Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Bird Photography

April 19, 2014

A Red-breasted Merganser at our SF Bay center

Red-breasted Merganser # 14-0243 in care at SF Bay Center
Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

RBMEThis female Red-breasted Merganser was found at Main Beach in Santa Cruz on April 6 and was transported to us via our wildlife partners at Native Animal Rescue on Saturday.

Upon intake, she was found to be emaciated with poor feather quality, and was suffering from toe abrasions, a likely result of being out of water for multiple days, rehabilitation technician Isabel Luevano reports. She also lacked crucial waterproofing and was determined to be contaminated from fish oil and feces.

The merganser received a quick wash on Monday and is now acclimating to an outdoor pool, where she’s gaining wait and eating plenty of fish.

Red-breasted Mergansers are one of three species of mergansers in North America. Known for their thin, serrated bills to catch fish prey, Red-breasted Mergansers are “bold world traveler[s], plying icy waters where usually only scoters and eiders dare to tread,” 10,000 Birds notes. “While all mergansers are swift fliers, the Red-breast holds the avian record for fastest level-flight at 100 mph.”

Red-breasted Merganser # 14-0243 in care at SF Bay Center

April 7, 2014

Orphan season: Green Heron

Green-Heron1 GRHE
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

April 3, 2014

Flying practice for pelican Red #308

Brown Pelican (red band) in care at SF Bay Center
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Recently, we wrote about pelican conservation on the Pacific Coast in this Los Angeles Times op-ed. The star of the piece was Brown Pelican Red #308, who came to us several months ago with a severe injury to his left patagium (a fold of skin on the leading edge of the wing) caused by an embedded fishing hook.

After months of care, our team is giving him regular flying workouts in the pelican aviary, and with each pass, he’s getting stronger. It’s a remarkable testament to the resiliency of this iconic species.

Cheryl Reynolds recently took these snapshots of the pelican testing his wings out in the aviary.

Brown Pelican (red band) in care at SF Bay Center

Brown Pelican (red band) in care at SF Bay Center

March 13, 2014

Patient of the week: Pied-billed Grebe

PBGRPied-billed Grebe, photo by Isabel Luevano

As our animal care team and volunteers can tell you, Pied-billed Grebes are born feisty, hard to catch from the diving bird pools due to their quickness and quite willing to chomp on a finger if approached. (“They bite like little alligators,” one rehab technician tells us.) But we all admire their moxie.

We currently have several species of grebes on our San Francisco Bay center’s BirdCam, including this adult Pied-billed Grebe. This bird was found in Santa Cruz with puncture wounds consistent with a predator attack. The grebe is doing well in an outdoor diving bird pool.

Also in this pool are two Western Grebes, an Eared Grebe and a Horned Grebe. (The one non-grebe impostor? A Canvasback.) You can read more on this amazing family of aquatic birds at Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

March 10, 2014

Release! Rhinoceros Auklets, Glaucous-winged Gull and a Common Murre

Rhinocerous Auklet at SF Bay Center banded for release
Rhinoceros Auklet in breeding plumage, photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Residents of the North Pacific, Rhinoceros Auklets are also known as “Unicorn Puffins” for the small horn extension on their beaks, present in both males and females during breeding season. We’ve had two of these birds in care at our San Francisco Bay center for several weeks.

One of these birds was suffering from a wing injury, while the other was emaciated upon intake. Both had been part of our “seabird menagerie” on BirdCam, and were released over the weekend near Half Moon Bay where they were originally found. Below, volunteer Colin Pierce does the release honors.

Rhinocerous Auklet at SF Bay Center banded for release
Rhinoceros Auklet in non-breeding plumage, photo by Cheryl Reynolds

RHAU release2


Also on the release docket: this first-winter plumage Glaucous-winged Gull, healed after a fractured radius, and a beautiful Common Murre!


Common Murre at SF Bay Center ready for release

Common Murre at SF Bay Center banded for release  Murre Release

March 7, 2014

Sora Rail with clavicle fracture

Photo by Isabel Luevano

Sora Rails — marsh-dwelling birds of the family Rallidae — are fairly common patients at both our wildlife centers in California. This Sora was found unable to walk or stand, and was transferred to our San Francisco Bay center from nearby Lindsay Wildlife Museum last week.

Upon arrival, the bird had regained the ability to stand and walk, but was found to have a clavicle fracture. The fracture is now healing thanks to a body wrap.

March 6, 2014

In care this week: Canvasback

Photo by Isabel Luevano

If you come across across a Canvasback sitting in a busy parking lot, chances are there’s something wrong. That’s what happened with this male Canvasback, found in a San Francisco parking lot and brought to us last week.

As you can see here, the bird has a waterproof “shoe” which helps stabilize a fracture. He’s currently recuperating in one of our diving bird pools, and can be seen live on our BirdCam.

February 15, 2014

Patient of the week: Marbled Godwit

Photo by Kelly BerryMarbled-Godwit

The Marbled Godwit is the largest of four godwit species — shorebirds with long bills used to probe for mollusks and aquatic worms.

One of our Los Angeles center’s new patients is this Marbled Godwit, found injured in Isla Vista, CA on February 9. The bird was found unable to stand and had blood on its face. Upon the godwit’s transfer to IBR on February 12, dried blood was found behind the left ear consistent with head trauma of unknown cause.

The good news is that this bird is now standing and receiving supportive care. We’ll keep you posted on its condition.

February 13, 2014

In care: Pelagic Cormorant

photo 4-L

This beautiful Pelagic Cormorant was found with multiple fishing hook injuries. Our friends at California Wildlife Center removed the hooks and transferred the bird to our L.A. center, where it’s recovering from the wounds in an outdoor aviary.

Wildlife rehab is all about teamwork!

Photo by Kelly Berry.


February 7, 2014

Fulmars at the San Francisco Bay center

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Close-up of the Northern Fulmar’s distinctive tubenose, photo by Cheryl Reynolds.

This month, the most abundant species in our care is the Northern Fulmar. Our San Francisco Bay center NOFUis currently caring for 17 of these birds. Though this species is normally far out at sea, these birds were found unable to fly along the coastline in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey. You can see some of these birds live on our BirdCam.

Upon intake, they were all found to be emaciated, anemic and dehydrated. We are currently looking into potential causes for their condition.

A member of the family Procellariidae that includes albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters, the Northern Fulmar has a distinctive tubenose structure on the top of its bill that helps remove salt from its system via a saline solution that passes through the nostril.

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

In recent years, fulmars have been studied as a biomonitor for measuring marine plastic debris, in part because they feed exclusively at sea. One study in 2012 found a staggering 92.5% of the fulmars examined had plastic in their stomachs — detritus from fishing line and Styrofoam to bottle caps and shards of indeterminate origin.

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Northern Fulmar in care at SF Bay Center.
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Photo by Isabel Luevano

Photo by Isabel Luevano