Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for August 2015

August 22, 2015

Patient of the Week: Black Oystercatcher (Hatchling)


Young Black Oystercather in care at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

We have a very special patient this week that may be the first hatchling Black Oystercatcher we’ve cared for in our 44+ years.

This orphaned Oystercatcher was captured at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz, CA on August 7th by our friends at Native Animal Rescue (NAR). It arrived on August 9 weighing 23 grams. It has grown quickly and now weighs in at an impressive 112 grams.

The chick is in a shorebird box at our San Francisco Bay Center along with a surrogate parent (feather duster). It loves to munch on mussels and other mollusks.

Earlier this week eating mussels.

Last week Oystercatcher eating mussels.

At adulthood the Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) can grow to weigh 700 grams (24 oz) with a length of 47 cm (18.5 in). These noisy seabirds are found along the rocky coastal zones from Alaska to Baja California.

There only about 12,000 Black Oystercatchers along the west coast. They are associated with healthy, productive marine habitat and thus, a great indicator species of intertidal marine health.

August 20, 2015

The Release Files: Brown Pelican from Refugio Oil Spill

Photo of Brown Pelican release

Brown Pelican z44 was released at White Point Beach. Photo by Bill Steinkamp

Photo of Pelican exam

Kelly Berry, IBR Los Angeles Center manager, gives Z44 a final exam.

One of the last oiled Brown Pelicans rehabilitated after being rescued at the Refugio Oil Spill was released this week.

Banded with special green Z44 leg band, the Pelican was returned to the wild on Tuesday, August 18th at White Point Beach in San Pedro, CA.

Originally banded as W19, was transferred to us on July 7th covered in oil from the May 19th spill in Santa Barbara County. After washing the bird, an abscess was found on its chest that required surgery to remove.

More than 50 oiled birds – mainly Brown Pelicans – were cared for at International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center located in San Pedro.

Read: Oil Spill Over, But Animal Care Continues by Kelly Berry, IBR’s Manger at the Los Angeles Center

Special green Z leg bands will help researchers track Refugio spill birds.

Special green Z leg bands will help researchers track Refugio spill birds.

IBR was activated as a proud member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN). Staff and volunteers helped rescue, treat and wash the birds clean of oil. See an earlier post

The birds were oiled in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties after an oil pipeline break spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude at Refugio State Beach about 20 miles from the city of Santa Barbara.

A total of 252 oiled seabirds were collected. This includes 57 live oiled birds and 195 birds that were found dead. More info

Photos by Bill Steinkamp

Released Pelican join other seabirds – including Cormorants – on rocks off White

Released Pelican joins other seabirds – including Cormorants – on rocks off White Point Beach. Photo by Bill Steinkamp

August 12, 2015

The Weekly Bittern #3: Counting Birds

Dear Friends of Bird Rescue–

As I become more familiar with the work and challenges of Bird Rescue, I am aiming to give you more insider’s views of how things work at this amazing organization. The graphic above shows a snapshot of all the birds in our care in both the LA and SF Bay Wildlife Centers–that’s 292 feathery heartbeats that we need to feed, medicate, waterproof, watch over, and ultimately hope to release back into the wild.

At this time of year–breeding season–the vast majority of these numbers are orphaned and/or injured babies. The remainder consist of adult and juvenile birds that have come into care sick, broken, dehydrated, or otherwise compromised by fishing line, contaminants, animal attack, or the like.


The team has been working furiously all summer to stay on top of the high numbers of gull, heron and egret chicks–higher numbers than we have ever seen in a season!

Photo Credit: Cheryl Reynolds

Photo Credit: Cheryl Reynolds

Today, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a few interesting treatments here in the SF Bay center. The first was the arrival of a hatchling Black Oystercatcher (see photo), a species which we have never raised in-house and have only seen rarely as a patient in our history. The chick was put in a heated intensive care unit along with a surrogate parent (feather duster) and we began the effort to find a suitable food. Fortunately, the chick has a taste for mussels and we have been able to get her to feed directly on tiny bits of mollusk. We have reached out to some of our peers who may have more experience with this species for guidance on the best possible care.

Yesterday, I was able to watch a delicate surgery on a new patient, a White-faced Ibis (see slideshow) with a double fracture in one wing. This bird will be featured on our BirdCam soon. Our Staff Veterinarian Rebecca Duerr and SF Center Manager Michelle Bellizzi worked tirelessly on this gentle bird’s wing, setting the affected bones and stabilizing the wing for the healing period.

Our work never ends at Bird Rescue — in a few days’ time we will likely receive another intake of birds. Until then, we’ll be busy caring for those in our centers and providing the needed support to get them closer to release.

Thank you as always for your support of Bird Rescue. We are only as strong as our base of supporters. Please keep spreading the word!

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Best regards,





JD Bergeron