Every Bird Matters
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August 24, 2017

The Story of Spot Has A Very Happy Ending!

Photo of Grebe with spot on head

Dear Friend,

The spring and summer months at International Bird Rescue bring new life, and with it a special time of wildlife rescue and care: Baby Bird Season. This year, an exceptional story about one of our smallest patients left its mark upon me.

This is the story of Spot (and it has a happy ending!)

On May 29th, a tiny, orphaned bird with silver down entered our care weighing only 185 grams, which is approximately the weight of just 30 quarters. This baby, shown in the first photo, is a Western Grebe, a kind of diving bird that is equally at home in fresh and salt water. While we never name the wild birds in our care beyond a simple number to track them, we’ll call this adorable fellow “Spot” for the sake of our story.

As they grow, these cute-but-drab babies become elegant adults with a black head and red eyes. Western Grebes live in large flocks, are adept at fishing, and have perhaps the most elaborate breeding ritual of any animal in North America.

But these baby grebes carry an extraordinary trait that has become most meaningful for us at Bird Rescue. As a chick, the Western Grebe has a patch of bare skin on its forehead, which remarkably turns a bright red color when the chick is hungry. Once fed, the “red dot” fades away and will not come back again until the chick is once again hungry.

You can help us save the lives of birds in critical need. Please give today!

The red dot has ultimately become the symbol of our center’s greatest challenge this year: FISH. Fish are the main food staple for most of our patients. In order to tame the red dot on Spot’s forehead, we needed to feed him small amounts of fish every 20-30 minutes at first, and then gradually larger amounts but less frequently as he grew.

We use human-grade fish in order to ensure that our patients have the best possible chance of success, but this also creates serious challenges for our budget. Overfishing and warming ocean waters are leading to challenges in finding affordable, high-quality fish to feed our patients. Bird Rescue’s fish budget has more than doubled this year!

Please join us in providing a basic need: life-supporting food source for the most vulnerable birds that share the environment with you. Your donation today helps bridge the gap!

Not every bird has a red dot to quickly tell us when they need food, but EVERY bird in our care is hungry. The daily and sometimes hourly feeding schedule for our patients, coupled with the high cost of fish, has given Spot’s red dot a special meaning this year, reminding me how hunger is ever present and urgent for all the birds at our clinics; and that is 221 mouths to feed as I write this letter!

If you are reading this note, we know that you already appreciate our work and I’m writing you today to ask for your continuing support by sending us your donation.

$45 is our annual membership dues and it feeds a baby bird like Spot for a month.
$90 will feed two birds for a month.
For $335, you can feed all the birds in our care for an entire day!

Spot’s journey from our smallest patient to full health as a young adult ended in his release back into the wild on July 14th. The second photo shows him majestically transformed into adulthood as he was swimming away to join a group of Western Grebes at Clear Lake in California. Though we may never know his destiny for sure, we let Spot take flight with many hopes for a bright future for him and all the birds. We are so grateful to you for being a supporter of yet another successful bird rescue story!

You can find a video of Spot being fed and the beautiful mating dance of the Western Grebes on our Facebook page where you can follow and like us. To learn more about all of our critical work, please visit our website at www.bird-rescue.org. As always, we stand prepared for wildlife oil spill response AND our door remains open 365 days per year to assure a safe healing place for all birds otherwise in need.

How will you help a bird today?

Warm wishes from all of us at International Bird Rescue,

P.S. Remember to donate a membership for your friend and we will send them a card welcoming them into the International Bird Rescue Family!

May 11, 2017

For Mother’s Day: Adopt a Duckling!

Everybody needs a Mom! These orphaned Ducklings are a reminder that Mother’s Day (May 14th) is just a around the corner. What better way to celebrate than with a bird adoption.

Adopt a bird in your Mom’s name and download a customizable PDF adoption certificate. With a $125 donation you can adopt a clutch of Ducklings. For as little as $25, you can symbolically adopt a single Duckling!

Each spring hundreds of ducklings stream into our California centers in search of a meal, a warm home and some TLC. In care this week we have 167 Dabbling Ducks and ducklings. You can help. Support their care and make Mom proud, too.

 

March 24, 2017

A Weakened EPA Means Even More Need for Bird Rescue

With current threats to clean water, regulation and protection of endangered species, our work is as critical as ever. International Bird Rescue is a world leader in oiled wildlife response and aquatic bird rehabilitation, with the mission to mitigate human impact.

