Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Baby Birds

July 15, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Green Herons

Just when we thought baby season was starting to slow down, these three orphaned Green Heron chicks came into care this week because of human kindness. After the mother heron was struck by a car near Glendale, CA, a Good Samaritan scooped up the brood and delivered them to our Los Angeles wildlife center.

The siblings are self-feeding, which is a sign they are doing well in care. Over the course of 25 days, they will fledge (learn to fly) and they will be released to the wild. Check out this video of this energetic threesome.

To spot a Green Heron in the wild, visit a coastal or inland wetland and carefully scan the banks looking for a small, hunchbacked bird with a long, straight bill. They are quite shy and will fly away if approached too closely. One fascinating fact: Green Herons are a species that are known to use tools. During feeding, they are known to drop small items on the water’s surface to entice small fish, making them true fisher-birds! You can see this behavior on YouTube.

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Photo by staffer Kylie Clatterbuck

 

June 12, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Birds…not quite yet!

Our two wildlife centers are inundated with baby birds, but we also have a large number of not-yet-hatchlings!

This week’s photo shows the egg incubator at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center with a variety of eggs in it. The top row has a number of Western Gull eggs from the ongoing Bay Bridge demolition project, and the bottom row has California Quail eggs. Not shown are two very special eggs — from an American Bittern!

All of these eggs are from abandoned or disturbed nests. Fortunately, we have experience with all three species of hatchling, so we’re ready for any chicks that come along.

To the right is a Western Gull chick from last season, so you can see why we’re eagerly awaiting their hatching.

Photos by Jennifer Linader and Cheryl Reynolds

 

June 6, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Grebe

This week we have a nice surprise in the fuzzy silver face of a young diving bird called a grebe. While we are not yet sure if this chick is a Western Grebe or Clark’s Grebe since the two species look quite alike at this age, we are quite sure he is adorable!

This “grebe-ling” was rescued in Clearlake, CA, and is now in care at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center. While we care for many adult grebes that are sick or injured, we rarely see them at this tender age.

Mother grebes lay 2-4 eggs. The hatching of chicks is not synchronized and the last egg may be abandoned in nest. The young grebe-lings will hitch a ride on a parent’s back as they head out on the water. Baby grebes have a red dot on their forehead that quite amazingly turns darker when the bird is hungry. Aren’t birds incredible?! Learn more: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/western-grebe

In the meantime, click on the video below or go here to see this beautiful young aquatic bird.

Photo and video by Cheryl Reynolds

 

May 28, 2017

Baby American Coot Helping Feed Younger Coot

After 46 years, it sometimes feels like we have seen it all… but our patients can still bring surprises! American Coot chicks are perhaps some of the oddest babies we get at Bird Rescue. They start out with fire-engine red and yellow head feathers and grow into a relatively drab, dark gray with black heads and white beaks.

Hungry American Coot chick.

These American Coot chicks came in at different times, as can be seen by their size difference. With a little luck, we are able to match orphans of the same species. None of this is unusual.

What is unusual is that whenever we add food to their enclosure, the larger baby coot takes it upon itself to FEED the younger one! Click the video above to see an adorable video clip.

Coots are in the shorebird family Rallidae, along with Gallinules and Rails, and develop into plump chicken-like birds that spend most of their lives on the water. They have remarkable greenish legs and large feet. Learn more: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Coot/id

Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

 

 

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.

 

April 11, 2017

Don’t Make April the Cruelest Month: Please Trim Trees in the Fall

Released Snowy Egret A69 nesting with chicks at 9th Street Rookery in Santa Rosa, CA. Photo by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography.

April is Baby Dinosaur Month at Bird Rescue! As we celebrate the sometimes-awkward beauty of young egrets and herons, we would also like to make a plea for responsible tree trimming. Bird nests can be hard to spot–from the bird’s perspective, that’s the intention! So please, please do not even think about trimming trees during nesting season. Schedule your trees to be trimmed starting in the fall from September to January and still check thoroughly for occupied nests. The Golden Gate Audubon Society has a helpful page to help guide you here.

Black-crowned Night-Herons in care. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds-International Bird Rescue.

Back in 2014, a federal agency in downtown Oakland contracted with a local tree trimmer to trim ficus trees that were serving as the home of a bustling urban rookery. The results were a horrifying and a number of nesting Black-crowned Night-Herons were killed and injured in the tree trimming. Bird Rescue cared for the ones that were saved from incident. Since that time, however, our friends at Golden Gate Audubon, the Oakland Zoo, and a group of superb volunteers have combined efforts to monitor this rookery, deal with fallen and injured babies, transport them to Bird Rescue for care, and releasing them in public ceremonies to draw more attention to these birds.

Just last year we cared for more than 800 young herons and egrets. Many of them arrived from local rookeries in Santa Rosa, Oakland, Fairfield , and Long Beach. These pre-historic looking water birds take a lot of care and we rely on the generosity of people just like you to help get them back to the wild. Please help by adopting one of these “baby dinosaurs”!

In the meantime, please consider supporting our important work with wildlife. Adopt-a-Heron-Egret or donate. Thanks!

 

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,

JD-Bergeron_signature-web

 

 

 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director

Video credit: Jen Linander
Photo credit: Cheryl Reynolds

June 29, 2015

The Release Files: Black Rail

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video-release-black-rail-overlay

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.

BCNH-Wing-Spread

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