Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Baby Birds

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 28, 2015

The Weekly Bittern #2: COME and go HOME

Dear Friends of International Bird Rescue–

Did you see Jurassic World yet? In the film, there are four Velociraptors that are shown as fast and savage hunters. Allow me to introduce International Bird Rescue’s very Common Merganser chicks in care at SF Bay Center 7/16/15own “Velociraptors”–a set of four baby Common Mergansers that clearly demonstrated in their feeding habits how they are descended from the dinosaurs! Over the past couple of weeks, I liked watching them during feedings as they swam along the surface with their heads submerged to find the minnows below, then darted underwater to torpedo at one or a few.

According to our friends at AllAboutBirds.org by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Common Mergansers are streamlined ducks that float gracefully down small rivers or shallow shorelines. The males are striking with clean white bodies, dark green heads, and a slender, serrated red bill. The elegant gray-bodied females have rich, cinnamon heads with a short crest. In summer, look for them leading ducklings from eddy to eddy along streams or standing on a flat rock in the middle of the current. These large ducks nest in hollow trees; in winter they form flocks on larger bodies of water.

These orphans arrived from San Jose and Sonoma in May and spent the last 2-1/2 months in the capable care of our SF Bay Wildlife Center in Fairfield. I am happy to announce that all four were released at the American River in Sacramento last Friday. We were happy to be able to stablize these orphans and raise them to strong sub-adults that were able to be successfully released to their new home.

Common Mergansers are abbreviated as “COME” using the first two letters of each word, hence the title of this post. You can support Mergansers and other interesting diving ducks with a donation at www.bird-rescue.org/donate.

We love to hear from you, so please get in touch with your questions about Common Mergansers. We’ll post our replies on our Facebook page.

Be well,

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JD Bergeron
Executive Director

Video credit: Jen Linander
Photo credit: Cheryl Reynolds

June 29, 2015

The Release Files: Black Rail

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A Black Rail is back again where it belongs – hiding in nature.

Staff from our San Francisco Bay Center released the hatchling year Black Rail after came to us via WildCare after being rescued in Novato. It arrived on May 25, 2015 weighing 11 grams. It found with a small wound on its left elbow.

It more than doubled its weight to 24 grams before being released on June 26th at Black Point in Novato, CA.

Black Rails are super secretive as it walks or runs through shallow salt and freshwater marshes. It is rarely seen in flight. It’s the smallest of all Rails.

Watch the short release video  > >

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

April 28, 2015

Influx of Black-crowned Night Herons

Black Crowned Night Heron in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Black Crowned Night Herons in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

Black Crowned Night Herons in care at our Los Angeles Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck

This is baby bird season and at each of our two California centers we’re beginning to see an influx of young aquatic birds – especially Black-crowned Night Herons.

A handful of these sharp-beaked birds are in care at our Los Angeles Center after being found at two separate rookeries in Marina del Rey and in Long Beach.

All are doing great, self feeding and being given supplemental vitamins. They will likely move outside this week.

We currently have 38 Black-crowned Night Herons in care between both California centers, as well as a host of other sick, injured and orphaned birds that need your support! You can donate to help with their ongoing care here.

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August 14, 2014

A side-by-side comparison …

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Photo by Isabel Luevano

Yes, this orphaned Black Rail chick really is the size of a cotton ball.

This photo was taken during the chick’s brief afternoon weight check (good news, weight is up!). We’re working with researchers of this rare and little-understood species to photo-document the chick as it grows while avoiding human interaction whenever possible.

August 12, 2014

Our cottonball-sized patient of the week: Black Rail chick

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Photo by Isabel Luevano

Dear friends,

In a cozy, leafy incubator within International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center, you’ll find the smallest aquatic bird patient we’ve ever cared for.

This is an orphaned baby Black Rail, an elusive bird and a threatened species in California due to habitat loss. The cottonball-sized chick was found at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma, CA, and recently was transferred to International Bird Rescue from our friends and partners at WildCare in San Rafael.

BLRAIt’s our first baby Black Rail, and though we limit human interaction with our avian patients whenever possible, we’re all awestruck by just how tiny and precious this bird is.

For a bird so rarely seen, Black Rails have become increasingly common patients. Several adult Black Rails we’ve cared for this year have been rescued after being disturbed and attacked by pets. To help build scientific knowledge of this little-understood animal, we work with the Black Rail Project at the University of California-Berkeley to band these birds, which aids in post-release research.

International Bird Rescue’s team of experts is well equipped to care for sensitive species – endangered, threatened or near threatened. These include the Marbled Murrelet, Ashy Storm Petrel, Snowy Plover and Piping Plover.

Whether it’s a rare Black Rail or a plucky Mallard duckling, we need your help to keep our wildlife centers running year-round for thousands of animals brought to us each year. Please make a donation today. Your contribution will provide much-needed support for wild birds we all love.

Sincerely,

Barbara Signature

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director

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Update: The San Francisco Chronicle is on the story …

August 7, 2014

Update: American Avocet at our Los Angeles center

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AMAVPhoto by Bill Steinkamp

Norman Bates was right: The old “You eat like a bird” adage isn’t true — birds really do eat a tremendous lot!

The American Avocet orphan we recently profiled on this blog is growing up fast, thanks to a shorebird smorgasboard which includes live food.

Our volunteer staff photographer Bill Steinkamp took a few photographs of this patient during a recent visit.

Like all shorebirds, avocets are affected by coastal development and human disturbance, as was the case with this animal. Your support of International Bird Rescue directly benefits wonderful birds such as this little one!

July 18, 2014

Patient of the week: American Avocet hatches at our Los Angeles center


Video by Kelly Berry

Our patient of the week is this American Avocet chick, the first of 21 eggs in the care of our Los Angeles center team to hatch. Avocets are shorebirds common to the Pacific coast, and sport a most-striking upturned bill that the bird uses to “sweep” through the water to catch small invertebrates.

