Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for February 2014

February 19, 2014

Glaucous-winged Gull with a double fracture

Photos by Isabel LuevanoDSC_0033-L

This Glaucous-winged Gull was admitted to Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz on January 31 with a badly broken right wing and a wound on its hock joint. After transfer to our SF Bay center we found the bird to have a massive amount of soft tissue damage at the site of a double fracture of both the radius and ulna.

In order to have a decent prognosis for recovery, this sort of combination fracture requires surgical pinning. After a day of stabilizing care, our veterinarian pinned the wing fractures and also dressed the leg injury on the hock. The bird recovered from surgery well and has been doing great since the procedure. Currently, the leg injury has largely healed and the pinned wing is doing well.

Initial concerns about blood supply and whether the soft tissue injuries were too severe to support fracture healing have been resolved. Prognosis for flight ability remains guarded.

X-rays of the double fracture, shown on the left

February 15, 2014

Patient of the week: Marbled Godwit

Photo by Kelly BerryMarbled-Godwit

The Marbled Godwit is the largest of four godwit species — shorebirds with long bills used to probe for mollusks and aquatic worms.

One of our Los Angeles center’s new patients is this Marbled Godwit, found injured in Isla Vista, CA on February 9. The bird was found unable to stand and had blood on its face. Upon the godwit’s transfer to IBR on February 12, dried blood was found behind the left ear consistent with head trauma of unknown cause.

The good news is that this bird is now standing and receiving supportive care. We’ll keep you posted on its condition.

February 14, 2014

The week in bird news, February 14

Flesh-footed Shearwater chick, photo via nzbirdsonline.org.nz

• As any regular reader to this blog all-too-well knows, plastic ingestion is a huge problem for seabirds and other marine life. And: It may be worse than we imagined.

Researchers from Monash University studying a colony of Flesh-footed Shearwaters on eastern Australia’s Lord Howe Island found high concentrations of chromium and silver among the population, correlated with ingested plastic. The findings were present in adults and fledglings alike. [Conservation Magazine]

• Gale-force winds have swept up scores of seabirds including Common Murres found washed up on the beaches of _72899733_guillemot(barrywells)Guernsey in the UK. “In these extreme conditions some birds are not surviving the night, the relentless weather has taken a sorry toll,” Donna Francis of RSPB said. [BBC News]

• The world’s largest solar-power project launched this week in the California desert, one that has drawn concern for its impact on birds. [Wall Street Journal]

• Also in California, a record drought for the region is having an effect on more than just reservoirs. The Sacramento Valley has seen an impact on normally flooded rice fields that migrating birds depend on for food. [Daily Democrat]

• The mascot for the New Orleans Pelicans undergoes, uh, necessary reconstructive surgery. [Sports Illustrated]

• New York state investigators carried out three stings and busted a cockfighting ring in Brooklyn and Queens; nine people have been arrested. “Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public and is known to facilitate other crimes,” New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said. [NY Daily News]

• In New Zealand, scientists discover a 58-million-year-old seabird that lived during the early Paleocene, making it one of the world’s oldest known species of flying seabirds.

“This new species is important in our understanding of bird evolution because although there is a number of bird groups described from the late Cretaceous, most belong to groups not present on Earth today,” said Dr Paul Scofield of New Zealand’s Canterbury Museum. [Sci-News.com]

Top tweets:





February 13, 2014

In care: Pelagic Cormorant

photo 4-L

This beautiful Pelagic Cormorant was found with multiple fishing hook injuries. Our friends at California Wildlife Center removed the hooks and transferred the bird to our L.A. center, where it’s recovering from the wounds in an outdoor aviary.

Wildlife rehab is all about teamwork!

Photo by Kelly Berry.


February 11, 2014

Oiled Brown Pelican, found in a South Bay parking lot

Oiled BRPE 4-L
Oiled Brown Pelican, photo by Diane Carter

BRPELast week, our Los Angeles center received an oiled Brown Pelican found wandering in a Torrance parking lot and picked up by the city’s animal control after it was unable to fly away.

We’re not sure how this bird became oiled, but upon intake the bird was eating well and showed no other signs of injuries, volunteer coordinator Neil Uelman reports. Here, IBR’s L.A. center team gives the pelican a thorough wash on Friday with the help of Dawn dish soap.

Also last week, International Bird Rescue partnered with Audubon California urging federal officials to finalize a coordinate monitoring effort of Brown Pelicans, as they have done for birds such as Bald Eagles and American Peregrine Falcons following removal from the Endangered Species List (the pelican was removed five years ago). You can send a message to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by clicking here.

