Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Interns

April 8, 2017

Intern Helps Make Sense of Re-encounter Data From Previously Released Birds

Research intern Andrew Zhu’s poster shows a few intriguing cases of oiled birds’ post-release success. Download research roster: Analysis of Individual Oiled Bird Re-encounter Data 2002-2015 (PDF)

Thanks to a generous grant from the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF), International Bird Rescue (Bird Rescue) offers academic internships that provide learning opportunities for Southern California students and a more detailed research findings of wildlife rescue for the scientific community.

Andrew was honored with a 2017 Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award, presented by NOAA.

One recent intern was Andrew Zhu, a Palos Verdes Peninsula High School junior, who began his academic internship at Bird Rescue during his summer break in June 2016. For his intern research project, Andrew chose to analyze re-encounter data on previously oiled, washed, and released birds, all of which had been outfitted with a metal federal band at the time of their release. The re-encounter data consists of reports from members of the public who have found and reported a banded bird, dead or sometimes even alive. Andrew compiled information from these band reports and the corresponding patient paperwork from each bird’s stay at Bird Rescue. Although his dataset was fairly small, there were some pretty interesting findings. Check out Andrew’s poster to see the intriguing cases he uncovered!

Recently, Andrew submitted his research poster to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Science and Engineering Fair, held on March 14, 2017. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded him the 2017 Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award.

“My experience at Bird Rescue is one that I will always remember. During my time here, I probably learned more information than I would have in 300 hours of school,” says Andrew Zhu.

“Not only was I greeted by warm and passionate staff members every day, but I also learned a great deal about the detrimental effects of oil spills on aquatic wildlife, a bird’s anatomy, and the formal research process. Perhaps some of the most memorable moments were watching Dr. Becky perform surgery on a Great Blue Heron who was shot twice and a Western Gull who had parasitic worms in its eyes,” added Zhu.

About the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation

The HCBF offers community grants to organizations in San Pedro and Wilmington, California, to help mitigate the impact of local ports on these two communities. Our grant funds HCBF interns so they can learn about the effects of oil on wildlife, get hands-on experience in rehabilitating aquatic birds, and conduct research to help Bird Rescue better care for the hundreds of patients we see every year.

Does this kind of research sound interesting? If you or someone you know might like to participate in a similar project, check out the HCBF Internship Program. It’s a rewarding and unique way to boost your resume or earn college credit while learning about aquatic birds and the scientific research process. Email Jo at internships@bird-rescue.org with any questions!

 

July 15, 2016

Meet Talia: A Bird Rescue Intern Making A Difference

Talia-Science-FairWe are pleased to honor Talia Baddour, above, a recent intern at International Bird Rescue (Bird Rescue) in San Pedro, CA, who was the recipient of the first place award in the Zoology category at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Science and Engineering Fair. She was also awarded the United States Air Force Award at a science fair held at the South Bay Botanical Gardens.

HCBF_Logo with webTalia came to Bird Rescue through the Harbor Community Academic Internship program. This program is funded by the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation which gives local students the chance to gain experience in wildlife conservation and biology. The program also gives Bird Rescue the opportunity to connect with local students in the community. Due to the nature of the work performed at Bird Rescue, community interaction is limited. The program allows Bird Rescue to expand this interaction by granting students with an interest in animals, wildlife conservation, or biology access to see how the field operates outside the academic world.

Talia was accepted into the Harbor Community Academic Internship program in the summer of 2015. During her time at Bird Rescue, she witnessed the human impact on the local sea bird population, watched people who have dedicated their careers to mitigating this impact, and observed the importance of a positive and welcoming work environment. In her words she said “actually seeing first-hand what birds go through and how they are affected by people has helped me understand the importance of protecting them.” The internship allowed her to experience the amount of work that goes into helping injured birds and eventually returning them to the wild. She further stated the people she interacted with at Bird Rescue were “the most social coworkers I have ever had,” and they played a major role in helping her complete the research project.

