Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for April 2015

April 28, 2015

Influx of Black-crowned Night Herons

Black Crowned Night Heron in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Black Crowned Night Herons in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Black Crowned Night Herons in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

This is baby bird season and at each of our two California centers we’re beginning to see an influx of young aquatic birds – especially Black-crowned Night Herons.

A handful of these sharp-beaked birds are in care at our Los Angeles Center after being found at two separate rookeries in Marina del Rey and in Long Beach.

All are doing great, self feeding and being given supplemental vitamins. They will likely move outside this week.

We currently have 38 Black-crowned Night Herons in care between both California centers, as well as a host of other sick, injured and orphaned birds that need your support! You can donate to help with their ongoing care here.


April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day: #HowDoYouLoveWildlife by Dawn

Our friends and partners at Dawn have come up with another terrific web video. This one captures the heart and soul of one of our long-time volunteers, Deborah Heritage, working with wildlife at our San Francisco Bay Center.

Volunteer Deborah Heritage releases a Grebe.

Volunteer Deborah Heritage releases a Horned Grebe.

Deborah speaks about becoming an empty nest parent. She began as a volunteer in 2008 at International Bird Rescue.

“Maybe I’m just the kind of person who just wants to keep taking care of something – and the birds came into my life,” says Deborah. “My nest is full of birds right now!”

Bird Rescue, the earth and the birds are so lucky to have dedicated volunteers like Deborah. #HowDoYouLoveWildlife

Happy Earth Day from all of us!

P.S. – Andie Perez, a volunteer at our Los Angles Center, is also featured in a Dawn video. The Environmental Science major at Cal State University, Long Beach, gets hands-on experience working with wildlife. See the video

Andie Perez, a volunteer at our Los Angeles Center is also featured in a Dawn video.

Andie Perez, a volunteer at our Los Angeles Center is also featured in a Dawn video.

April 15, 2015

Last Mystery Goo Bird Released Back To The Wild

Russ Curtis of International Bird Rescue releases a male Surf Scoter, the last Mystery Goo  Response bird back to the wild in Sausalito on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Soren Hemmila, Marinscope Newspapers

The last Mystery Goo bird in care – a male Surf Scoter – was released Wednesday back to the wild.

The seaduck’s freedom represents the end of three long months of rehabilitation that included hundreds of birds that were contaminated in San Francisco Bay by a yet to be fully identified substance that coated birds with a sticky substance back in mid-January.

Male Surf Scoter was the last Mystery Goo released. Photo by Cheryl Reynodlss

Number: 165: A Male Surf Scoter was the last Mystery Goo bird released. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

“We are so happy to see the final clean, healthy seabird returned to the wild,” said Barbara Callahan, Interim Executive Director of International Bird Rescue (IBR). “We are also extremely grateful for the public’s support – including the generous donations that helped us fund this expensive response.”

The mystery goo impacted over 500 hundred aquatic birds – 323 were brought into care at IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield and 165 of those have now been RELEASED! The remaining birds were in such poor condition they could not be saved. At least 170 dead bird carcasses were picked up during January by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel.

The goo covered the feathers of 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.

No responsible party has yet to be identified and the cost of all the bird care has fallen to IBR who has relied on the help of the public and foundations for donations. Bird Rescue has spent nearly $150,000 on this unusual contaminant response. Donate here

Many of these rescued birds also came to the center with pressure sores on their hocks or toes from being stranded on hard land. These injures can take months of care and healing. Other patients had surgeries for keel injuries but most of those healed quickly.

On February 12, state and federal labs concluded that the substance that coated birds includes a mixture of non-petroleum-based fats or oils. See the press release from CAFW: http://ow.ly/J4bZp

This week a bill moved through the first round of committees that would open a state oil spill response fund to help pay for non-petroleum responses involving wildlife. See info on the bill proposed by California State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)

Surf Scoter released back to the wild by Russ Curtis of International Bird Rescue in Sausalito. Photo courtesy Soren Hemmila, Marinscope Newspapers


April 14, 2015

We Give Thanks During Volunteer Appreciation Week

This is Volunteer Appreciation Week and it reminds us that we appreciate our wonderfully helpful volunteers EVERY day!

