Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for February 2015

February 26, 2015

Honoring school kids fundraising efforts with a bird release

Pelicans-Released-Alameda-PDS“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way…” 
~Greatest Love Of All song written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed

On a beautifully clear Thursday morning we honored a special group of caring third graders from Park Day School in Oakland. We inviting them to a bird release to celebrate their fundraising prowess after they collected $603.30 for the Mystery Goo seabird response.

Thank you PDS kids and their teachers Renee Miller, Mona Halaby, and Jeanine Harmon!

All photos by Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

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Among the birds released: Four Brown Pelicans at Encinal Beach in Alameda.

"Park Day School bird release 2/16/15 at Encinal Beach Alameda"

Park Day School students present ceremonial $603.30 check from fundraising efforts for mystery goo birds.

"Park Day School bird release 2/16/15 at Encinal Beach Alameda"

February 20, 2015

Honoring Volunteers: Release of 18 More Clean, Healthy Mystery Goo Birds

2-SUSC-Release-Feb-20-2015-CR-webToday we gave thanks to some of our wonderful volunteers who were so instrumental in returning clean, healthy mystery goo birds back to the wild. As part of the celebration, 18 more seabirds were released at Fort Baker in Sausalito Friday morning.

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Volunteers celebrate the release the seabirds, including the Surf Scoter (above). Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

With this release, the total of clean birds returned to the wild is now 128. Another 56 birds are still in care at our San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield.

More than 300 volunteers from all over California came together to help in the care of hundreds of birds that began arriving for the East Bay on January 16, 2015 coated in a mystery substance. Read more

We’d like to again thank all the groups that sent staff and volunteers, including: Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), East Bay Regional Parks, Wildlife Emergency Services, Peninsula Humane Society, Baykeeper, Audubon California, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, Lindsey Wildlife Museum, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, OSPR, Bird Ally X, Wildlife Care Association, Native Songbird Care and Education Center, Pacific Wildlife Care, Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, Mount Diablo Audubon, Golden Gate Audubon, Native Animal Rescue, SPCA for Monterey County, Napa Wildlife, Marine Mammal Center, California Waterfowl Association, Beach Watch and SeaWorld.

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February 17, 2015

Mystery Goo Partially Identified, Cost Nears $150,000 To Rescue Birds

"Gummy Bear" the gooed Horned Grebe was released on February 12.

“Gummy Bear” the gooed Horned Grebe was released on February 12 at Fort Baker in Sausalito. Photo by Russ Curtis

As the mysterious goo that affected seabirds in San Francisco Bay is a little closer to being identified, International Bird Rescue continues to treat affected birds a month after more than 500 hypothermic and dying birds were discovered.

With no responsible party to help with the cost of bird care, International Bird Rescue’s finances are strained. To date, the non-profit organization has spent $150,000 on the response. It continues to rely on public support to help with costs associated with this unusual contaminant response. Donate Now

“We really need the public to step up and support the care of these beautiful seabirds,” said Barbara Callahan, interim executive director of International Bird Rescue.

On Thursday, Feb 12th, state and federal labs concluded that the substance that coated birds includes a mixture of non-petroleum-based fats or oils. Read the full press release from California Department Fish and Wildlife: http://ow.ly/J4bZp

See: San Francisco Chronicle story: Scientists close in on IDing bird-killing mystery goo

Volunteer Kathy Koehler and husband, Bill, release female Surf Scoters.

Volunteer Kathy Koehler and husband, Bill, release female Surf Scoters. Photo by Russ Curtis

“We are so grateful that the goo has been identified,” said Barbara Callahan. “This was a vexing substance to remove from the birds, but we succeeded even though we couldn’t identify the substance.”

The goo covered the feathers of the seabirds, destroying their ability to stay warm, but no mystery goo was found to be on the beach or in the water, which deepened the mystery.

Each of the birds was medically stabilized and then cleaned using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, followed by washing with Dawn detergent, and rinse to repair waterproofing.

The birds treated include: Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, and Scaups. More than 70% the bird affected were Surf Scoters.

The birds were mainly rescued beginning on January 16, 2015 along the East Bay shoreline from Alameda south to Hayward. All of the live birds came in to IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield, CA.

110 Birds Have Been Returned to the Wild

On Thursday, February 12, six more cleaned birds were released at Fort Baker in Marin County. Included in the release was a Horned Grebe, dubbed “Gummy Bear” by clinic staff. This bird came into care early in the response completely covered in goo. Photo (above) shows before and after cleaning. See “Gummy Bear” video

Horned Grebe aka "Gummy Bear" came with super gunked feathers, 3 weeks later it was released clean.

Horned Grebe aka “Gummy Bear” came with super gunked feathers, 3 weeks later it was released clean. [See Larger Photo] Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Of the 323 brought in for care, 110 now have been released back to the San Francisco Bay. Another 78 birds are still in care. 135 died in care.

170 birds were collected dead by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel.

The birds that still remain in care are those that entered our San Francisco Bay Center with serious but treatable medical problems. These included severe emaciation, anemia, or injuries.

Many of the rescued birds came to the center with pressure sores to their hocks or toes from being stranded on hard land, and these may take up to 2 or 3 months to treat. Several dozen birds have also had surgeries for keel injuries but most of these healed quickly. Some of these have already been released; others should be ready to go soon.

No new goo-covered, live birds have been found since Thursday, January 22.

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Male Surf Scoters, 70% of the seabirds rescued, fill pool at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photo by Mark Russell

February 10, 2015

Patient of the Week: American White Pelican

American White Pelican in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by  Kylie Clatterbuck

American White Pelican in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Not all our birds in care were part of the San Francisco Bay mystery goo response. Last month our Southern California center received an American White Pelican from the Los Angeles County Animal Control. It was found in a weakened state at La Mirada Park.

