Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for May 2019

May 31, 2019

Goleta/421 Pier Oil Release Spill Event: Anything Can Happen

Site of the spill in Goleta, CA near 421 Pier at Haskell’s Beach.

On May 29, 2019 International Bird Rescue was activated for spill response by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) after approximately 80-125 gallons of crude were released into the Pacific Ocean on May 28 in Goleta, CA. This type of response is well within Bird Rescue’s wheelhouse, and we know what to expect: Within hours of notification, responders Susan Kaveggia and Jeannette Bates were on site and prepared to capture affected wildlife on May 29 and 30.

Luckily, few animals were impacted by this event, but just as in every drill or spill scenario, it pays to expect the unexpected! Several novel challenges came up during this event to keep everyone in the response thinking, including whether a pelican observed eating an oiled crab moments before capture was considered “contaminated” (ultimately, the bird was indeed considered oiled due to observable oil on its feet), and how to identify and process a deceased oiled sea cucumber (thanks to oceanic biologists!). Because we live in California and have a well-established and practiced Wildlife Response Plan and experienced responders in-state, these unexpected and unforeseen issues were resolved quickly without disrupting the response.

Bird Rescue is always ready to respond to an oil spill, whether it happens locally or abroad. In the same month as the Goleta Spill, our Response Management team traveled to Perth, Australia for SpillCon and Vancouver, BC for the Clean Pacific Conference. These events are sponsored by Industry and OSROs (Oil Spill Response Organizations) for Industry, and are a great opportunity to talk with our colleagues and share how Bird Rescue can help professionally manage and respond to wildlife affected in a spill.

 

May 27, 2019

It’s Dinosaur Week at Bird Rescue!

Celebrating Baby Herons and Egrets – Modern-Day Dinosaurs!

The connection between the today’s birds and their ancient dinosaur ancestors was first suggested in 1860 with the discovery of the feathered dinosaur, Archaeopteryx, in Germany. Today, when we look at the baby herons and egrets in care at our wildlife centers, that relationship couldn’t be more obvious. From their shape and appearance to the sounds they make, there is no question that these birds are modern-day dinosaurs!

The week of May 27-31, 2019 we will be highlighting the baby dinosaurs that come into care each year and the challenges they face in the modern world. Whether it’s nesting in busy, urban areas or conflicts with people, vehicles, or domestic animals, these birds need our help!

As part of Dinosaur Week, we have two special ways that YOU can take action today to help us raise the hundreds of baby “dinosaurs” that will come to us this year!

Adopt one of these Dino Birds

Each year our wildlife centers take in hundreds of orphaned baby herons and egrets. All of this work is funded through generous donations from supporters like you! To help, you can symbolically adopt one of  baby birds: Adopt a Baby Black-crowned Night-Heron!

Buy a limited edition Dino Bird Rescue t-shirt

In celebration of Baby Dinosaur Week at Bird Rescue, we are releasing a limited edition International Dinosaur Rescue T-Shirt! This design will only be available to order between now and June 2nd–order yours today!

Also, to help celebrate this Dino week we are giving away special dinosaur bird rescue t-shirts. Three lucky winners will chosen this week. Enter to win here

May 22, 2019

Kids Speak Up, Take Action for Black-Crowned Night-Herons in Oakland!

Celebrating victory at city hall: Kids from Park Day School and supporters after the Black-crowned Night-Heron was named the Official Bird of the City of Oakland!

Many of the Black-crowned Night-Herons that are injured or orphaned come in to care at our San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center from rookeries in Oakland, CA.

One of the best ways to take action to protect birds in crisis is to use your voice! Even the smallest voices can make a big difference, and Bird Rescue was proud to support the efforts of elementary school students from Park Day School earlier this week as they set an example of how to speak up on behalf of birds.

It all began in 2017 when a group of third-graders learned about Black-crowned Night-Herons and the threats they face in their home town of Oakland. The city holds multiple breeding colonies for these birds, and each spring hundreds of them come into care at Bird Rescue and other wildlife rehabilitation centers when baby herons fall from their nests onto hard pavement or into busy areas. Moved by the plight of these unique birds, the students jumped into action and started a campaign to name the Black-crowned Night-Heron the official city bird of Oakland. Over the following months, they spread the word and gathered thousands of signatures.

