Our wonderful volunteer crew makes sure the animals are cared for!

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Touring the outdoor grounds and the aviary

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013
Touring the center

Pelican Aviary Celebration at San Francisco Bay Center on September 7, 2013

Our wonderful volunteer team!

Volunteers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Juvenile Brown Pelican in care 

September 5, 2013

Intern spotlight: Caitlin Kafura


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

September 4, 2013

“Time to make a difference.”

On this National Wildlife Day, our friends at Dawn Saves Wildlife have a moving tribute to the volunteers that make our centers such special places.

Thank you to our volunteers, past and present. We are forever grateful for your support.

September 4, 2013

See you Saturday at the Pelican Aviary Project event in Fairfield!


Just a reminder that we’ll be holding a casual community event this Saturday to celebrate the renovations made to the pelican aviary at our San Francisco Bay center in Fairfield — renovations made possible by you. If you’re in the neighborhood, please do stop by!

When: Saturday, September 7, 2pm-5pm; we’ll have brief remarks at about 2:30pm followed by tours, refreshments and more!

Where: San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center, 4369 Cordelia Rd. in Fairfield, Calif. See an interactive map below.

View Larger Map

Thanks to Whole Foods Market Napa, HINT Water and Winterhawk Winery for sponsoring this event! 

And thank you for your support of The Pelican Aviary Project!