Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Events

October 15, 2017

Atlas Fire Hits Close to Home for Bird Rescue’s SF Bay-Delta Wildlife Center

The Atlas fire in California is has been hitting close to home for the past week at Bird Rescue. Our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center, which is also our headquarters, is located in Fairfield, California, not far from the path of the fires.

We kept our birds-in-care at the facility as long as we could before the poor air quality and the looming possibility of evacuation rose beyond our acceptable threshold. For the well-being of our birds, we made the decision on Wednesday evening to release those that were healthy enough to go, and to transfer the remaining patients to partner centers outside the fire zone.

Preparing aquatic birds to be transferred to any outside facility (especially those not specialized in aquatic care) takes a tremendous amount of energy, and we are grateful that our team of employees and volunteers stepped up to the challenge. From exit examinations to preparing the bird’s medications and food, paperwork, and arranging transport, the process is extremely time-consuming and tedious.

Huge thanks to partner centers WildCare (San Rafael), Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (San Mateo), The SPCA for Monterey County (Monterey), and Pacific Wildlife Care (San Luis Obispo) for receiving these patients. We hope that they are all adjusting nicely to their new respective centers.

So long as it is still safe to do so, our center will remain open as a service to the public for wildlife emergencies. However, we will not be receiving new patients until the situation improves. Our hearts go out to our employees, volunteers, and supporters who have already been impacted. We join in unity with the communities affected, our fellow emergency response professionals, and all the many of you who have stepped up to help out, with shelter, with donations, and with your support.

In our 46-year history, we have never needed to evacuate all of the birds from our facility. We have been through floods, handled numerous oil spill emergencies, felt earthquakes, endured other extreme weather, and yet this evacuation is unique for our SF Bay-Delta wildlife center. Our flight aviary may be motionless at the moment, but we are thankful we can see the uncharred hill behind us through the smoke.

While we are not currently accepting new patients at our SF center, we are happy to report that business, as usual, will go on at our Los Angeles wildlife center. We are glad to be able to continue to serve the Los Angeles area and are eagerly awaiting the ability to do so again at our SF Bay-Delta wildlife center.

To keep updated on the most current situation at Bird Rescue, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thank you again for all of your support, which is needed now more than ever!

Sincerely and with gratitude,
The International Bird Rescue Team

 

May 5, 2017

Celebrating Bird LA Day: Open House May 6th At Bird Rescue Los Angeles

We’ve got a great day lined up at International Bird Rescue as part of the annual Bird LA Day on May 6, 2017. This is  a rare chance for visitors to tour our Los Angeles Center and see our team in action as they rehabilitate sick and injured seabirds!. We will be starting the day with a bird walk through Fort MacArthur Museum and then join the clinic staff for a chance to learn more about our local aquatic species.

For 46 years, International Bird Rescue has been dedicated to mitigating the effects of human impact on seabirds and other aquatic species world wide. Not only is Bird Rescue a leader in oil spill response, but we also operate two California wildlife hospitals year round!

This is a terrific day to spend with the family and appreciate the beauty of the birds around us!

Bird Rescue schedule
8 am- Bird Walk at Fort MacArthur Museum (located next to Bird Rescue)
9 am- Visitor center and gift shop open
10 am, 12pm, 2pm- Bird Rescue Hospital tour
11 am- Visitor Welcome- Executive Director, JD Bergeron
1 pm- Blue Banded Pelican talk- Dr. Rebecca Duerr

Bird Rescue is located in San Pedro. The address is 3601 South Gaffey Street, San Pedro, CA 90731. See Map and Directions

Please note that tour space IS limited, so please get here early to sign up. Our visitor center and gift shop will be open all day with fun activities for the kids and knowledgeable volunteers to talk about what we do at Bird Rescue.

Please bring snacks, water, a hat, and sunscreen to help you enjoy the day! For more information about Bird Rescue, please visit our website at www.bird-rescue.org

 

October 11, 2016

November 4th Open House at San Francisco Bay Wildlife Center

white-pelican-open-house
Our 45th Anniversary Open House at our San Francisco Bay Wildlife Center is less than a month away! Tickets are only $5, which helps pay for the cost of the event. This includes exclusive behind the scenes tours, that aren’t otherwise open to the public.

Please RSVP today via Eventbrite

We hope to see you there!

June 29, 2016

Preserving Wildlife in Images: A Community Event with Joel Sartore

Celebrate 45 years of wildlife preservation

Joel-Sartore-Penguin

Featured speaker: Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer.