Two years later, the hard work of these tenacious kids paid off! Bird Rescue Executive Director, JD Bergeron, had the pleasure of attending a city council meeting to support the students as they made their final presentation before city officials. A vote was held, and the motion to give the Black-crowned Night-Herons the official designation passed unanimously!

Each of us can make a difference, just like the Park Day School students. Keep an eye out for the challenges your local birds and wildlife face and raise awareness of them in your community!

“You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” – Wangari Maathai

Back in 2017, the students jumped into action and started a campaign to name the Black-crowned Night-Heron the official city bird of Oakland.

 

May 10, 2019

This Spring We’re Rescuing Hundreds of Orphaned Ducklings!

Duckling in care with feathers contaminated with super glue. Photo by Jeanette Bates-International Bird Rescue

Each spring, hundreds of baby birds come into care at Bird Rescue. Human-wildlife conflicts are the primary causes of these admissions. As urban development continues, suitable nesting habitat decreases, bringing people and baby birds into contact.

Between our two California wildlife centers, this May we have over 200 ducklings already in care, including the little one pictured here that came in contaminated with super glue! Our team was able to remove enough of the glue to give the duckling full range of movement. To avoid putting the duckling through the stress of a rigorous wash process, we will wait for this patient to molt the contaminated down fluff naturally as its new feathers grow in over the coming weeks.

You can help protect baby birds in a variety of ways this season! Here are a few of our top suggestions:

  • Wait to trim your trees until nesting season is over (October – November)
  • If you see baby birds, give them space! Sometimes parents are nearby but are frightened of humans
  • Keep natural areas free from litter
  • Know when to rescue a baby bird, and when not to – Read some great tips from Audubon here.
  • Support your local wildlife rehabilitation organizations

If you would like to support Bird Rescue during baby bird season this year, consider symbolically adopting a duckling! Your donation will go a long way towards helping our orphaned patients grow up strong and healthy, and eventually return to the wild. Duckling adoptions can make a great birthday present or Mother’s Day gift too!

Your Duckling adoption comes with a downloadable certificate to honor that special loved one.

 

May 9, 2019

Innovative Wound Treatment Leads to Clark’s Grebe Release after 105 Days!

Clark Grebe’s had a tricky hock lesion to treat.

A Clark’s Grebe that was found oiled in Goleta and transferred down to our Los Angeles Wildlife Center for care presented an interesting challenge for treatment. Although he was only lightly oiled, due to being stranded, cold, starving, and burned by the oil, he had dead skin on both of his hocks that had adhered to the bones, which was a big cause for concern. After a full day of intensive care, this grebe was able to be washed and begin the drying and waterproofing process. Over the course of his trips out to the pools and back in for waterproofing checks, it became clear that the hock lesions on this grebe were infected and would need further treatment.

For the next several months, our staff invested a lot of time into treating this bird’s injuries. This investment was not only to try hard to save this individual, but also because these injuries and infections are commonly seen in diving birds and present a significant treatment challenge in many species. The clinical care of patients like this helps us to figure out what works and what doesn’t. One important new tool in our success in treating severe infections like this bird had is an antibiotic-impregnated polymer gel designed for use in dental abscesses in dogs (see: ClindOral). Our vet got the idea after seeing a talk on sea turtle wound care at a conference–sea turtle patients also often need to be housed in the water while their wounds are treated, so have a lot in common with Western Grebes!

After 105 days in our care, all of the hard work and specialized veterinary treatment paid off! This beautiful Clark’s Grebe was finally ready for release on May 8th, he was taken out to Cabrillo Beach and returned to his natural home in the wild!

We want to give our staff a huge thank you for working so hard and applying so many innovative techniques and treatments to this patient’s care, making it possible for him to have a second chance!

After more than three months in care, the Clark’s Grebe was released back to the wild.