Oiled BRPE 6-L

Oiled BRPE 2-L

February 9, 2014

For the lovebird in Your life: Adopt a Duckling Duo

Valentine-TemplateThis Valentine’s Day, share a special note to a lovebird in your life with our duckling pair adoption. For just a $20 gift to International Bird Rescue, we’ll create this custom valentine e-card with an optional personal message and send it on February 14 to your special valentine.

Your gift will help support the care and feeding of hundreds of orphaned baby birds like these wonderful ducklings cared for in the spring by International Bird Rescue.

There are many reasons why large numbers of orphaned ducklings end up at our centers. Many mother ducks see landscaped yards as prime nesting spots. Once hatched, mother ducks must walk their babies to the closest available water.

In that initial and important first journey, they meet cars, dogs, people, steep gutters, storm drains and wild predators. Many ducklings become separated and stranded and attempts to reunite them with their panicked mother are often futile. Thankfully, many of these birds end up in our care. Click here to send a valentine!

Your gift of $20 will help care for two ducklings. This is the perfect valentine for the wildlife lover in your life!

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Team International Bird Rescue

February 8, 2014

Patient of the week: Brown Pelican

Photos by Isabel Luevano

Our San Francisco Bay center’s pelican aviary has been home to a solitary Brown Pelican for several months now. BRPECormorants, gulls and other birds have come and gone in this enclosure, but this bird’s healing is requiring more time and patience.

Upon intake in 2013, we found this male pelican was suffering from a laceration to his left patagium — a flap of skin at the leading edge of the wing, vital for flight — caused by a fishing hook/monofilament fishing line.

Currently, our patient of the week is undergoing flight exercises now that this injury has finally healed. Below, the bird can be seen playing around as one of our volunteers siphon-cleans an aviary pool.

Click here for previous patients of the week.


February 7, 2014

Fulmars at the San Francisco Bay center

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Close-up of the Northern Fulmar’s distinctive tubenose, photo by Cheryl Reynolds.

This month, the most abundant species in our care is the Northern Fulmar. Our San Francisco Bay center NOFUis currently caring for 17 of these birds. Though this species is normally far out at sea, these birds were found unable to fly along the coastline in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey. You can see some of these birds live on our BirdCam.

Upon intake, they were all found to be emaciated, anemic and dehydrated. We are currently looking into potential causes for their condition.

A member of the family Procellariidae that includes albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters, the Northern Fulmar has a distinctive tubenose structure on the top of its bill that helps remove salt from its system via a saline solution that passes through the nostril.

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

In recent years, fulmars have been studied as a biomonitor for measuring marine plastic debris, in part because they feed exclusively at sea. One study in 2012 found a staggering 92.5% of the fulmars examined had plastic in their stomachs — detritus from fishing line and Styrofoam to bottle caps and shards of indeterminate origin.

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Photo by Isabel Luevano

Photo by Isabel Luevano



February 7, 2014

The week in bird news, February 7

Magellanic Penguin chick
at the Cabo Vírgenes Provincial Reserve in southern Argentina, photo by Martin St-Amant/Wikimedia Commons

Magellanic Penguin chicks are dying in greater numbers, in part the result of extreme weather driven by climate change, according to a new study published this week in the journal PLoS One. Researchers studied penguin chick mortality at Punta Tombo, Argentina from 1983 to 2010.

“Climate change that increases the frequency and intensity of storms results in more reproductive failure of Magellanic penguins, a pattern likely to apply to many species breeding in the region,” the researchers concluded. “Climate variability has already lowered reproductive success of Magellanic penguins and is likely undermining the resilience of many other species.” [New York Times]

• In case you missed it: International Bird Rescue has teamed up with Audubon California to advocate for better monitoring of the California Brown Pelican, which was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009 but continues to face many challenges. Your voice matters! Send a message to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [Audubon California]

Snowy Owl-City Wildlife• A now famed female Snowy Owl hit by a Washington, D.C. bus is receiving care at a local wildlife rehabilitation center. This bird was one of many Snowy Owls that have descended on the East Coast in recent months. [Washington Post/photo via City Wildlife]

• Urbanization may be affecting birds’ immuno-response: According to a new study, House Finches living in urban areas were more commonly affected by a parasite and pathogen than birds living in nature. [Nature World News]

• Between 365 million and nearly 1 billion birds die annually in the United States as a result of window collisions. [Washington Post]

• Via Memolition: How to avoid slipping on the ice? Try walking like a penguin. [Memolition]


Tweets of the week:





February 5, 2014

Release! Common Loon

Release photos by Cheryl Patterson; inset photo by Kelly Berry

One of our most recent patients of the week is this Common Loon, which we’re pleased to report is the Los Angeles center’s first loon release of 2014.