Volunteers are a critical component of our 365 day a year bird care: They help feed our bird patients, keep clinics clean, run errands and perform some administrative duties.

Volunteers help cleanup a pond at our San Francisco Bay Center in April.

Top photo, Janille, a volunteer at our Los Angeles Center captures a Brown Pelican. Above, Volunteers help cleanup a pond at our San Francisco Bay Center in April. Photos by Bill Steinkamp and Cheryl Reynolds

Many of our volunteers have supported our “Every Bird Matters” efforts for more than 20 years!

During the Mystery Goo response this winter, we had more 300 volunteers that worked 5,000+ hours helping us rescue and rehabilitate the hundreds of seabirds that arrived at our San Francisco Bay Center.

We’re thankful to have volunteer help each day and without them the monumental task of caring for 5,000 injured, sick and orphaned aquatic birds at our two centers would be nearly impossible.

If you’d like to help, too, check out the upcoming volunteer orientations at both of our California centers: http://bird-rescue.org/get-involved/volunteer.aspx

April 10, 2015

Updated: Brown Pelican gunshot victim has perished

Resting after two surgeries to repair a broken wing bone, this male Brown Pelican is in critical condition. Photo by Kelly Berry – International Bird Rescue

This male Brown Pelican is still in critical condition after being shot in early March. Photo by Kelly Berry – International Bird Rescue

Updated April 14, 2015:  Sadly, the Brown Pelican gunshot victim died this week.

Nearly a month following the horrific shooting of a Brown Pelican found in Redondo Beach, International Bird Rescue is still caring for this critically injured seabird. After two major surgeries the bird is receiving supportive care due to an infected gunshot wound that fractured the bird’s ulna (wing).

This majestic male Brown Pelican is receiving nutritional support plus pain medications and antibiotics to treat his infection. The large amount of damaged tissue at the gunshot wound is continuing to be an obstacle to healing.

“This Pelican is in very guarded condition and we’re treating him with utmost care to help him heal,” says Dr. Rebecca Duerr, International Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian. “We hope that the public will assist us in finding the people responsible for this needlessly cruel and illegal act.”

Through an anonymous donor, there is a $5,000 reward offered to anyone with information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this shooting. To report, please call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at 310-328-1516.


On March 12th, a pelican that could not fly, was captured by Redondo Beach Animal Control. After being brought to our Los Angeles wildlife center, International Bird Rescue staff discovered he had a broken wing (ulna) and a fish hook embedded in his right shoulder.

This case seemed like a straightforward fishing gear injury until clinic staff took x-rays and discovered the ulna fracture was due to a gunshot wound. Tiny speckles of metal visible were noted in the radiograph image.

Pelican-Adopt-ButtonBrown Pelicans are federally protected birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As a species only recently removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009, Brown Pelicans have enough challenges in their lives without being shot.

IBR depends on the support of the public to care for animals injured in cruelty incidents, as well as those harmed by fishing gear and other human-caused injuries. Please donate now or Adopt-a-Pelican

April 9, 2015

Your Donation Goes Twice As Far…


Dear fellow bird lover,

After helping raise 1,400 baby birds last year, THIS spring is clearly going to be another busy season!

Last week we received a “Duckling Dozen” rescued by a California Highway Patrol officer and our friends at Solano County Animal Services. These 12 ducklings were rescued from the freeway after the mother duck lost her life. After closing the freeway, rescuers scooped the frightened birds up and quickly brought them to our San Francisco Bay Center.

Three goslings are some of the other baby birds in care this month at IBR. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Three goslings in care this month at our San Francisco Bay Center. (Top) Lots of orphaned Mallard ducklings, including these rescued from a local freeway.  Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

This is where we ask you to help support these precious lives.