Bird Rescue came into being in 1971 after an oil spill near the Golden Gate Bridge resulted in the contamination of thousands of seabirds. For the last 46 years, we have remained on standby to respond to large-scale spills and human-caused disasters.

In our everyday work, we are responding to ever-increasing challenges for wildlife in our environment. We aim to provide the highest standard of care and to release as many rehabilitated birds as possible back into the wild.

In addition to delivering the necessary food and medical expertise to meet patients’ needs, we build public awareness and understanding of the environmental impacts of human activity on water birds and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Your support now will allow us to respond when we are needed. We hope it will not be soon, but we must be prepared no matter what challenge may arise.

To see a map of our global spill response efforts since 1971, click here.

 

September 2, 2016

Adopt-a-Loon in Honor of Loon Month!

Loon

This September we celebrate Loons as our bird of the month, and the unique care that is required for this particular species. Have you ever heard the sounds of a Loon? We’ve got a great video posted on our Facebook page, where you can watch and listen to the beautiful vocalizations. When a Loon comes through our doors, we must work quickly to stabilize, as loons tend to be one of the more fragile species we get into care.

Did you know it costs $10 a day to provide a Loon with fish to eat, the necessary medical treatment and supplements, and clean water to swim in?

This means for Loons alone, the average cost is $300 a month!

Will you help us by adopting a Loon today for just $10? For every Loon adopted we will share on our social media sites, to encourage participation and help meet our fundraising goal of $3,500. This will cover our estimated cost for caring for this species in the year ahead.

You can even adopt a bird as a gift to someone that you know works really hard as a thank you to him or her, while also helping a bird today. Your adoption includes a fun downloadable PDF that you can print and display proudly.

Will you help us reach our fundraising goal of $3,500 this month by adopting a Loon today?

Adopt-Loon

September 2, 2015

Seabirds Are Overwhelming International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Center

Murres-pool-9-2015

More than 150 stranded Common Murres have come in for care at IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center has been hit by an uncommon wave of Common Murres—more than 150 of them in August. The majority of these seabirds are young, malnourished chicks, exhausted and unable to maintain their body temperature.

Murre-Adopt-ButtonTo help in the quest to save the lives of these numerous vulnerable and needy seabird patients, IBR is asking for support from the bird-appreciating public.

“This is an unusually large post-breeding event and is severely straining our bird center resources,” said Michelle Bellizzi, manager of IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center. “We hope the public will help by donating to care for these birds.”

At our already busy center, the murre patients are taking over — especially in the outdoor pelagic pools. The number of murres this year is exceptional – especially since IBR rarely sees more than 10 of these bird species in one month during the summer. Check out the live BirdCam

COMU-hatchling-pool-cry

Hatchling year Common Murres are among the most seabird patients in care.

To most people, the Common Murre (Uria aalge) looks very much like a small penguin; in fact, the public often reports seeing “little penguins” stranded on the Bay area beaches when, in fact, they’re seeing murres. In contrast to Penguins, which are flightless and live in southern oceans, Common Murres are diving seabirds that can fly, and that breed and feed widely along the Pacific Coast from central California to Alaska.

Except when nesting, which they do on rocky cliffs, murres spend their lives in and on the water and are nothing less than super-divers—essentially “flying” through water by using their wings to propel themselves and diving in excess of 200 feet below the surface to forage.

As for what’s at the root of this huge influx of ailing Common Murres, no one knows for sure. Some scientists surmise that as waters warm along the California coast, diving birds starve as fish go deeper to reach cooler waters, putting themselves out of the birds’ reach. This summer Northern California coastal waters have seen an increase of 5 to 10 degrees above historical averages.

Whatever the issue, what’s happening to these seabirds is important, since Common Murres have served as a key indicator species for ocean conservation for many years, and their numbers have been trending downwards with documented changes in fish stocks, chronic oil spills, and interactions with humans.

Even in the best of times, IBR relies on public support to treat and feed ill and injured seabirds each year—more than 5,000 patients are cared for annually at IBR’s two California centers.

Right now, Common Murres needing life-saving care are proving extra-challenging and are truly testing IBR’s resources. Donations are greatly needed and greatly appreciated. And for those who wish to donate in the form of a symbolic “adoption” of a murre, they can do so at http://bird-rescue.org/adopt-murre

 

May 1, 2015

On Mother’s Day, Make Mom Proud With A Duckling Adoption!

Your Duckling adoption + our loving hands = Great Mother's day gift!

