Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Baby Birds

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!

June 5, 2014

Bay Area bird lovers: You’re invited to a heron release!

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Release site at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline Park in Oakland

At least two of the young Black-crowned Night Herons injured during an Oakland tree-trimming incident that made national headlines have healed from their wounds and are ready for release in East Bay marsh habitat on Saturday, June 7. And you’re invited!

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON RELEASE EVENT INFORMATION

WHEN: Saturday, June 7 at 1 P.M.

WHERE: Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park, Southwest entrance across from 80 Swan Way (see map above).

WHO: This event is hosted by International Bird Rescue and Golden Gate Audubon Society, longtime partners in the conservation of local aquatic birds.

The remaining birds from this incident continue to receive care from International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center until they are old enough to be released. All of them are on track and doing well!

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June 4, 2014

IBR veterinarian on NBC’s Today Show Talking About Injured Baby Herons

Our own staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr was on The Today Show to talk about Bird Rescue’s care of injured baby herons from an unfortunate situation in Oakland, CA involving the trimming of ficus trees that disrupted an urban rookery.

Young Black-crowned Night-Herons saved from the Oakland tree-trimming event. Photo: International Bird Rescue

We are proud to have reached out to the proprietor of the tree-trimming business, Ernesto Pulido, early on in this case. Mr. Pulido was contrite and offered remuneration for the cost of the birds’ care, which included surgical procedures.

In mid-May, we invited Mr. Pulido to our San Francisco Bay center to check in on these animals — an invitation he quickly accepted. It was a wonderful meeting; we believe this situation can serve as a powerful cautionary tale on the consequences of tree-trimming in the spring, when nesting is in high gear.

Meanwhile, the injured birds are doing well at our center and are nearing a release date.

More: Director’s note on the Oakland heron incident

 

June 1, 2014

Weekend muses: An egret family

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Photo © Silvermans Photography

If only all of our family portraits could be this perfect …

A banded Snowy Egret cared for by our SF Bay center team, now in the wild and with chicks.

Check out photographers Susan and Neil Silverman’s work at silvermansphotography.com.

May 9, 2014

Director’s note on the Oakland heron incident

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Friends,

We appreciate all the support of the community over the past several days regarding the incident at a heron rookery in Oakland, CA, and we understand the outrage that many are feeling.

International Bird Rescue (IBR) wants everyone to know that the proprietor of the tree-trimming business has committed to funding the care of the five chicks that were rescued from that location — one of which required surgery by our veterinarian to repair a fractured mandible. The investigation in this case will be handled by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which has jurisdiction over migratory bird issues.

Since this story broke, we’ve seen reports in the media that the tree-trimming business proprietor and his family have been the targets of severe harassment. I want to make it clear that we at IBR strongly condemn any harassment or threats against this individual and his family. We ask that all concerned citizens allow this case to be handled by the authorities and refrain from any retaliatory behavior.

In the meantime, we are directing all our energy into the care and treatment of these wonderful animals. IBR will continue to post updates on the birds and this case as it progresses. You can watch some of these birds on our live BirdCam.

How can you help? These five birds are just a fraction of the total baby birds in care at our wildlife centers. You can support this lifesaving care here.

Thank you,

Jay Holcomb-Signature

Jay Holcomb
Director