Become a member now during our Spring Membership Drive and a generous donor will match your contribution up to $10,000! Just think, we can double your donation to support the birds!


We want to encourage monthly donors too, so we have special offer provided by ALEX AND ANI and their philanthropic division, CHARITY BY DESIGN. Supporters who become monthly donors will receive the ALEX AND ANI ‘Sacred Dove’ charm bangle, a beautiful piece from the ALEX AND ANI collection. It’s a wonderful way to show your support for the birds that inspire all of us every day. And you’ll be an official member of our Seabird Circle. Your pledge of $15 a month or more as a sustaining member makes it all possible.

With encroaching development squeezing out the available habitat for wildlife and changes in our climate, our patient-load continues to grow. Your support is needed more than ever to help us get through what we know will be a season full of animals in need – they need our lifesaving support to help them through being orphaned, entangled in fishing line, sick or injured.

Won’t you please join our Spring Campaign and help us meet our goal of raising $20,000 and help us help the thousands of wild birds that will need our help this year?

Thank you again for your unwavering and generous support,

Barbara Signature




Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director

April 3, 2015

The Release Files: Two Laysan Albatross Back To The Wild!

Albatross-IMG_0779-Double-Release-webTwo Laysan Albatross, rare birds indeed for Southern California, are back in the wild this week after a successful release Thursday afternoon.

Usually, we see one a year, but to have two at the same time is pretty incredible,” said Julie Skoglund, Operations Manager at International Bird Rescue (IBR), quoted in a Daily Breeze newspaper story. Read more


Two Laysan Albatross in the pool at IBR’s Los Angeles Center before release (above) off the San Pedro, CA coastline. Photos by Bill Steinkamp

The two wayward seabirds came into IBR’s Los Angeles Center late last month. One Laysan Albatross was rescued from a container ship and the other was found sitting in the desert. Read earlier blog post: Two Rare Albatross Ready For Release After Unusual SoCal Landings

Thanks to the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who shuttled the seabirds via boat ride to a release point off the San Pedro coastline.

IBR relies on the support of the public to care for wildlife, including wayward birds blown off course, those injured in cruelty incidents, as well as those harmed by fishing gear and other human-caused injuries.

Every Bird Matters and so does your donation!

April 1, 2015

Two Rare Albatross Ready For Release After Unusual SoCal Landings


Two Laysan Albatross, rare seabirds for Southern California that were rescued separately in the Los Angeles area, will be released together this week. They were each rehabilitated at International Bird Rescue’s San Pedro center.

Laysan Albatross was found sitting on a construction site in Palm Desert. Photo courtesy Melissa Usrey

One Laysan Albatross was found sitting on a construction site in Palm Desert, CA. Photo courtesy Melissa Usrey

One Albatross was rescued on March 21st after being found trapped between two containers aboard a cargo ship headed to the Port of Long Beach. The seabird was also oiled by grease and was cleaned by IBR staff last week. Read earlier blog post: Laysan Albatross Long, Greasy Ride to Freedom

The other Laysan Albatross was found on March 20th in the desert city of Rancho Mirage, about 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. It was stabilized by The Living Desert Zoo Gardens and transferred to Bird Rescue on March 30th.

Port_of_LB_LogoWe also want to say thanks to the Port of Long Beach for generously supporting the care of these majestic seabirds.

Laysan Albatrosses are frequent stowaways on container ships that travel the ocean highways. They have often been spotted resting or even building nests aboard these vessels.

The stowaway phenomenon is generally considered to be a simple case of mistaken identity. Laysan Albatrosses may see the flat surface of a cargo ship as the perfect new nesting island during breeding season.

With their tremendous 6 ½ foot wingspan, Laysan Albatross can glide long distances – sometimes 300-400 miles in one day. They breed on tiny islands in the North Pacific Ocean about 3,000 miles from California.

Top photo by Kelly Berry – International Bird Rescue