Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

March 15, 2018

Founder of Bird Rescue Celebrates 81 Years of Inspired Living

Alice Berkner releases a Commun Murre

In 1971, when she was just 34 years old, Alice Berkner did something that had never been done before: she faced down the seemingly impossible task of rescuing and protecting 7,000 wild birds that had been contaminated in a massive oil spill near the Golden Gate Bridge.

The plight of these birds inspired Alice, along with a handful of concerned volunteers, to do everything they could to save them. The work they did together became foundation of International Bird Rescue, which now has worked nearly 250 spills around the world.

Today, we continue to take inspiration from Alice’s example and we endeavor to bring new solutions to the seemingly impossible:

Alice Berkner with a Long-tailed Duck

  • In January 2015, we rescued over 300 birds contaminated with a “mystery goo”, bringing our crisis response experience to a non-oil spill challenge.
  • In September 2015, we took in over 500 starving and ill common murres from the Pacific Coast, seemingly the victims of changing ocean temperatures which may have been caused by humans.
  • We are currently conducting a study into better treatments for typical wounds seen in seabirds to improve their survival chances.

We have expanded our mission beyond oil spills to all areas that impact wild birds, particularly urban wildlife conflict, fishing line & fish hooks, orphaning caused by habitat disturbance, and other large-scale crises. We aim to inspire stewardship of our global waters–both marine and fresh–by continuing Alice’s legacy of rescuing and protecting the birds that live, swim, and feed there.

It all comes down to a basic premise: birds and all wildlife have as much right to this planet as we humans do, and we owe whatever advantages we can provide in exchange for the new challenges we have introduced.

Please join me in celebrating Alice Berkner, her contributions to a cleaner and more just world, and to the message of hope that she has given us by donating to raise a $1,000 or more together!

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