Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Baby Birds

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,

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Jay Holcomb
Director

May 7, 2014

Baby herons survive woodchipper incident in Oakland

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Photo by Isabel Luevano

A grisly scene emerged out of the San Francisco Bay Area when tree trimmers in Oakland recently were allegedly caught feeding downed branches full of Black-crowned Night Heron nests and chicks directly into a woodchipper. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Officials at the downtown post office ordered nearby trees trimmed Saturday because nesting birds were defecating on the mail trucks.

The result, witnesses said, was a feathery massacre that ended with nests – and baby birds – fed through a wood chipper, hysterical neighbors protesting in the street, and a call to Oakland police officers, who ordered the trimmers to stop.

Now, state and federal wildlife officials are investigating the matter, because the nest destruction and bird deaths may have violated the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“I’m devastated. That someone could do that without even looking to see if there are nests, could have so little empathy … it’s heart wrenching,” said Stephanie Benavidez, Oakland’s supervising naturalist. “The public was incensed, rightfully.” [Read the full story here.]

Residents in the neighborhood brought surviving chicks into the care of wildlife rehabilitators. The five saved babies were tile_sponsorultimately transferred to our San Francisco Bay center in Fairfield, where they’re currently being taken care of in a warm incubator. In addition to scrapes and bruises on the birds, one orphan underwent surgery to repair a fractured mandible.

We’ll keep you posted on this story as well as the condition of the birds. In the meantime, check out some of the rescued Herons on our BirdCam

April 29, 2014

Close call for a mother duck and her ducklings

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Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

How many baby birds do we have in care right now? A lot.

For instance: By last count at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center, our team was caring for over 70 Mallard Ducklings, as well as baby Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons and mergansers. And the numbers continue to climb as orphaned birds are brought to our center from all over Northern California.

All of these baby birds have a story to tell. Here’s just one of them, via rehabilitation technician Isabel Luevano:

On Saturday, we received a phone call about a mother Mallard Duck and her eight ducklings, found in downtown Fairfield, CA at a local Sears Auto Shop. The workers there were concerned to see mom and her clutch journeying straight across a busy four-lane boulevard. We’ve seen this scenario before, and it’s always heart-stopping (take, for instance, this now-famous video of a mother and clutch crossing a freeway via CNN).

Animal Control officers jumped in to help along with one of our local volunteers, who had stopped by that area. Together they were able to catch the mother duck and her ducklings.

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As it happens, this mother Mallard has a federal band on her leg, which we found was put on the bird last year — with the exact same rescue and story. She had tried to take on the busy traffic with her ducklings and was ultimately rescued and relocated then, too. She survived yet another year, only to find herself in the same situation, stuck in the middle of an urban area with ducklings in tow.

Thankfully, the birds were all healthy and relocated to a rural area to complete their journey. Below, a parting shot of their release.

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April 8, 2014

Ducklings at our wildlife centers

Mallard Ducklings in care at SF Bay Center

With the arrival of the year’s first ducklings, baby bird season is upon us again, and we need your help.

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Landscaped yards, road medians and industrial landscaping have replaced many natural nesting areas for waterfowl. After their eggs hatch, ducks and geese walk their young to the water facing man-made obstacles such as storm drains, fences, cars, pets and people. Hazards like these leave hundreds of wild ducklings and goslings orphaned each year, and International Bird Rescue is honored to take responsibility for their care and subsequent release. But we can’t do it alone.

Volunteer coordinator and ace photographer Cheryl Reynolds snapped a few photos of our recent arrivals. Enjoy! (And adopt!)

It is the generosity of donors like you that makes this life-saving work possible.

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Mallard Ducklings in care at SF Bay Center

Mallard Ducklings in care at SF Bay Center

April 7, 2014

Orphan season: Green Heron

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Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Over the past week, both International Bird Rescue’s wildlife centers in California received orphaned baby birds.

Our Los Angeles center is caring for four orphaned ducklings, while our San Francisco Bay center has Canada goslings, Mallard ducklings and a Green Heron, shown above being fed via puppet surrogate. This patient was found in Discovery Bay, CA with injuries, and re-nesting was unfortunately not an option.

The heron is currently in an incubator within the center’s ICU, which is kept at a very warm temperature. During clinic hours, you can catch him/her on our live BirdCam.

Baby Green Heron Adoption

March 29, 2014

Patient of the week: orphaned Canada Gosling, treated for leg fracture

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CAGOPhoto by Isabel Luevano

Our first orphaned baby bird of the year has arrived. (Update: And we now have this bird on our live BirdCam.)

Among the patients in care at our San Francisco Bay center is this Canada Gosling, found injured at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, CA and transferred to us from our partners at Lindsay Wildlife Museum.

Our veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, splinted the fractured tarsometatarsus as you can see in the photo above. The gosling is currently in a warm incubator, and we’re limiting human contact to avoid habituation.

Goslings grow incredibly fast, reports rehabilitation technician Isabel Luevano. “He weighed 77 grams yesterday, and today he weighs 95,” she says.

We expect him (or her) to heal quickly. Once large enough, we’ll place this orphan in a special enclosure with shallow water and plenty of food.

Further reading on Canada Geese:

• Canada Goose profile on All About Birds

• Profile on National Geographic

• Canada Goslings on YouTube

• Also: Found a baby bird? Audubon gives tips on what to do.

Membership-tallyOne week in, we’re over halfway to our spring drive online goal of $25,000. Will you join us? You can make a donation at any level, or become a sustaining member as part of our Seabird Circle. We never know when the next wildlife emergency will strike, sending stricken birds to our doors, but thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we can be prepared to care for them whenever they arrive.

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Photo by Cheryl Reynolds