The program requires the intern to work on a research project focused on a subject related to the work done at Bird Rescue. With the help of the Bird Rescue staff the intern chooses a project in an area that is of most interest to them. Talia studied a phenomenon known as Broken Feather Patch (BFP), which affects aquatic bird species such as loons and Common Murres. A bird that is found to have a BFP typically cannot maintain its plumage in a waterproof state. The BFP structurally compromises the bird’s feather layers leaving their skin to be exposed to cold ocean water, leading to hypothermia. In her research, Talia found that Common Murres are more likely to have a BFP than any other species. She also found that most birds (59%) coming in with BFPs were from Malibu beaches. This led her to theorize that because Malibu has so many miles of beach property and a high number of people visiting these beaches that the stranded or beached bird was more likely to be recovered in these areas. Finally, she noted that although BFPs were more common in non-oiled birds, they were the primary reason for euthanasia in oiled ones.

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Talia with other interns who helped at Dawn dish soap event featuring Ian Somerhalder, right, as the guest celebrity.

Interns have the opportunity to participate in events held by Bird Rescue. Talia helped with an event sponsored by Dawn dish soap featuring Ian Somerhalder as the guest celebrity. This event was held to raise awareness of human impact on the environment and highlighted the partnership Dawn has with Bird Rescue. The event was held at the Bird Rescue San Pedro facility and allowed the staff and volunteers to take part in educating the public. Events such as these occur frequently at Bird Rescue in an effort to educate the public about the work that takes place in this unique environment. The interns are welcomed to help and participate in many aspects.

Another benefit of the internship program is the opportunity to participate during environmental crises, such as oil spills. Interns gain first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience by aiding the staff in these events. They work in a fast-paced work environment alongside the staff and learn how bird care is performed when high volumes of effected birds are rehabilitated simultaneously.

In March 2016, Talia entered her research study in the Palos Verdes Peninsula United School District (PVPUSD) Science and Engineering fair. This event is held by The Palos Verdes Peninsula Education Foundation (www.pvpef.org). This foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing key programs and staff to the local schools. Talia was awarded first place against 18 student entries in the category of Zoology. She also won the United States Air Force Award, in a field of 115 entrants at a science fair held at the South Bay Botanical Gardens. After winning these two awards, Talia decided to continue working with Bird Rescue by volunteering in the hospital and working with the birds directly.

This internship program has proven to be highly beneficial. Interns receive the unique opportunity to interact, research, and observe the amazing work performed at International Bird Rescue. Those that have graduated the program have walked away with invaluable skills that they can apply in their future career choices.

July 8, 2014

What’s it like to intern with us? Just ask Leah.

Our resident photographer Bill Steinkamp recently spent a morning at our Los Angeles center interviewing Leah, a summer intern as part of a unique program with the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation created for students with ties to the San Pedro and Wilmington communities in the L.A. harbor area. Check it out!

March 1, 2014

International Bird Rescue launches internship program exclusively for San Pedro and Wilmington communities

At the intersection of commerce, industry and the natural environment, the harbor communities of San Pedro and Wilmington commonly see the effects of human activity on local wildlife.

And thanks to a new grant from the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation, individuals from these communities now have Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 1.35.05 PMthe opportunity to learn how to care for injured and oiled animals through the new Academic Internship Program at International Bird Rescue’s San Pedro center.

Offered exclusively to individuals ages 18 and over from Wilmington and San Pedro, the Academic Internship Program will engage those interested in biology, wildlife preservation or environmental conservation who want to make a difference. Two courses of study and training will be offered: animal care rehabilitation methods and a data analysis project based on clinical research conducted at the center by International Bird Rescue’s veterinary and rehabilitation team.

Students eligible for this internship program include those who have either resided in or attended colleges or universities in the San Pedro/Wilmington area, as well as exceptional high school seniors in the area who are at least 18 years of age at the start of the internship.

Interns will receive a $1,000 total stipend, disbursed in regular increments during the course of their internships.

A world leader in oiled wildlife care, International Bird Rescue has managed and assisted in some of the world’s largest environmental catastrophes, including the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 and the Exxon Valdez Spill in 1989.

Click here for more information on how to apply for this exciting opportunity.

About International Bird Rescue:

International Bird Rescue (IBR) has been helping seabirds and other aquatic birds around the world since 1971. Our team of specialists operates two year- round aquatic bird rehabilitation centers in California, which care for more than 5,000 birds every year. IBR’s Oil Spill Response Team has led oiled wildlife rescue efforts in more than 200 oil spills in a dozen countries around the world. Find out more at birdrescue.org.

About Harbor Community Benefit Foundation:

Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF) is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed in 2011. Its mission is to assess, protect, and improve the health, quality of life, aesthetics, and physical environment of the harbor communities of San Pedro and Wilmington, California, which have been impacted by the Port of Los Angeles. HCBF accomplishes this through grantmaking, independent research, and community events. For more information, visit hcbf.org.