These eggs were transported to us from six abandoned nests in the area. We’ll keep you posted on the other eggs as well.

Avocet chicks are capable of feeding themselves soon after hatching. We give them several types of food, some of it live, including mealworms, guppies and tubifex worms.

Audio: American Avocets in Palo Alto, Calif., via Wikipedia

July 10, 2014

A new life begins …

With a little help from a friend, a duckling makes its way into the world at International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center. Video by Paul Berry, summer 2014. These two are currently among friends: By last count, the Southern California center has 22 ducklings and eggs in care.

July 9, 2014

Update on tern and chick found hooked together

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ELTETerns upon intake, photo by Kelly Berry

A number of loyal readers have asked us for an update on the Elegant Tern found hooked by fishing lure to one of the bird’s chicks. (Read more on this case at Care2.com and the Daily Breeze.)

Both birds continue to be in the care of our Los Angeles center team after a local biologist found them struggling on Terminal Island. They are recuperating together in a large enclosure.

The adult tern’s multiple wing injuries are healing well, and the bird is no longer in need of a wing wrap (we continue to administer antibiotics).

The baby’s wounds were more severe, with triple hooks embedded in the chick’s leg and wing. The bird may have suffered nerve damage to its leg, Dr. Rebecca Duerr reports, and the prognosis remains guarded.

Thank you all for your concern. We are giving these birds the best care possible — which is what they deserve!

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Photo by Dr. Rebecca Duerr

June 26, 2014

Rescuer’s account of tern and chick found hooked together

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Update July 8, 2014 from our vet: “Wounds are healing well but both parent and chick still have guarded prognosis for full return to function. Chick has elbow and leg problems, parent has wing problem.” We will continue to update you when we know more. Thanks for your concern. –IBR Staff

As we posted earlier this week, our Los Angeles center recently received an adult Elegant Tern and a tern chick hooked together by a fishing lure. Found at the Terminal Island tern colony near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the birds have since been separated and are now receiving daily bandage treatment, antibiotics and plenty of supportive care. The prognosis remains guarded.

Nick Liberato, a biologist who monitors the tern colony, found the birds and took this 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.

“As is usually the case, tangled birds become noticeable when the rest of the colony moves away as one approaches,” he 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.”
June 19, 2014

Live on BirdCam: baby gulls

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The BirdCam Project at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center has featured many species of orphaned animals this spring and summer, including Wood Ducklings, Canada Goslings, Black-crowned Night Heron chicks and now baby Western Gulls.

Two of these birds were brought to us eggs from the old eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. We work together with a local environmental firm on relocating on sections of the bridge where demolition crews are working. The far eastern part of the span is home to hundreds of cormorant nests that Caltrans officials are working to move as the bridge is dismantled.

The job of encouraging these birds to move hasn’t been easy. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Biologists have been experimenting with bird decoys and cormorant recordings to get them to move to their new, rent-free pads. They even furnished the condos with nesting material. The birds reacted by simply hauling the bedding back to their old digs.”

You can check out the live cam here.

These gulls are fed mealworms as well as cut-up smelt. We limit human interaction whenever possible. Any feeding that occurs is via a puppet surrogate.

June 9, 2014

Black-crowned Night Herons released in Oakland marsh

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Four of five juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons released at MLK Jr. Shoreline Regional Park in Oakland. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

We think it’s safe to say that most citizens of the Bay Area now know what a Black-crowned Night Heron BCNHis….

The subject of extensive media attention in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, local TV news and NBC’s The Today Show, five baby Black-crowned Night Herons — a federally protected species — were injured in early May after falling from their nests during a tree-trimming incident at a U.S. Post Office location.

All herons were brought to WildCare in Marin County for initial treatment before transfer to International Bird Rescue San Francisco Bay center, which specializes in herons and other aquatic species.

The injured herons have been treated for injuries sustained from the fall, with one baby heron suffering a fractured mandible that required surgery and healed remarkably. Ernesto Pulido, the proprietor of the tree-trimming business, immediately stepped forward to pay for the care of these animals.

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Yassira Murphy, a young birder from Oakland Tech High School, releases a juvenile heron. Photo by Rick Lewis via Golden Gate Audubon

Fast-forward to this past Saturday, where we were proud to work with Golden Gate Audubon Society on a release event at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park in Oakland. Four of the five herons from this incident were successfully released; the fifth is still in care but doing well (a fifth bird ready for release joined the other four at MLK Shoreline’s New Marsh). Thank you to Mr. Pulido as well for stopping by!

These are some of the dozens of herons we’ve cared for this season. You can support their ongoing care here.

Other good news: Our friends at Golden Gate Audubon have put together a wonderful pamphlet on tree-trimming and baby birds season that you can download here. A Spanish-language version will be released soon.

And thank you to all the birders who came out to see our patients off! We were happy to see these young herons start hunting for prey at the marsh within a half hour of release.

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June 9, 2014

Black Rail, banded and released

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Photo by Isabel Luevano

An elusive bird that hides in thick marsh vegetation, the Black Rail is listed as a near-threatened species (and formally listed as a threatened species by the State of California).BLRA

The rail’s wetland habitat, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) notes, “is threatened by pollution, drought, wildfires, groundwater removal, changing water levels, grazing and agricultural expansion.”

This spring, our San Francisco Bay center cared for a baby Black Rail, a victim of cat predation that suffered a broken mandible. Researchers with the Black Rail Project at the University of California-Berkeley banded the bird once its injuries had healed and it was old enough to be released.

We’re happy to report this bird was released at Petaluma Marsh, where it was originally found!