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

Where: International Bird Rescue – Los Angeles Wildlife Center

3601 South Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731 :: Directions

• Guest Speaker: Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer and author
• Explore the behind-the-scenes world of Bird Rescue
• Follow an oiled bird’s journey from rescue to release
• Participate in a family-friendly interactive experience
• Learn how to contribute to wild-bird conservation
• Meet Bird Rescue’s wildlife response team
• Eat lunch at an onsite local food truck
• Enjoy an immersive and interactive art experience

Be sure to R.S.V.P on Eventbrite

Explore the behind-the-scenes world of Bird Rescue.

Explore the behind-the-scenes world of Bird Rescue.

Thank you for your continued interest in International Bird Rescue. We cannot do this work without you! Come join me and the Bird Rescue community for this special behind-the-scenes look at our LA Center and learn more about the ways we work together to mitigate human impact on aquatic aviary wildlife.

Also enjoy the stunning images and message from our special guest Joel Sartore, who photographed oiled wildlife during the Deepwater Horizon spill for National Geographic. This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the last 45 years and look ahead to our future in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation.

I hope to see you there!

JD Bergeron

Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

P.S. –Thanks to DAWN and the Los Angeles Port for their generous support!

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April 5, 2016

Our 45th Anniversary Ambassador Bird…the Surf Scoter!

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In honor of our 45th anniversary, we have chosen the Surf Scoter as our ambassador bird. International Bird Rescue has a long history working with these iconic ducks. Surf Scoters were a seabird species deeply affected by the 1971 oil spill at the Golden Gate Bridge which led directly to the formation of Bird Rescue in April of that same year.

In 2007, Surf Scoters were also a key species during the Cosco Busan spill. We saw them again in great numbers during the 2015 Mystery Goo event in San Francisco Bay.

These striking birds are easily seen from shores and boats even without binoculars, making them a great learning target for new birders and children. In addition, they are very good patients during rehabilitation and heal relatively quickly.

Learn more about Surf Scoters at AllAboutBirds.org.

Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

 

January 14, 2016

One Year Later: Webinar Explores What We Learned From Mystery Goo Event

Horned Grebe covered in "Mystery Goo" before cleaning, left, and after cleaning. Affectionally named "Gummy Bear" the birdwas returned to the wild. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Horned Grebe covered in “Mystery Goo” before cleaning, left, and after cleaning. Affectionately named “Gummy Bear” the bird was returned to the wild. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

One year ago on January 16, 2015, we received reports of a spill of a mysterious sticky substance along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay that no one could identify! A large number of water birds was affected by this unknown substance. Many of the birds – which included Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads and others – were covered in slime, dirt, and rocks, destroying their waterproofing and ability to maintain body temperature.

All the affected birds required intensive care and Bird Rescue had to develop a whole new cleaning process for this substance. This “Mystery Goo” turned out not to be a petroleum product, which meant there was no protocol for who should take responsibility for the birds and how they would be treated and cared for. Putting our own resources on the line, Bird Rescue stepped into that void and accepted more than 320 birds. Our supporters generously stepped up to help us fund this unusual event.

A year later, we would like to share what we learned.

Join us for a free online webinar on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

Please register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4367155004328262402

November 19, 2014

Postcard from Brazil: Celebrating Aiuká’s new (and stunning) oiled wildlife rehabilitation center

Magellanic_penguin,_Valdes_Peninsula,_eMagellanic Penguin via Wikimedia Commons

If you had followed around the late International Bird Rescue executive director Jay Holcomb long enough, chances were BrazilMapyou would’ve meet some fabulous friends and colleagues from around the globe.

A legend in the world of saving animals harmed by oil spills, Jay was always eager to share his decades of field experience with the next generation of wildlife rescuers.

So perhaps it’s fitting that the finest oiled marine animal rehabilitation facility in South America has just been dedicated in his memory.

On Tuesday, Aiuká, a Brazilian wildlife emergency response team founded by veterinarians Valeria Ruoppolo, Rodolfo Silva and Claudia Nascimento, celebrated the grand opening of their new center in Praia Grande, located on the Atlantic coast about an hour south of São Paulo. It’s a stunning facility, perhaps deserving of the nickname “palácio dos pinguins” (palace of the penguins).

During the opening event, Aiuká’s founding partners, along with International Bird Rescue marketing and communications director Andrew Harmon, unveiled a silver plaque dedicating the center to Jay and his legacy. (You can view a slideshow of photos from the new center and the opening event below.)