Your Duckling adoption + our loving hands = Great Mother’s day gift!

Dear Fellow Bird Lover,

Happy May Day! With Mother’s Day just around the corner on Sunday, May 10, we’d like to suggest a winning gift idea: a Duckling adoption!

Adopt a bird in your Mom’s name and we will provide you with a customizable adoption certificate. With a $75 donation you can “adopt” of clutch of Ducklings. For as little as $25 you can symbolically adopt a single Duckling!

Best-Mother-Certificate-iconWith any bird adoption you can celebrate knowing that this gift of love and life will provide support for the hundreds of orphaned ducklings and baby birds we care for each year at our California wildlife centers.

Create a Mother’s Day certificate online. This PDF is suitable for full-page printing and mailing. Let us know if you want us to mail it and if we receive your order by Tuesday, May 5th, the certificate will be mailed in the following day’s mail.

If you would, please tell a friend about this Mother’s Day adoption by forwarding this email to all animal lovers in your life!

Thank for your continuing generosity,

Barbara Signature

 
 
 

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

December 9, 2014

Grebe Tidings to You! (An update on the year-end drive)

YearEndGrebes

Dear Friends,

Good news! Thanks to your support, International Bird Rescue’s year-end online giving campaign is off to a great start. As of today, we’ve raised 61% of our $30,000 goal.

Not only is a year-end gift to International Bird Rescue tax-deductible, but also it supports a growing number of patients coming to our wildlife hospitals as winter arrives.

Among them: 16 Western Grebes currently being treated at our Los Angeles center. This species, shown above, is commonly affected by marine pollution as well as severe storms, which can knock grebes to the ground in urban areas where they cannot regain flight (grebes need a runway of water to become airborne).

All grebes are labor-intensive patients. They’re also wonderful birds that we hope will be common sights along our coasts for generations to come. The Western Grebe’s courtship ritual is the stuff of avian legend!

This season, you can even “adopt” your own grebe, and we’ll send an official adoption certificate to you or to your gift recipient. Please allow up to two business days for an email version to be sent out, and one week for a certificate via standard mail.

December 31 is coming soon! Please make a tax-deductible gift to help us meet our goal for the birds cared for 365 days a year.

Warmest wishes this holiday season,

Barbara Signature

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director

October 25, 2014

The great grebe-a-thon: Almost there!

Eared-Grebes-Updated
We’re almost there! Thank you so much for everyone who has adopted a crash-landed grebe to support its care and give one amazing bird a second chance to make it south!

October 22, 2014

Here’s how you can help crash-landed migratory grebes in California…

Eared Grebe-Cheryl Reynolds
Eared Grebe, photo by Cheryl Reynolds

With fall migration in full swing, large numbers of migratory birds are moving through California on their way south. These birds follow the Pacific Flyway, one of four major routes in the Americas for migratory travel.

Autumn becomes a very busy time for International Bird Rescue due to birds that have crash-landed in urban areas during migration. Both our centers are currently caring for a large number of crash-landed birds, primarily Eared Grebes (pronounced “greebs”).

EAGRWhy do these birds crash land? Crash-landed birds, also known as grounded birds, are birds that have hit the ground and are unable to regain flight. Eared Grebes, for instance, can easily mistake wet pavement and shallow ponds as deeper waterways, and often become grounded in parking lots and streets.

Eared Grebes have beautiful and remarkable yellow ear tufts during breeding season. The ones you see in this post sport non-breeding plumage as they migrate to the southwest US and into Mexico.

About the size of a grapefuit, Eared Grebes are the smallest of the diving birds and are known for their excellent swimming ability, with lobed feet placed far back on their bodies. However, grebes are not suited for land and require a long water runway to take flight. When grounded, these birds will end up dragging themselves as they try to swim. Unless captured, treated for their injuries and relocated to water, they will not survive.

In Southern California alone, injured grebes in our care have been found in many locations, including:

A runway at LAX
Union Station in downtown Los Angeles
• Two swimming pools in Malibu
A front yard in Santa Monica
• At the busy intersection of Wilshire and Centinela in Santa Monica
• The Ventura County Fairgrounds

International Bird Rescue is very thankful for the support of bird lovers everywhere who want to help. Thanks to the Port of Long Beach, our first 10 Eared Grebe patients have been symbolically adopted.

We currently have over 50 Eared Grebes in care — over twice the number during the same period last year, for unknown reasons — and many have yet to be symbolically adopted as part of our Adopt-a-Bird program. You can adopt your own Eared Grebe, for yourself or for a loved one. Click on a grebe below to get started.

