Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for December 2013

December 6, 2013

Freedom for All.



December 5, 2013

The week in bird news, December 5

Steller’s Eider caught in a gillnet, photo by Markus Vetemaa via BirdLife International

• 148 species of seabirds (including the threatened Steller’s Eider) are at risk of gillnet bycatch, which kills an estimated 400,000 birds every year according to a new report. But solutions exist, and some have been spearheaded here in California, which has implemented depth restrictions on gillnet use to reduce bycatch of Common Murres and other seabird species.

More via One Green Planet:

Gillnettting is a method of fishing used most often on commercial boats, where large nets are dragged across large areas of water, entangling everything in its path. A new report estimates 400,000 seabirds alone are killed by gillnets every year.

The report suggests that 148 different seabird species are at risk of being caught in gillnets. However, Ramunas Zydelis, co-author of the new report, told Mongabay, “Bird bycatch in gillnets is not type-specific and species-specific. Not all the nets are equally dangerous. Nets set deep in waters are less likely to catch birds than nets in shallow places or drifting at the surface.”

The birds at most risk tend to be ones that dive deep into the water for food — this even includes some penguins, especially those living off South America. Although it seems like not much can be done about this issue, there are many solutions to lower and prevent bycatches in fishing nets. It’s the planning and implementation that needs to be worked on. [OneGreenPlanet.org]

Click here for a guest op-ed to this blog on seabird bycatch by BirdLife’s Rory Crawford.

• The pilot captain of the Cosco Busan — a container ship that slammed into the Bay Bridge in 2007 causing over 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel to spill into the San Francisco Bay — will not get his mariner’s license back. A federal judge on Monday dismissed Capt. John Cota’s lawsuit against the Coast Guard, which last year found that Cota “did not meet the medical standards and the professional qualifications requirements for renewal.”

More than 1,000 oiled birds were treated at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center following the spill; 421 were successfully released back into the wild. [Marin Independent Journal]

• Brutally cold storms slamming the Western Alaska coast have resulted in the deaths of many seabirds. [Alaska Dispatch]

• Humpback Whales off northern Vancouver Island use Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres to create “bait balls” ofbirdswithbad herring before the marine mammals gobble them whole. [Vancouver Sun]

• The size of the fleshy red “badge” on the heads of New Zealand’s Pukeko (pictured right) is indicative of its social status — “and [it] apparently grows and shrinks in keeping with the bird’s standing in its social group,” Phys.org reports. [Phys.org; photo via Wikimedia Commons]

• Ever wonder how a bird can sleep while clutching a branch and not fall off? Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic offers one theory. [The Atlantic]

Top tweets:






December 3, 2013

Thank you for your support during #GivingTuesday

Eared Grebe Release

Thanks to all the International Bird Rescue supporters who gave during the annual #GivingTuesday event today! Your gifts help to care for wonderful birds, such is this quartet of Eared Grebes recently rehabilitated and released by our Los Angeles center team.

If you haven’t yet made a #GivingTuesday donation, there’s still time. Click here to make a year-end gift.

Photo by Dave Weeshoff

December 3, 2013

This season, let them soar!


Dear friend,

A few years ago, International Bird Rescue adopted the tagline “Every Bird Matters” because we wanted to show the world in simple terms what we’re Year-End Giftall about. Whether it’s an oiled penguin in South America or an orphaned baby heron found in a Los Angeles storm drain, we care for one bird at a time. When they’re hurt by human activity—oil spills, road traffic, acts of cruelty—we accept our duty to give them the expert and compassionate care they deserve.

And it’s you who makes this work possible. At our California wildlife hospitals alone, International Bird Rescue treats over 5,000 annual patients. Some of these seabirds, such as Northern Fulmars and Laysan Albatrosses, have become important indicators of oceanic health, aiding critical research on climate change and marine pollution. But whether it’s an albatross or a duckling, every bird we care for has intrinsic value and is treated with utmost reverence and respect.

I’ve devoted my life to this mission, and I’ve never before seen a greater need for wildlife rehabilitation experts in the world. Your gift to International Bird Rescue ensures that professional care, medical supplies, food and other necessities are available for any environmental crisis. Please give today.

PloverChickThis year, International Bird Rescue has been called upon in Alaska, Canada and other locations, bringing our 42 years of field knowledge to oiled wildlife emergencies. We’ve released over 1,000 Brown Pelicans in our Blue-Banded Pelican Program that tracks the post-rehabilitation survival of this iconic species, once driven to the brink of extinction. Our team has even successfully cared for an injured Blue-footed Booby, found this September wandering in an urban area miles from shore (and hundreds of miles from its normal range). We have you to thank for all of these accomplishments, big and small.   

Have you ever seen an injured wild animal? Did you want to help? When you give generously to International Bird Rescue, you do just that. Together, we can give these magnificent birds a second chance.

It’s hard work. But Every Bird Matters, indeed.

Best wishes for a joyful holiday season.

Jay Holcomb-Signature

Jay Holcomb
Executive Director

P.S. Interested in becoming a matching donor this holiday season? It’s simple—just email us and we’ll set up your matching donor day for online giving.

Peli IMG_0221-M


December 2, 2013

An update on our response work in Alberta


In late July, International Bird Rescue sent response teams to Canada to assist in the capture and rehabilitation of animals impacted by a bitumen release at the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Primrose Project in northeastern Alberta. Our teams worked at two different sites: the lake where oiled wildlife were captured, and the rehabilitation center in Edmonton where the animals were washed and rehabilitated.

MAPAt the rehabilitation site, our team worked alongside The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton and the Oiled Wildlife Society of British Columbia to rehabilitate the animals, including beavers, muskrats and many freshwater birds such as ducks, coots and grebes.

As the rehab facility was located about three hours from the spill site, logistics and transport of animals were a daily occurrence and an important component of this response.

The response ended in the first week of November when the weather became freezing and the likelihood of any product impacting animals was considered minuscule.

Below is the list of animals that we cared for in this response.  — Jay Holcomb

Rehabilitation Data Report