Ruoppolo and Silva first met Jay and our global response team at a wildlife conference in 2000. Since then, Aiuká has been part of the International Bird Rescue Response Team through IFAW and worked with us all over the world, from the 2000 Treasure Spill in South Africa to the 2008 Patagonia Spill in Argentina. Ruoppolo, Silva and their staff have became dear friends and wonderful members of International Bird Rescue’s extended family.

Jay-plaque-AiukaAiuká’s nearly 7,000-square-foot facility can care for 300 oiled birds, two marine mammals and up to 30 sea turtles. The main floor has stations for every element of an oiled animal’s care, from intake to washing, drying and outdoor rehabilitation. The outside pools even have narrow, angular ramps leading up to water’s edge for Aiuká’s most common patient, the Magellanic Penguin (see above).

This species, which migrates from winter breeding grounds in Patagonia to feed in Uruguay and southern Brazil, are frequently affected by small oil spills (mostly of unknown origin) along the coast.

Aiuká is rapidly expanding to serve the response needs of Brazil and neighboring countries. We couldn’t be prouder, and we are honored to be their partner in Tier 3 response for severe spill emergencies. Our organizations are also co-hosts for the 12th Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference in Anchorage, Alaska this coming May.

An unexpected highlight of Aiuka’s grand opening celebration — two unexpected highlights, to be exact — were these baby wrens, nestled in a small hole above the wash station, and almost ready to fly.

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November 11, 2014

Sharing our rehabilitation expertise with California colleagues

Snowy Egret, Karen Schuenemann
Photo by Karen Schuenemann

CCWR PT lab 2This past weekend, International Bird Rescue veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr and operations manager Julie Skoglund attended the 20th annual California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators symposium. They co-taught a lecture and workshop for rehabilitators on avian physical therapy with Janelle Freshman, a physical therapist and International Bird Rescue volunteer at our Los Angeles center.

The goal of these presentations was to help rehabilitators return their patients to full athletic functioning after recovery from injury or illness, and to increase positive outcomes from often-debilitating musculoskeletal problems.

Dr. Duerr also presented a lecture on nutrition, critical care and rehabilitation, where she explained nutrition concepts related to the treatment of severely emaciated animals, as wild animals very commonly enter care in extremely poor nutritional condition. As a result, wildlife rehabilitators often struggle to nurse these difficult cases back to health.
Symposiums such as this provide a great opportunity for our staff to share knowledge, learn new things, and visit with old friends and new colleagues!

Conference photo via Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County

October 26, 2014

Love pelicans? Here are 5 ways you can help them.

Everyone here at International Bird Rescue is thrilled that Pelican Dreams, a documentary by Judy Irving six years Pelican-Dreams-Final-Poster-A-204x300in the making, takes flight this week in theaters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area — and across the country soon afterwards! Irving has dedicated the film in memory of International Bird Rescue director Jay Holcomb, who died in June at age 63.

This full-length feature follows California Brown Pelicans from their nesting colonies in the Channel Islands and Baja California to feeding grounds along the Pacific coast. As with The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Irving brings a unique style to wildlife documentary filmmaking, one that’s highly intimate, even poetic.

Central to the narrative, Irving zooms in on two injured birds cared for by wildlife rehabilitators. International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center plays a leading role in the film: Viewers will get an intriguing glimpse of our pelican aviary, which can accommodate over 100 pelicans in need of expert care.

International Bird Rescue is a national leader in saving pelicans injured by human-caused threats. Every year, our veterinary and rehabilitation team cares for hundreds of these remarkable birds. We also work with partner organizations on the regional and national level to advocate for comprehensive monitoring of Brown Pelicans, which were removed from the Endangered Species List five years ago but continue to face threats to survival. Click here for a Los Angeles Times op-ed on this issue by International Bird Rescue’s Andrew Harmon.

A growing number of Pelican Dreams fans have asked us how they can help protect and preserve pelicans. We can think of five ways you can make a difference:

1Become a member of International Bird Rescue. We depend on the kindness and generosity of wildlife lovers like you to fulfill our mission to save seabirds and other aquatic species from human-caused problems, such as oil spills, plastic pollution, even animal cruelty.

Starting at $35, membership connects you with fellow pelican aficionados through our e-newsletters. You’ll also AWPE-Cheryl-Reynoldsreceive invites to members-only bird releases and International Bird Rescue events in 2015. Members who contribute $100 or more are eligible for the Puffins and Whale Tails miniprint by International Bird Rescue “artist in residence” David Scheirer. Click here to get started.