December 28, 2013

Intern 2013 spotlight: Stephanie Walls

International Bird Rescue has been fortunate to have many talented and devoted interns as part of our International Internship Program. Today, we feature Stephanie Walls, who completed her internship at our San Francisco Bay center earlier this year.

Hometown: Fairfield, CAunnamed

Education: In May this year, I graduated from California State University-Monterey Bay with a bachelors in Environmental Science Technology and Policy, concentration Marine and Coastal Ecology.

First experience in wildlife rehab: One summer home from college, I volunteered with the Suisun Marsh Natural History Association and really enjoyed it.  I then started looking for opportunities similar to this in Monterey so I can continue to volunteer while at school.  I found that the Monterey County SPCA had a wildlife center, so I started volunteering there. It was actually while I was volunteering in Monterey that I learned about International Bird Rescue.

Favorite species to work with: I don’t really have a particular favorite species. I loved working with all the species I’ve been able to handle thus far. They all are pretty awesome and feisty in their own way which, I think, makes all species exciting to work with.

#SaveWildlife Advice: Find places to volunteer! I had no idea that IBR was practically in my backyard until I was 150 miles away from it. It’s a lot of hard work and not all aspects are bird care, but you quickly learn that everything going on in wildlife care centers are equally important, not only for the birds safety but also for the humans.

We welcome people from all countries to come and learn at one of our rehabilitation programs. Click here for information on our International Internship Program.

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Northern Fulmar, photo by Cheryl Reynolds

October 1, 2013

Intern spotlight: Brianna Settle

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Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Hometown: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and am very fortunate to live close to International Bird Rescue’s Cordelia center!

Education: I was homeschooled with my sisters all the way through 12th grade, and am currently a full-time student at the local junior college, where I am completing my undergraduate work. I know that I want to work in the field of avian rehabilitation, especially after my internship with IBR, but I am still exploring the different avenues available to me. I am considering becoming a rehabilitation technician, registered veterinary technician, or doctor of veterinary medicine. Right now I am leaning toward becoming a veterinarian. I plan to get my Ph.D.

How I got started: I originally decided to start volunteering at IBR because it would give me experience working with wildlife in a rehabilitation capacity, though at the time I was interested in becoming a cetacean biologist. It didn’t take long for me to absolutely fall in love with the animals, the work and the people. I never imagined two years ago that I would one day hold wild birds in my hands, administer medications to them, clean enclosures large enough for a person to live in, prepare fish, perform examinations and have the opportunity to learn from some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.

Favorite species: I have always been partial to birds with attitude, and yeah, that means the angry ones who try to bite you! I love it when a bird is really green herons again-Mfeisty, because that generally means that they have a good prognosis. Green Herons are really cool, when you first open their cage they all point their beaks straight up into the air and are still able to look at you with both eyes, because they protrude a little. They are small, and some of the trickiest escape artists ever — so full of personality! Gulls are great, they really stick up for themselves. I love cormorants, they are really beautiful birds. They also look at you with their beaks in the air and are very rambunctious! And grebes are fantastic, I love their lobed toes and the way they fold their feet and head into their feathers when they sleep!

#SaveWildlife Advice: If you are interested in helping animals and being involved in their rehabilitation, volunteer! You’ll learn amazing things and get to meet incredible people who are passionate about the work that you are doing to make the world a better place. The people at IBR are incredibly dedicated, smart, kind, nurturing, funny and caring. The atmosphere is warm and delightful — a great bunch of people!

Don’t worry if you’re too young to start volunteering, you’ll get there soon enough. And in the mean time you can tour centers, research animals and talk to staff and volunteers from rehabilitation organizations. A great resource is the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) website. They have information regarding oil spill response and rehabilitation. There is also a list of rehabilitation centers and organizations throughout the state of California that would be fascinating to learn about and visit!

I hope that you are able to be a part of something that is as wonderful, surprising and thrilling as interning and volunteering at IBR!

We welcome people from all countries to come and learn at one of our rehabilitation programs. Click here for information on our International Internship Program.
August 27, 2013

Intern spotlight: Diana B. Pereira

Meet-the-Team-Dika2

We welcome people from all countries to come and learn at one of our rehabilitation programs. Click here for information on our International Internship Program.