Eared-Grebes

Migratory Grebes Crash Land Throughout California from International Bird Rescue on Vimeo.

August 2, 2014

An Elegant Tern Loses Her Baby to Fishing Hooks

Terns in tangle after being hooked together last month in Southern California.

Elegant Terns in tangle after being hooked together last month in Southern California. Photo by Nick Liberato

Dear Friends,

If you work in this business, you learn to live with a lot of heartache. For every case ending in an awe-inspiring release, there’s an animal whose injuries were just too much to bear.

Some stories are a mix of both.

PBGR-Donate-buttonOur Los Angeles center team recently received this adult Elegant Tern and a tern chick hooked together by a multi-hook fishing lure.

Nick Liberato, a biologist who monitors a tern colony on nearby Terminal Island, found the birds and took the photo upon rescue. “I spotted them as I was ushering some stray chicks back through the chick fencing and into the main rookery,” Liberato says. “At first, I thought they were just tangled in monofilament [fishing line], but when I saw that multi-hooked lure puncturing both of them, I knew my tools wouldn’t cut it, so I got them over to you guys as quickly as possible.”

Our rehabilitation team separated mother from chick and extensively nursed the severe wounds of both animals. Sadly, the tern’s injuries had already become infected, and this baby bird did not survive. The mother healed remarkably after several weeks of care, and was recently released by our intern and volunteer team at Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach, CA. You can see video of this story below.

Fishing hooks and fishing line are such a pervasive problem for seabirds, and a leading cause of injury in the birds we care for at our California centers. If you fish, be mindful of where your gear ends up. We know there are many fishermen who are responsible, and it’s our wish that you’ll spread this message to others. We are grateful that you set a good example out on the water and at the cleaning stations.

And we can all do our part by picking up plastic pollution and discarded gear wherever we see it in the marine environment. You may end up saving a wild bird’s life.

Meanwhile, a particularly busy summer of orphaned birds, injured pelicans and oiled seabirds continues full steam. By last count, we have well over 300 injured, ill or orphaned birds at our wildlife hospitals. Please consider making a donation to support the birds we all love. A gift of $100, $50, $25 or even $10 goes a long way.

In gratitude,

Barbara Signature

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director

A bittersweet release: Elegant Tern from International Bird Rescue on Vimeo.

May 6, 2014

This Mother’s Day, send a “duckling-gram” adoption e-certificate!

Mothers-Day-Duckling-Gram-440px

The “duckling-gram” adoption e-certificate for Mother’s Day

Dear Bird Lovers,

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, May 11. If you haven’t yet found that perfect gift, we’ve got one here for you!

We’ve received literally hundreds of orphaned ducklings this spring at our wildlife centers. Why not symbolically adopt two in honor or in memory of Mom?

It’s simple. Click on the “duckling-gram” above (or click here) to make your Mother’s Day special adoption (the suggested adoption is $35).

Our design team will custom tailor your duckling duo e-certificate with your special message, and we’ll send to Mom’s email inbox within 24 hours of your donation (including Mother’s Day on Sunday).

We can also create a memorial e-certificate celebrating Mom’s spirit and send to you via email. Custom certificates are perfect for full-page printing.

Your adoption gift will help care for two ducklings as well as the hundreds of baby birds we care for each spring.

And please tell a friend about this special by forwarding this email to animal lovers in your life!

In gratitude,

Team International Bird Rescue

PS-You can check out baby birds in care live on our BirdCam, streaming in real-time from International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center.

 

March 20, 2014

Give during our spring drive and your gift is DOUBLED!

Basic-Membership 3 Sustaining-Members

Dear friends,

In a few days, we’ll be marking a sobering milestone: the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. Shortly after midnight on March 24, 1989, the oil tanker struck Blight Reef in Prince William Sound, home to more than 220 bird species.

International Bird Rescue’s response team was crucial in efforts to save as many oiled birds as possible. Out of this tragedy, we developed new methods of transport and stabilization, and launched an international internship program that has trained people from around the globe on how to save animals affected by spills.

Thanks to the generosity of two longtime supporters, we’re pleased to launch our spring donor drive with a dollar-for-dollar match. We have a $25,000 goal for our spring drive through the first week of April. Your gift is crucial to ensuring we continue to give world-class care to birds in need, including this Great Horned Owl, recently brought to our Los Angeles center contaminated with a clear substance on its chest and under its wing.