Want to make a bigger impact? Become a Pelican Partner and you’ll be invited on a private release of a Brown Pelican cared for at an International Bird Rescue center in California.

2Pick up discarded fishing gear and ocean trash. Fishing gear (think monofilament line, fish hooks and lures) is one of the most common threats to pelicans along our coasts. A large percentage of pelicans admitted to our wildlife centers have fishing gear-related injuries on their throat pouches, legs, wings and feet. Removing this debris from the environment has a direct impact on the health and well-being of pelicans and other seabirds.

3Volunteer. Whether it’s with International Bird Rescue or a partner wildlife group, volunteering is a fantastic way to give back to wildlife in your community and beyond. International Bird Rescue’s volunteer program is a unique, hands-on opportunity to work with animals. We also have volunteer needs in our administrative, development and operations departments. All volunteer duties are vital to the “Every Bird Matters” mission.

4Report sightings of Blue-Banded Pelicans along the Pacific Coast. To better track pelicans post-release, we place large, plastic blue bands with letter/number identification (“V13,” for instance). Birders all along the West Coast have reported hundreds of sightings. If you see a Blue-Banded pelican, please click here to report your sighting — and take a photo of the bird if you can!

5Keep pelicans wild. Like many birds, pelicans are susceptible to habituation. Birds that associate humans with food are more likely to dumpster-dive for scraps, beg on fishing piers, become entangled in fishing line, contaminate themselves with fish oil at fish-cleaning stations, and otherwise become too comfortable with the urban environment, where they are bound to run into problems. Keeping a respectable distance from these wonderful birds and refraining from feeding them is a great way to help keep them wild.

We also invite you to visit Pelican Media and discover more of Irving’s wonderful work. And tell a friend about Pelican Dreams!

 Protecting Pelicans
Protecting Pelicans infographic by Franzi Müller — click on image for full size version.

7564920904_c0ec633e9a_z Pelicans on Duty by Bill Gracey/Flickr; above: American White Pelican by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue

October 21, 2014

Opening this Friday: Pelican Dreams, a film by Judy Irving

A project six years in the making!

In a story of friendship, survival and the spirit of flight, filmmaker Judy Irving (The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill) follows a wayward, starving California Brown Pelican from her “arrest” on the Golden Gate Bridge into care at a wildlife rehabilitation facility, and from there explores pelicans’ nesting grounds, Pacific coast migration and survival challenges. International Bird Rescue is proud to have its work and mission prominently featured in the film.

Pelican Dreams (Rated G, 80 min.) premieres on October 24 in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael, CA. The documentary opens in New York and Los Angeles on November 7 and nationwide soon after. For a theater near you, visit PelicanDreams.com.

October 2, 2014

Celebrating the volunteer spirit with Dawn!

On Thursday, October 2, our Los Angeles center team was beyond excited to welcome Adrian Grenier of HBO’s Entourage and Keegan Allen of ABC’s Pretty Little Liars for a day in the life of a volunteer at International Bird Rescue!

Adrian and Keegan were our “honorary volunteers,” and got a fantastic look at what our volunteer team does every day to care for thousands of animals each year. This behind-the-scenes event was in partnership with our good friends at Dawn®. Whenever we tell people where we work, the first question we typically get is, “Do you really clean birds with Dawn?” The answer remains an emphatic “Yes!” Dawn has been our go-to product to care for oiled wildlife, and research continues to show it’s the best product for these animals in need of our help.

Best of all, our staff, volunteer team and media later embarked on an afternoon release experience at White Point with a beautiful view of Catalina in the distance.

We released an adult California Brown Pelican, a Brown Booby and seven Western Gulls, all patients of International Bird Rescue. Many thanks to the team at Dawn as well as our friends at The Marine Mammal Center.

The release event coincides with the latest “Virtual Volunteer” video from Dawn, which followed our team through their animal care work during a week this spring. Check it out below!

Photos in slideshow by Bill Steinkamp

Want to volunteer? We are always accepting new volunteers at our wildlife centers in California. Every day, International Bird Rescue strives to improve medical and husbandry techniques for aquatic birds in captivity. We are proud of the dedication and support of our volunteers who participate in every aspect of Volunteerthe rehabilitation process. Their involvement is vital and directly impacts the successful return of animals to the wild.

