Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for February 2018

February 24, 2018

You Can Help Us Raise More Than 2,000 Baby Birds!

Dear Nature Enthusiast,

Did you know that March marks the beginning of Baby Bird Season at International Bird Rescue? As early as the end of February, our clinics will begin flooding with thousands of orphaned baby birds. Due to human-related impacts such as habitat destruction, predator attacks from free-roaming cats, and abandoned nests due to environmental disturbance, many young chicks will end up at our wildlife centers.

While this season ALWAYS brings uncertainty as to how many nestlings will need our help, we are ALWAYS committed to helping each and every one. To get an inside peek at what Baby Bird Season at Bird Rescue is all about, watch this short video!

Baby Bird Season is hectic and costly in staff time and financial resources. Unlike traditional veterinary clinics, our patients come to us with no funding and no one responsible for paying the bill. And what’s worse, the bills for these young birds are always high. Baby bird patients require round-the-clock care, capable hands, and lots of food and vitamins in order to be raised successfully and returned to the environment. By pledging your support today, YOU can help us raise more than 2,000 baby birds this season!

How will your support get put to use? As an example, DONATIONS LIKE YOURS can cover the cost to care for a Black-crowned Night-Heron:

  • $36 covers feeding and housing a heron for two days
  • $100 provides surgery to a heron with a broken wing
  • $126 feeds a heron for a week
  • $600 funds the month-long stay of a healthy baby heron until its release
  • $1800 pays for required surgery and extended stay of an injured baby heron until its release

Please give generously through our busiest time of year – Baby Bird Season – and thank you for answering this call-to-action for aquatic chicks! To donate now, click below.

THANKS TO YOUR HELP over 2,000 orphaned birds will receive critical care at International Bird Rescue this spring, as well as a bright new opportunity to return to the wild. From all of us at Bird Rescue, THANK YOU for giving them a fresh start!

With Gratitude,

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

P.S. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join in on a week-long journey that will look at the diversity of baby birds that come into our care, and ways that you can help!

February 22, 2018

Vet Files: Pelican Pouch Laceration

Large pouch laceration in this Brown Pelicans when she was admitted to our hospital.

On January 27, we received a female adult Brown Pelican with a very large pouch laceration affecting the entire right side of her pouch. She was captured by two awesome local fishermen who have rescued injured birds to bring to us before—they noticed the large hole in her pouch and realized she needed help. Pelicans with large injuries to their pouch are generally completely unable to eat since all the fish they catch fall out. The birds slowly starve while trying to eat.

When this lady came to us, she was very skinny and very hungry. Our staff used skin staples to temporarily close the hole in her pouch while she replenished herself on our menu. Once she was medically more stable, we prepared for a long surgical procedure.

Four hands! Drs. Duerr and Purdin team up to close the bird’s large pouch laceration from both ends simultaneously.

Our veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr invited her husband (also a wildlife vet), Dr. Guthrum Purdin, to come stitch from the other end and meet in the middle, which worked out quite well! The wound had a badly damaged area that lead to the removal of a piece of the pouch and the surgeons taking a tuck, and a short section near the bill tip that was left open due to its closeness to the mandible. Despite being only about 1mm thick, pelican pouch heals fastest if it is sutured in two layers with fussy small stitches, which makes it time-consuming to repair but reduces the amount of time the bird has to stay in captivity. We are reasonably confident this wound was caused by a fish hook ripping the tissue.

Brown Pelican starting to wake up after a long surgery to repair a large pouch laceration. Note the wavy stripe area near the center–this is where a portion of the pouch had to be removed and a bit of tailoring was needed. Those darkly pigmented pouch stripes normally run parallel to the jaw.

At the bird’s checkup last week, the sutures were almost ready to come out and this now feisty lady was flying really well out in our aviary. We are happy to report that she is doing great and we expect to release her as soon as the incision has fully healed!

Gorgeous female Brown Pelican out in our aviary a few days after surgery. This is breeding season for Brown Pelicans, and our girl may have missed the action this year due to her injuries, but you can see a bit of her breeding colors in the bright red at the tip of her bill – Photo by Angie Trumbo

February 7, 2018

Bird of the Month: Diving Ducks

Canvasback – Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

February is Diving Duck Month here at Bird Rescue, and to celebrate this fun month we wanted to start out by talking about what a diving duck actually is. While all species of duck are in the same family (Anatidae) within that family ducks can be separated out into three main groups; diving ducks, dabbling ducks, and sea ducks/mergansers. Today, we will talk about diving ducks!

Diving ducks get their name from the way that they forage for food – diving underwater! In order to find the mollusks, plants, insects, and fish that they feed on, these athletic little ducks plunge themselves underwater in search of the food that they eat. According to the University of Florida, diving ducks have large webbed feet (which act as paddles) and smaller wings which they press up against their body, enabling them to dive and swim underwater with ease. While their smaller wings and larger feet may help with diving, they aren’t necessarily the best for taking flight, which is why you sometimes see ducks running across the water before taking off.

Most species of diving duck are native to North America, and we commonly see many species from the group at our clinic. Canvasbacks, Ruddy Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Greater and Lesser Scaups, Surf Scoters, and Buffleheads are all birds that we regularly see throughout the winter months. While most of these birds do not breed in California, they often pass through during winter migration.

While we enjoy celebrating the many unique traits of the diving ducks, their conservation status is a less jovial tale. According to Ducks Unlimited, this extraordinary group of birds has suffered from the deteriorating water quality throughout North America. Increased levels of contaminants in water sources, loss of aquatic vegetation (food) due to erosion, and breeding ground loss due to landfills are just a few of the challenges that these ducks face.

Though conservation may be a concern for these birds, together we can work together in doing our part to make decisions that look out for the water systems and habitats that support them. Join us in celebrating this wonderful group of ducks throughout the month of February, and stay tuned for factoids, photos, and conservation information about this beloved group. For daily updates follow us on Facebook!