Alex-and-Ani-Bangle-PromotionWhat’s more, sign up today as a monthly donor of $10 a month or more, and we’ve got a special gift for you: the feather bangle by Alex and Ani. It’s a beautiful way to show your support for the pelicans and other birds that inspire all of us every day. And you’ll be an official member of our Seabird Circle. Your pledge of $10 a month or more as a sustaining member makes it all possible.

Or, you can make a single gift by clicking here. Whatever the level, all our supporters are bird rescue heroes.

Thank you for your support,

Jay Holcomb-Signature

Jay Holcomb
Director

P.S. – Also, read about our advocacy work with Audubon California calling for coordinated monitoring of the Brown Pelican in an Los Angeles Times op-ed here.

Great Horned Owl 2

February 9, 2014

For the lovebird in Your life: Adopt a Duckling Duo

Valentine-TemplateThis Valentine’s Day, share a special note to a lovebird in your life with our duckling pair adoption. For just a $20 gift to International Bird Rescue, we’ll create this custom valentine e-card with an optional personal message and send it on February 14 to your special valentine.

Your gift will help support the care and feeding of hundreds of orphaned baby birds like these wonderful ducklings cared for in the spring by International Bird Rescue.

There are many reasons why large numbers of orphaned ducklings end up at our centers. Many mother ducks see landscaped yards as prime nesting spots. Once hatched, mother ducks must walk their babies to the closest available water.

In that initial and important first journey, they meet cars, dogs, people, steep gutters, storm drains and wild predators. Many ducklings become separated and stranded and attempts to reunite them with their panicked mother are often futile. Thankfully, many of these birds end up in our care. Click here to send a valentine!

Your gift of $20 will help care for two ducklings. This is the perfect valentine for the wildlife lover in your life!

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Team International Bird Rescue

November 15, 2013

Our patient of the week is … a rhinoceros?

Auklet, Rhinoceros IMG_3081-L

Well, not quite. But the Rhinoceros Auklet gets its name for a reason.

Residents of the North Pacific, Rhinoceros Auklets (Cerorhinca monocerata) are also known as “Unicorn Puffins” for the small horn extension on their beaks, present in both males and females during breeding season (click here for a photo of this species during breeding). Like many seabirds, they are threatened by oil seeps and spills, including natural seepage off the Southern California coast. Unable to waterproof themselves, oiled birds often end up on popular public beaches.

That’s what happened to this Rhinoceros Auklet. We received the bird from a partner wildlife group after it was found oiled at Malibu’sAucklet, Rhinoceros IMG_2022-M famous Zuma Beach. After the auklet’s condition was stabilized, our Los Angeles center team washed a significant amount of oil off the bird. Without this process, oiled seabirds are unable to survive the cold temperatures of their ocean home.

This is just one of hundreds of oiled birds we care for every year — whether in California or beyond, including the Alberta tar sands, where an International Bird Rescue response team has spent months this year caring for animals affected by a bitumen release in a remote area.

Though this auklet may not know it (he’s far more concerned with the fish delivered to his pool during recovery), it’s your support that makes this work possible. Thank you!

AukletAnd check out our new Rhinoceros Auklet adoption level at our bird adoptions page here. Adoptions are symbolic and represent how your donation can help International Bird Rescue’s work on behalf of aquatic birds worldwide. Your gift will be used where needed most to rescue and rehabilitate birds impacted by both natural and man-made threats, such as oil spills and algal blooms.

Photos by Bill Steinkamp

Aucklet, Rhinoceros IMG_2098-L

October 21, 2013

Update on Northern Pintail: Adopted!

Northern Pintail 1

This past weekend, we brought you news of a female Northern Pintail that our Los Angeles center received after she had been struck by a car near The Queen Mary in Long Beach. An injury to her keel required surgical repair by our veterinarian, though the prognosis for a full recovery is very good.

We’re happy to announce that our friends at The Queen Mary saw this story and have offered to symbolically adopt this pintail to support its rehabilitative care!

International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay centers depend on the support of local business to care for wild animals affected by the urban environment. Queen Mary’s generosity is a wonderful example of this: Please give them a shout-out on Facebook for this Northern Pintail adoption!

Duck, Pintail IMG_1021-L

Are you a local business in Los Angeles or the Bay Area and interested in our symbolic adoption program? Email us and we’ll contact you personally about this wonderful program for local wildlife in need.

Photos by Bill Steinkamp