In order to volunteer, you must be at least 18 years old, have a sincere desire to help wildlife and commit to at least a four-hour shift a week. We are looking for volunteers who are dependable, responsible and able to take direction.

Click on the volunteer to the right and get started. Oh, and get a taste of volunteering in the video below!

September 24, 2014

A sneak peek of Pelican Dreams in Sonoma

Mark your calendars!

On Wednesday, October 8, our friends at Sonoma Birding are hosting a sneak-peek of Pelican Dreams, Judy Irving’s documentary on one of California’s most beloved birds. The film is a project six years in the making, with plenty of footage from our San Francisco Bay center. Our team will be in attendance to give you a wonderful picture of the work we do to help injured pelicans.

When: Wed, Oct 8 from 7pm -8:30pm
Where: Veteran’s Memorial Building, 126 First Street West, Sonoma CA
Tickets: $8 at the door

Via Sonoma Birding:

Pelican Dreams: Ready to Fly!!

Judy Irving, a Sundance- and Emmy-Award-winning filmmaker known for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, is coming to Sonoma. Now it’s pelicans and their ancient magic, near-extinction and recovery paralleling our human relationship to the environment. One August afternoon, a confused, tired and very hungry young pelican landed on the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge, causing a spectacular traffic jam and providing the beginning of a perfect narrative arc for this film.

Come see clips and hear from International Bird Rescue experts, who provided rehab care for “Gigi” (the pelican named for Golden Gate).

CA brown pelicans flying

September 16, 2014

2015 – Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference

EOW Save the Date
Save the date, fellow bird rescuers! Along with our partners at Aiuká, we’re hosting the next Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference in Anchorage, Alaska on May 18-22, 2015.

Information on panelists, paper submissions and more will be found in the coming weeks at eowconference.org.

September 12, 2014

Dispatches from the International Sea Duck Conference in Iceland

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Harlequin Duck, photo by Andrew A Reding/Flickr Creative Commons

Over the past week, Reykjavik, Iceland has be the site of the 5th International Sea Duck Conference. More than 140 people from nearly 30 image_largecountries have listened, questioned and discussed a wide variety of issues important to understanding sea ducks, their biology, habitat, threats and survival. Unlike most conferences, we have also gotten daily volcano updates and had the opportunity to see eider ducks feeding at the shore. Iceland and Reykjavik are much as what you might expect, very modern surrounded by beautiful isolation.

The program has been both interesting and valuable for me and the work we do at International Bird Rescue. The papers have addressed effects of climate change, body condition measurement techniques, emerging diseases, developments in radio telemetry techniques, and sea duck monitoring and modeling. The primary species studied and discussed are the Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Harlequin Ducks, and Common, King and Spectacled Eiders — all species that we have worked with in many responses going back to our founding in the 1970s. Nearly every presentation contains nuggets of information that can be applied to preparedness and response including rehabilitation. Being here provides an opportunity to find these nuggets as well as to network with the scientists who can be key in getting accurate information about local species at risk if a spill occurs.

While I have been surprised by how many of the participants I have met over the years, most of them are not regular participants in the Sea Duck Conference1-1rehabilitation or oil industry conferences we regularly attend. Their perspective is one that we less regularly hear, and that makes it even more valuable to hear their ideas. Responding to oil spills all over the world presents a number of different challenges, but one of the biggest problems is that we almost always lack local knowledge. We rely heavily on local people and local biologists working with the species affected by an oil spill to mount the best possible emergency response and to achieve the best possible care. Having a familiar face makes it that much easier to develop trust and understanding and get down to the emergency at hand.

One of the most interesting presentations for me was Dr. James Lovvorn’s talk on Designating Critical Habitat in a Climatically Changing Arctic: Eiders, Sea Ice and Food Webs, as one of my current projects is working on planning and preparedness on the remote Northwest Alaska coast of the Chukchi Sea. Although not as immediately of obvious value but very thought provoking were a number of papers on personalities, stress and brain size — all of which I hope to learn more about to further our rehabilitation success.

team_curt_cAll in all, it has been great experience, leaving me eager to apply what I have learned and also eager to learn more from some newly discovered colleagues.

Curt Clumpner

Preparedness Director

Map: Seabirds of Iceland via European Environment Agency

September 10, 2014

See you Sunday at the Wine Country Optics & Nature Festival!

A must-see for birders, wildlife photographers and conservation-minded folks! Stop by our table and say hi while you’re there!

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