The backstory: This loon was found in late December, having crash-landed on Ventura Blvd in Studio City, CA. The animal was brought to California Wildlife Center, where it was hydrated and stabilized before transfer to our aquatic bird specialists.

After several weeks in care, this beautiful loon was released back to the ocean — much more suitable habitat than Ventura Boulevard!


February 4, 2014

In Los Angeles, another oiled hawk is rescued

Photo by Paul Berry

It seems we post about an oiled hawk every few weeks, and thus far 2014 is no exception. The rehab team at our Los Angeles RTHAcenter recently washed this Red-tailed Hawk, found at an area refinery covered in thick, black oil. Paul Berry took this fantastic photo from the wash procedure.

The hawk was transferred to South Bay Wildlife Rehab this past Thursday and fortunately did not suffer significant burns from the oil contamination, rehabilitation technician Kylie Clatterbuck reports.

While we normally care for aquatic birds, our team is equipped to handle many other species affected by contamination. Birds of prey we’ve cared for include Western Screech Owls and this Sharp-shinned Hawk that had been contaminated with glue trap material.

Check out more of our work to save oiled birds at Dawn Saves Wildlife.

Related posts:

In care this week: Red-tailed Hawk
Hawk and owl patients at our SF Bay center

February 4, 2014

Speak Up for the Brown Pelican

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, over the past several years International Bird Rescue’s wildlife centers in Northern and Southern California have seen an influx in sick and starving Brown Pelicans.

Though this iconic bird of the Pacific Coast was removed from the Endangered Species List nearly five years ago, pelicans routinely need our help for many reasons: emaciation, domoic acid poisoning, fishing tackle injuries and oil contamination are all common problems we see. A lot of us got involved in this work because of our love of pelicans, and it’s hard to see them in this predicament.

When the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service took the Brown Pelican off the Endangered Species List in 2009, it was supposed to conduct monitoring to ensure continued progress. But we’re concerned that this vital conservation action hasn’t begun. So we’ve teamed up with our friends at Audubon California to advocate for this beloved bird.

And we could use your help. Will you send Fish & Wildlife an email urging them to protect our pelicans?

Click here for an email that you can send with your own optional message. It only takes a few minutes. Your voice matters!

Since 2010, we’ve seen starving pelicans seeking food inland. At the same time, breeding in the Channel Islands has failed five years in a row – the first time this has happened in 20 years. Biologists are attributing the breeding failures to a lack of sardines and anchovies near colonies.

If we’re going to figure out what’s happening with this bird – and take steps to protect it – we need the Service to follow though with monitoring and conservation action. Let’s work together to make this happen.

With gratitude,

Team International Bird Rescue

Peli IMG_0221-M

P.S. Here’s suggested e-mail text:

Send to: fw8ventura_brownpelican@fws.gov:

Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 8:

I am writing to request that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service finalize a plan to monitor the status of the Pacific subspecies of the Brown Pelican, and initiate colony monitoring at the Channel Islands.

As you know, this iconic coastal bird was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009, after its numbers recovered dramatically over the previous 30 years. Unfortunately, recent breeding failures on southern California islands, as well as starvation events in California and Oregon, have prompted new concerns about the Brown Pelican’s status.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has yet to finalize or implement the post-delisting monitoring plan that the Endangered Species Act requires for all delisted species. As the Service said following the delisting in 2009: “The intent of this monitoring is to determine whether the species should be proposed for relisting, or kept off the list because it remains neither threatened or endangered.”

Right now, with no plan in place to guide monitoring and coordination, essential post-delisting activities are not taking place, and there is little information to inform a five-year status review due in 2014.

I understand that this request comes at a time when federal budget cuts have limited the Service’s ability to conduct every conservation program under its purview. At the same time, the Service’s failure to put in place a post-delisting monitoring program for the Brown Pelican undermines the Endangered Species Act, and threatens one of the Act’s greatest conservation victories since its passage.

Again, I ask that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service immediately move to finalize and implement its post-delisting monitoring program for the Pacific subspecies of the Brown Pelican.


Please e-mail to: fw8ventura_brownpelican@fws.gov

Protect Our Pelicans
Protect Our Pelicans infographic by Franzi Muller. Click on the image for full-size version.