This beautiful bird was very lethargic, not thermoregulating, and extremely thin. The Pelican also had a small laceration to its right wing that is currently undergoing wound management.

As of this week, the White Pelican is now living in our large outdoor aviary and gained quite a bit of weight over the 3 weeks in care. It weighs in at over 7,000g (15.4 lbs.)

Its wing wound has healed up well and was discontinued off of medication this week. Our Los Angeles Center staff is hopeful that it release this bird within the next week.

 

February 7, 2015

Patient of the Week: “Gummy Bear” Horned Grebe Mystery Goo Survivor

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Horned Grebe, left, before cleaning and after swimming in pool at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

We received more than 300 seabirds coated in the East Bay Mystery Goo and one particular Horned Grebe, dubbed by our clinic staff as “Gummy Bear”, really made an impression.

“Gummy Bear” was brought to our San Francisco Bay Center three weeks ago during the first wave of East Bay birds contaminated by the stick goo. In the video to the right, you can see that even the towel used to rescue the bird had to be carefully peeled off the bird’s matted feathers.

After cleaning the messy gunk from its feathers, it was discovered that this bird had abrasions to its elbows. After this Horned Grebe heals, “Gummy Bear” is expected to be released next week.

By the way, we don’t usually name our birds in care, but in this case it just stuck.

See earlier post: Mystery substance threatens seabirds in the San Francisco Bay

February 4, 2015

Nothing like a bird release to lift the spirits

Surf-Scoter-flies-Mystery-Goo-released-1-4-15-Oakland-webA Surf Scoter flies free at the Oakland Port Wednesday. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Twenty more birds cleaned of the East Bay mystery goo were released Wednesday morning at the Oakland Port.

Dunlins, a shorebird prevalent in San Francisco Bay, is released in Oakland.

Dunlins, a shorebird prevalent in San Francisco Bay, is released in Oakland.

“There’s nothing like a bird release to lift the spirits,” said Russ Curtis, spokesperson for International Bird Rescue. “Our reward is seeing these beautiful, clean birds returned to their natural habitat in good health.”

This is the first release in the East Bay where nearly 3 weeks ago hundreds of birds were rescued coated with a sticky, unknown contaminant. The birds were released along the sand dunes at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park at the Oakland Port.

With this release, the total of birds returned to the wild is now 101. More than 110 birds still remain in care at our San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield, CA.

Among those released: 11 Surf Scoters, 4 Dunlins, 4 Western Sandpipers, and 1 Eared Grebe.

The mystery goo event began on January 16, 2015, when staff members at the East Bay Regional Park District began rescuing seabirds beached on local shores and covered in a thick substance. The affected birds lost their critical ability to stay waterproof in the cool San Francisco Bay waters.

Over the last several weeks each of the birds was medically stabilized and then washed using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, followed by washing with Dawn dishwashing soap.

To date, 323 birds were delivered to our center. 110 where DOA or died in care. Another 170 birds were collected dead by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel.

State and private labs are still testing the goo feather samples. Earlier testing ruled out petroleum products as the culprit. See: Scientists Struggle to Identify Gooey Substance, Planet Experts

Since there is no responsible party to pay for this response, International Bird Rescue is shouldering the complete cost of caring for these seabirds. Donations are always appreciated.

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Some of our volunteers, Marge Elliott, left, and Julia Winiarski, carry birds to release site.

February 1, 2015

132 seabirds, once covered in goo, still need your help

Photo of Surf Scoter release mystery goo 2015 response

Clean release: First 24 birds, including Surf Scoters, were released at Fort Baker on January 28th. Photo by Russ Curtis

Dear friends,

On behalf of my entire team, I’d like to thank all of you for supporting our work rescuing hundreds of seabirds affected by the San Francisco mystery goo. From our volunteers and supporters to the general public and the media, we’ve been overwhelmed by an outpouring of support for the care of these birds.

Though we’ve been thrilled to release 81 healthy seabirds thus far back into the wild, we still have 132 birds in care that will need many more days of support at our San Francisco Bay center. The testing of goo-covered feathers continues at government and private laboratories. But the substance remains a mystery.

SOS-Greater-Scaup-mystery-event-2015-CRAnd our bills for these animals, as well as non-“gooed” wild birds in our care for other injuries, continue to mount. The more time passes, the less likely that a culprit behind the dumping of this substance (if it is indeed manmade) will be found and held financially accountable. It’s people like you who have sustained us. If you haven’t yet donated and are wondering if we still need your support, the answer is Yes.

This all started on January 16, 2015, when our colleagues at East Bay Regional Park District began seeing several species of seabirds beached on local shores and covered in a thick substance. The birds had lost their critical ability to stay waterproof in the cold San Francisco Bay waters.

Photo of incoming Bufflehead

Bufflehead coated in the mystery goo. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Each of the birds was medically stabilized and then washed using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, followed by washing with Dawn detergent.

To date, 323 birds were delivered to our center. Another 151 birds were collected dead by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel.

Our staff and more than 300 volunteers worked overtime to give these birds the best chance possible to survive. If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our work. Because this was not a spill caused by an identifiable company or party, we are have been shouldering all the costs regarding this mystery event.

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Flotilla of Surf Scoters are among the 132 birds still in care.

Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. The care of these birds, including Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes, Common Goldeneyes and Scaups, is lengthy and expensive. View our BirdCam

With your support we are committed as ever, to ensuring “Every Bird Matters”.

Sincerely,

Barbara Signature

 

 

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director

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Shorebirds, cleaned of goo, were some of our smallest patients. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds