Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

News

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

December 31, 2015

Help Birds Soar Farther in 2016!

Pelican-Brown-dragging-wing-BS

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

Just a quick reminder that it’s the final day of 2015 and you can still give the gift of flight with a tax-deductible donation.

As a bird lover we depend on your generous gifts to keep our clinic doors open 365 days of the year to make sure the 5,000+ avian patients get the best possible care.

If you’ve already donated, thank you again for your support! If you haven’t yet, please join us and make a contribution to Bird Rescue.

With warm wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Sincerely,

JD-B-signature-300px

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

How will you help a bird today?

Photo by Bill Steinkamp

 

December 1, 2015

On #GivingTuesday Your Contribution Goes Twice As Far!

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Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

Today is #GivingTuesday, a special day for Non-Profit Organizations everywhere – a day that celebrates giving during the holiday season.

Donate-ButtonTo help us celebrate, an anonymous International Bird Rescue donor will match all #GivingTuesday online contributions made today – up to $5,000! Make a donation online before midnight tonight and your gift is DOUBLED.

We know there are many worthy non-profit groups to support this holiday season, and we hope you’ll consider Bird Rescue when making your year-end, tax-deductible donations.

Won’t you please join us to help reach our $10,000 #GivingTuesday goal today?

With gratitude for your support,

JD-Bergeron_signature-web

 

 

 

 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

November 19, 2015

Researchers: Saving Oiled Seabirds Is Effective Long-term

Photo of Little Blue Penguins Rena Spill Response in New Zealand

New research out of New Zealand is helping underscore what we’ve always believed: Saving oiled birds and returning them to the wild healthy and clean is not just well meaning but worth the effort.

Release of 60 Little Blue penguins at Mt Maunganui beach following Rena Oil Spill. Photo by Graeme Brown


Release of 60 Little Blue penguins at Mt Maunganui beach following Rena Oil Spill. Photo by Graeme Brown

Researchers from Massey University’s studied Little Blue Penguins (in photo above) following the 2011 Rena oil spill in the Bay of Plenty. They found both rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated birds were behaving similarly – diving to similar depths and in similar locations. They also analyzed the carbon and nitrogen levels in the birds’ feathers and able to show the penguins were feeding on similar prey.

Scientists evaluated the foraging behavior of eight cleaned birds using tracking devices and then compared it to the behavior of six unaffected birds.

The study was published this month in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. See the Massey University report

Bird Rescue sent a oiled wildlife response team to New Zealand in October 2011 after the 775 ft (236 m) cargo ship, MV Rena, ran aground on a charted reef off the North Island port of Tauranga. 300 metric tons of Fuel oil leaked from the ship and caused New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster. Read more

November 3, 2015

Sea Rescue TV: Refugio Oil Spill Episode

Sea Rescue TV has a new episode out on the wildlife response during the Refugio pipeline oil spill that hit the coast along Santa Barbara County in May 2015.

The piece captures the dedicated team helping care for and clean about 50 Brown Pelicans. All the effected seabirds were brought to our center in San Pedro, CA. Our staff and volunteers joined other Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) responders during this event.

Some of the rehabilitated pelicans were released with special satellite transmitters that help track the seabirds’ location. You can see their whereabouts via this interactive map and read about the innovative program.

More

Read more about the spill here

October 25, 2015

The Release Files: Common Murres

Ten more healthy Common Murres returned home this week. The seabirds were among hundreds of beached murres that have been rescued along the Northern California coast. They were released on October 23rd at Fort Baker in Sausalito, CA.

Photo Common Murres

Common Murres await release back to the wild. Photo by Elizabeth Russell

The hungry, exhausted murres – a diving seabird that looks a lot like a penguin – seem to be affected by the changing marine environment. Ocean water temperatures have risen along California and scientists believe that warmer currents associated with El Niño weather pattern may be to blame. As fish head for cooler water, the foraging birds may find a meal harder to reach.

Since July 1st a total of 468 murres have been delivered to our clinic. In October alone we’ve received 100+ new patients. Usually this time of the year we receive about 10 of this species each month. See earlier post

Bird Rescue has received seabirds from Monterey to Mendocino. The center which is located in Fairfield has deep above ground pelagic pools to allow the murres to swim, eat and gain their strength back.

Similar strandings with murres and other pelagic seabirds have been reported from Oregon to Alaska.

You can support the care of these seabirds by adopting: http://bird-rescue.org/adopt-murre

Media reports

10 birds return to San Francisco Bay after month-long rehab: ABC7-TV

Bird Rescue Center Releases Rehabilitated Seabirds: Getty Images

Biologists work to save massive number of sick sea birds: KTVU 2-TV

Along the Pacific Coast, a seabird is starving — and we don’t know why: PRI Radio

 

October 17, 2015

Murre-cy! That’s A Lot Of Murres!

Nearly 400 hungry, sick Common Murres have come into care since July. Photo by Russ Curtis

More than 425 hungry, sick Common Murres have come into care since July. Photo by Russ Curtis

How many hungry, sick Common Murres have poured into our Northern California center over the last 3+ months? A lot!

Since July 1st a total of 460 Murres have been delivered to our clinic. In October alone we’ve received 100+ new patients (updated Oct 25th). Usually this time of the year we receive about 10 of this species each month.

From Monterey to Mendocino the struggling seabirds have been transferred to Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center. The center has deep above ground pools (pelagic pools) to help the affected Murres swim, eat and gain their strength back.

The starving seabirds has raised red flags among ocean scientists. They believe that as waters warm along the California coast, some diving birds are starving as fish go deeper to reach cooler waters, putting themselves out of the birds’ reach. This past summer Northern California coastal waters have warmed 5 to 10 degrees above historical averages.

Similar strandings with Murres and other pelagic seabirds have been reported from Oregon north to Alaska.

You can support the care of these seabirds by adopting: http://bird-rescue.org/adopt-murre

See: Exhausted, Starving Seabirds Continue To Swamp San Francisco Bay Center

 

October 3, 2015

We Love Boobies!

Photos of Masked Booby and Red-Footed Booby at Bird Rescue's Los Angeles Center.

Masked Booby (left) and Red-Footed Booby at Los Angeles Center. Photos by Bill Steinkamp

What’s better than one booby?! How about two?

We have a pair of very rare boobies in care at our Los Angeles Center: a Red-footed Booby and a Masked Booby. Both of these seabird species are uncommon West Coast visitors. Red-footed Boobies can usually be found in tropical and sub-tropical waters across the globe. Masked Boobies have an enormous range that stretches from the Caribbean Islands to Australia. These unusual birds make a striking pair and we hope you enjoy the photos as much as we do.

Redondo Beach Animal Control found the Red-footed Booby last month at the Redondo Beach fishing pier. The officer observed that the bird was not moving. After transport to Bird Rescue, the booby was examined and found to be emaciated and molting with poor feather quality. It had some mild eye trauma that has since healed. (See: Patient of the Week, Sept.25, 2015)

Masked Booby was flown from Portland after being found along the coast at Newport, Oregon.

This Masked Booby was flown via Alaska Airlines from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles after being found on the Oregon coast.

The Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) is the smallest of the booby family, standing just over two feet tall and with a wingspan over three feet.

On September 11th, a passerby captured the Masked Booby in Newport, Oregon. The bird was brought to the local Newport Field office of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Later, it was transferred to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where Curator of Birds CJ McCarty and her team cared for it. The bird came in quite thin – weighing only 1,405g.

The USFWS contacted International Bird Rescue and requested the Masked Booby be moved to Bird Rescue in California for continued rehabilitation and release closer to its natural range. Alaska Airlines agreed to transport the booby free of charge from Portland, OR, to Los Angeles, CA this week. All of us at Bird Rescue would like to say a big thank you to USFWS, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Alaska Airlines for working together to get this bird the help it needed!

On Oct 1, the bird received a full examination by our veterinarian, Rebecca Duerr DVM, and was found to be bright and alert and in general good health, having gained a substantial amount of weight while at the aquarium.

The Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) is the largest of the booby family, standing about three feet tall and with a wingspan over five feet. According USFWS, this bird is only the second Masked Booby that has been reported north of Mendocino County, California.

Both birds are resting comfortably in the outdoor aviary at our center located in San Pedro, and are working on gaining more weight before release. When introduced to the other booby in the aviary, the Masked Booby sidled over to the Red-footed Booby along the edge of the pool and gave a big squawk of greeting to the other bird. They have been a fine pair of aviary booby buddies ever since.

You can help cover the cost of care of these birds by donating now: http://bird-rescue.org/donate

Photo of Masked and Red-footed Boobies at Bird Rescue Los Angeles

Both boobies are resting comfortably in the outdoor aviary at our center located in San Pedro, and are working on gaining more weight before release.

September 22, 2015

Exhausted, Starving Seabirds Continue To Swamp San Francisco Bay Center

Small mouth, big belly: Hungry Common Murres, including many young seabirds, are filling the San Francisco Bay Center. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

Small mouth, big belly: Hungry Common Murres, including many young seabirds, are filling the San Francisco Bay Center. Photo: International Bird Rescue

An unprecedented number of exhausted, hungry seabirds continue to flood International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center. More than 250 rescued Common Murres – mostly young, malnourished chicks unable to maintain their weight and body temperature – have been delivered to the center in the last few weeks.

“The huge flow of stranded seabirds into our center has not slowed.” says Michelle Bellizzi, Center Manager at Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center. ”Just today we received 37 new patients in need of care. Our staff and volunteers are working long hours to make sure these birds get a second chance.”

Murre-Adopt-Button

The number of Murres this year is exceptional – especially since Bird Rescue rarely sees more than ten of this bird species in one month during the late summer and early fall.

The life-saving care these seabirds require is not cheap and continues to strain Bird Rescue’s resources. Donations are needed more than ever. You can symbolically adopt a Murre by donating online

“Thanks to some generous donations we have been able to bring one additional pool online and two more will be completed this week,” adds JD Bergeron, Executive Director of Bird Rescue, “but the costs of care, feeding, medication, and additional staff time continue to add up. During these emergency events we rely heavily on the support of our donors and other bird lovers.”

115 Common Murres ic care as of September 22, 2015. Photo: Russ Curtis

115 Common Murres ic care as of September 22, 2015. Photo: Russ Curtis

Murres in care can be viewed on Bird Rescue’s Live BirdCam: http://bird-rescue.org/birdcam/birdcam-1.aspx

Along the coast, the public and trained citizen scientists have been spotting not just live birds, but an unusually high number of dead birds on Northern California beaches. On Rodeo Beach in Marin County earlier this month, beach walkers counted 80 dead seabirds – mostly Common Murres.

The sight of so many starving seabirds has raised red flags among seabird scientists. These scientists surmise that as waters warm along the California coast, diving birds starve as fish go deeper to reach cooler waters, putting themselves out of the birds’ reach. This summer Northern California coastal waters have warmed 5 to 10 degrees above historical averages.

What’s happening to these seabirds is important. Common Murres serve as a key indicator species for ocean conservation. Their numbers are trending downward with documented changes in fish stocks, chronic oil spills, and interactions with humans.

The Common Murre (Uria aalge) looks very much like a small penguin. The public often reports seeing “little penguins” stranded on Bay Area beaches, what they are really seeing are Murres. Unlike Penguins, Common Murres can fly.

Murres spend most their lives out to sea, except when nesting on rocky cliffs. They are superb divers—essentially “flying” through water by using their wings to propel themselves. They can dive in excess of 200 feet below the surface to forage.

September 14, 2015

State Labs: Mystery Goo Identified as Polymerized Oil, Similar to Vegetable Oil

Bufflehead coated with mystery goo during intake exam in January 2015.

Bufflehead coated with mystery goo during intake exam in January 2015.

In January, a “mystery goo” coated more than 500 seabirds along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. The goo has now been further identified by state labs as a “polymerized oil, most similar to vegetable oil.”

While in an oil spill, a responsible party steps forward to pay for the costs of cleanup, there was – and still is – no identified responsible party for the Mystery Goo. However, International Bird Rescue (“Bird Rescue”) took the lead after 323 live birds with the sticky substance were captured and transported to our San Francisco Bay Center. Bird Rescue was able to clean and rehabilitate 165 birds and release them back into the wild. An additional 170 birds were found dead. An unknown number of other birds were assumed killed because of predation or other factors.

State labs led by scientists at California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and the California Department of Public Health in an effort to identify the material.

According to the report issued on September 11, 2015:

“The ‘goo’ was composed of a mixture of oils that contained polymers made up of fatty acids and triglycerides, and was most likely plant-derived. Petroleum products or animal fats were not detected through various chemical analyses. The presence of polymers (very large molecules made up of repeating smaller units), helps explain the gummy to hard nature of this substance.”

“This may be as close as we get,” said said Daniel Orr, environmental scientist with the California Fish and Wildlife Service. “I wish we had more to go on, but without a ‘pure’ sample or new investigative lead we may be at a standstill.”

The state and federal labs issued a preliminary report back on February 12 concluding that the substance included a mixture of non-petroleum-based fats or oils. See earlier blog post

The sticky goo resembled rubber cement and covered and matted the feathers of seabirds, limited their ability to stay warm, take flight, float and forage for food. No goo was found to be on the beach or in the water, which deepened the mystery.

Horned Grebe aka "Gummy Bear" came with super gunked feathers, 3 weeks later it was released clean.

One goo bird, a Horned Grebe aka “Gummy Bear,” came to Bird Rescue with super gunky feathers (left). After 3 weeks in care it was cleaned and healthy and was released back to the wild. (Photos by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue)

Each of the birds was medically stabilized and then cleaned using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, followed by washing with Dawn detergent, and rinse to repair waterproofing.

Surf Scoters comprised 70% of birds brought in for care.

Surf Scoters comprised 70% of birds brought in for care.

The birds treated included: Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, and Scaups. More than 70% the bird affected were Surf Scoters.

The birds were rescued beginning on January 16, 2015, along the East Bay shoreline from Alameda south to Hayward. All of the live birds came in to Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield, CA. The last impacted bird came in on January 22.

Our friends at Wildlife Emergency Services (WES) helped lead the capture efforts in the field, alongside Bird Rescue staff.

Many of the birds arrived with pressure sores to their hocks or toes from being stranded on hard land, and took two or three months to treat. Several dozen birds had surgeries for keel injuries but most of these healed quickly. The last bird in care, a male Surf Scoter, was released back to the wild on April 15th – nearly three months following the incident.

With no responsible party to help with the cost of bird care, International Bird Rescue’s relied on public and foundation support to pay the $150,000 bill. This was a superb example of public-private partnership which Bird Rescue hopes to replicate for future unforeseeable events to ensure high quality care and sufficient supplies are on hand. You can support our Emergency Response capacity by donating here.

The goo incident still remains under investigation. If you have any information on the incident, contact California’s CalTIP line at 1-888-334-2258 or download the free CalTIP smartphone App. All reports are confidential.

Hundreds of Surf Scoters were among the 323 seabirds brought into care during the "Mystery Goo" event.

Hundreds of Surf Scoters were among the 323 seabirds brought into care during the “Mystery Goo” event.

September 2, 2015

Seabirds Are Overwhelming International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Center

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More than 150 stranded Common Murres have come in for care at IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center in Fairfield. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center has been hit by an uncommon wave of Common Murres—more than 150 of them in August. The majority of these seabirds are young, malnourished chicks, exhausted and unable to maintain their body temperature.

Murre-Adopt-ButtonTo help in the quest to save the lives of these numerous vulnerable and needy seabird patients, IBR is asking for support from the bird-appreciating public.

“This is an unusually large post-breeding event and is severely straining our bird center resources,” said Michelle Bellizzi, manager of IBR’s San Francisco Bay Center. “We hope the public will help by donating to care for these birds.”

At our already busy center, the murre patients are taking over — especially in the outdoor pelagic pools. The number of murres this year is exceptional – especially since IBR rarely sees more than 10 of these bird species in one month during the summer. Check out the live BirdCam

COMU-hatchling-pool-cry

Hatchling year Common Murres are among the most seabird patients in care.

To most people, the Common Murre (Uria aalge) looks very much like a small penguin; in fact, the public often reports seeing “little penguins” stranded on the Bay area beaches when, in fact, they’re seeing murres. In contrast to Penguins, which are flightless and live in southern oceans, Common Murres are diving seabirds that can fly, and that breed and feed widely along the Pacific Coast from central California to Alaska.

Except when nesting, which they do on rocky cliffs, murres spend their lives in and on the water and are nothing less than super-divers—essentially “flying” through water by using their wings to propel themselves and diving in excess of 200 feet below the surface to forage.

As for what’s at the root of this huge influx of ailing Common Murres, no one knows for sure. Some scientists surmise that as waters warm along the California coast, diving birds starve as fish go deeper to reach cooler waters, putting themselves out of the birds’ reach. This summer Northern California coastal waters have seen an increase of 5 to 10 degrees above historical averages.

Whatever the issue, what’s happening to these seabirds is important, since Common Murres have served as a key indicator species for ocean conservation for many years, and their numbers have been trending downwards with documented changes in fish stocks, chronic oil spills, and interactions with humans.

Even in the best of times, IBR relies on public support to treat and feed ill and injured seabirds each year—more than 5,000 patients are cared for annually at IBR’s two California centers.

Right now, