Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for July 2016

July 28, 2016

Patient of the Week: Double Trouble American White Pelican

Photo of American White Pelican with two fractured legs i care at International Bird Rescue

American White Pelican with two fractured legs contemplating fish while in a recovery cage we call a “peli box”. (Photos by Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue)

American White Pelican standing on exam table during a check-up. Both external fixators are visible; they are made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position. The odd shapes are due to the shapes of pelican legs, each fracture's different need for support, and the need for the bird to be able to both stand and crouch comfortably.

American White Pelican standing on exam table during a check-up. Both external fixators are visible; they are made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position.

This beautiful American White Pelican was transferred to us on July 18 from our colleagues at the SPCA for Monterey County’s Wildlife Center, after being found on a rural road in Monterey County with injuries consistent with being stuck by a vehicle. They sent our staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, some x-rays that did not make the case seem very hopeful…but it was intriguing! The bird had a good attitude (snappy and feisty) and was in otherwise good condition, but had two broken legs. In pelicans, the bone that is broken in this bird (the tarsometatarsus) is a fracture that requires pinning in order to have a good outcome. Our vet had pinned several of these in pelicans before but never both legs on the same bird! The rehabilitators in Monterey splinted the fractures temporarily and transferred him to our San Francisco Bay center for surgery.

On examination at our center, the left tarsometatarsus had intact skin but felt like a crunchy shattered mess through the whole middle half of the bone. On the x-rays we could see a series of longitudinal cracks, but it felt structurally sound on each end, which boded well for holding pins. The right side felt more-or-less intact but had a squishy, caved-in area on the front side that appeared as a greenstick (incomplete) fracture on x-rays. Even in a well-fitted splint, greenstick tarsometatarsus fractures in pelicans tend to bend and warp as they heal, leaving the bird with altered weight-bearing on the leg and subsequent trouble standing and walking. Both legs definitely needed pinning. Surgery to place pins happened last week.

We are happy to report this bird is now standing and walking very well on his pinned legs! He is also much less cranky now that he can stand up and walk away from us. He has been spending his time enjoying the menu and has gained quite a bit of weight. His foot posture when standing is excellent and he has perfect control of all his toes. So far so good!

The pins will be removed in a few weeks.

How did you help a bird today? Donate and support the ongoing care that our two California wildlife centers provide to to 5,000+ aquatic birds each year.

X-rays of American White Pelican with broken legs in care at International Bird Rescue

Radiographs of the left (on left) and right (on right) tarsometatarsus (leg) fractures in an American White Pelican. The right leg has a a greenstick (incomplete) fracture, and the metal piece of bird shot does not appear associated with the fracture. The left leg shows multiple longitudinal fractures throughout the central half of the bone.

Closeup of American White Pelican sleeping peacefully under anesthesia while his two fractured legs are being pinned.

Closeup of American White Pelican sleeping peacefully under anesthesia while his two fractured legs are being pinned.

July 17, 2016

Freshly Hatched Cormorants: ‘They’re Getting So Big!’

DCCO-chicks-yawnCormorant eggs found by Caltrans last month are beginning to hatch, representing a rare example of how humankind can come together to save wildlife. Staff and volunteers at International Bird Rescue are buzzing about happily, sharing images of the new hatchlings. Here, you get to see one of those precious pictures.

Help-Cormie-HatchlingAt just three days old, they are growing fast! It takes the keen attention of dedicated staff to make sure they get the best chance at survival by feeding them on the hour while wearing a head-to-toe bird suit, as to protect them from being too comfy with humans.

Isabel Luevano, our Lead Rehab Technician in our San Francisco Bay Center states, “Just three days ago, they were so tiny only eating small bits of fish. Now these guys are ready for whole fish. They’re getting so big!”

Double-crested cormorants are a robust seagoing bird with some amazing abilities. They are great flyers, superb divers, and are one of the few species of aquatic birds whose feathers are not completely waterproof. They spend hours sunning themselves and waving their wings to dry off after a swim. In nature, you can see them easily on rocks along many shorelines.

Won’t you help these little guys today, by making a $15 dollar donation to help pay for the cost of food? We want to see these Cormies continue to grow healthy and strong and reach adulthood in the wild. How beautiful would it be to see one of them out on the rocks sunning themselves under the big open sky?!

Our clinics operate with the help of individual giving, so any amount you offer has a huge impact. We even have simple monthly giving programs, for as little as $4 per month that make you an official member. For questions related to membership or other ways to give, please contact Michele Johnson at michele.johnson@bird-rescue.org.

Caltrans and International Bird Rescue continue to work closely to monitor the old Bay Bridge site for cormorants and any nesting behavior. This public-private partnership and others like it are crucial for wildlife conservation. Thank you for your continued interest and support of International Bird Rescue’s mission to mitigate human impact on seabirds and other aquatic bird species.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Reynolds

July 15, 2016

Meet Talia: A Bird Rescue Intern Making A Difference

Talia-Science-FairWe are pleased to honor Talia Baddour, above, a recent intern at International Bird Rescue (Bird Rescue) in San Pedro, CA, who was the recipient of the first place award in the Zoology category at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Science and Engineering Fair. She was also awarded the United States Air Force Award at a science fair held at the South Bay Botanical Gardens.

HCBF_Logo with webTalia came to Bird Rescue through the Harbor Community Academic Internship program. This program is funded by the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation which gives local students the chance to gain experience in wildlife conservation and biology. The program also gives Bird Rescue the opportunity to connect with local students in the community. Due to the nature of the work performed at Bird Rescue, community interaction is limited. The program allows Bird Rescue to expand this interaction by granting students with an interest in animals, wildlife conservation, or biology access to see how the field operates outside the academic world.

Talia was accepted into the Harbor Community Academic Internship program in the summer of 2015. During her time at Bird Rescue, she witnessed the human impact on the local sea bird population, watched people who have dedicated their careers to mitigating this impact, and observed the importance of a positive and welcoming work environment. In her words she said “actually seeing first-hand what birds go through and how they are affected by people has helped me understand the importance of protecting them.” The internship allowed her to experience the amount of work that goes into helping injured birds and eventually returning them to the wild. She further stated the people she interacted with at Bird Rescue were “the most social coworkers I have ever had,” and they played a major role in helping her complete the research project.

The program requires the intern to work on a research project focused on a subject related to the work done at Bird Rescue. With the help of the Bird Rescue staff the intern chooses a project in an area that is of most interest to them. Talia studied a phenomenon known as Broken Feather Patch (BFP), which affects aquatic bird species such as loons and Common Murres. A bird that is found to have a BFP typically cannot maintain its plumage in a waterproof state. The BFP structurally compromises the bird’s feather layers leaving their skin to be exposed to cold ocean water, leading to hypothermia. In her research, Talia found that Common Murres are more likely to have a BFP than any other species. She also found that most birds (59%) coming in with BFPs were from Malibu beaches. This led her to theorize that because Malibu has so many miles of beach property and a high number of people visiting these beaches that the stranded or beached bird was more likely to be recovered in these areas. Finally, she noted that although BFPs were more common in non-oiled birds, they were the primary reason for euthanasia in oiled ones.

talia-bird-rescue-intern

Talia with other interns who helped at Dawn dish soap event featuring Ian Somerhalder, right, as the guest celebrity.

Interns have the opportunity to participate in events held by Bird Rescue. Talia helped with an event sponsored by Dawn dish soap featuring Ian Somerhalder as the guest celebrity. This event was held to raise awareness of human impact on the environment and highlighted the partnership Dawn has with Bird Rescue. The event was held at the Bird Rescue San Pedro facility and allowed the staff and volunteers to take part in educating the public. Events such as these occur frequently at Bird Rescue in an effort to educate the public about the work that takes place in this unique environment. The interns are welcomed to help and participate in many aspects.

Another benefit of the internship program is the opportunity to participate during environmental crises, such as oil spills. Interns gain first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience by aiding the staff in these events. They work in a fast-paced work environment alongside the staff and learn how bird care is performed when high volumes of effected birds are rehabilitated simultaneously.

In March 2016, Talia entered her research study in the Palos Verdes Peninsula United School District (PVPUSD) Science and Engineering fair. This event is held by The Palos Verdes Peninsula Education Foundation (www.pvpef.org). This foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing key programs and staff to the local schools. Talia was awarded first place against 18 student entries in the category of Zoology. She also won the United States Air Force Award, in a field of 115 entrants at a science fair held at the South Bay Botanical Gardens. After winning these two awards, Talia decided to continue working with Bird Rescue by volunteering in the hospital and working with the birds directly.

This internship program has proven to be highly beneficial. Interns receive the unique opportunity to interact, research, and observe the amazing work performed at International Bird Rescue. Those that have graduated the program have walked away with invaluable skills that they can apply in their future career choices.

July 6, 2016

Window into the Pelican’s World: New Streaming PeliCam At Los Angeles Center

Photo of Brown Pelican from the new PeliCam at Bird Rescue's Los Angeles Center

We’re excited to announce we’ve added a new live streaming BirdCam to our Los Angeles Center!

Thanks to a grant from the Christen C. and Ben H. Garrett Family Foundation we recently installed a new high definition video system that really shows off our bird patients recuperating in the 100-foot flight aviary. Viewers will see Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Gulls and more. Another camera indoors will show off ducklings , goslings and other species.

This is the first live streaming set of cameras at our Los Angeles Center located near the coast in San Pedro. Bird Rescue’s first BirdCam feed began three years ago at our San Francisco Bay Center.

With two full-time wildlife centers in California, we treat more than 6,000 bird patients a year. All of our support comes from  individual donations, foundation grants and corporate donations.

With the addition of the new BirdCam in Southern California, we are moving to a new streaming platform via HDonTap. This new feed works on all devices including the iPhone and iPad without the need for a Flash player.

We’d like to thank HDonTap and especially Joe Pifer who designed and install the new system.

We also want to give a big shout out of thanks to Doug Lankenau and Dave Goleman, volunteers at the California Fish and Wildlife volunteer program. Additionally, they provided us with wiring assistance at the San Francisco Bay Center by designing and fabricating two special mobile camera mounts for our inside caging.

The Axis Q1765-LE, an HD camera, is used to capture live video feed from the pelican aviary in San Pedro, CA.

Equipment used

Back in 2013 with a very modest budget Bird Rescue purchased two Axis 1214-E cameras. These are very small security keyhole cameras got us off the ground but they were really not built to withstand the punishing outdoor weather and indoor moisture issues at our centers.

This year we moved to high definition (HD) cameras. We again chose Axis cameras, but opted for more sturdy, weather resistant models. The outdoor pool cameras are Axis Q765-LE models with optical zooms. They are sharp durable models with heavy weatherproofing, IR and audio capable. The indoor duckling and ICU boxes are running on Axis 3364-LVE models for a wide view. They too have IR and audio abilities.

The system is managed by Russ Curtis, Bird Rescue’s Technology Manager.

http://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-p1214-e

http://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-q1765-le

http://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-p3364-lve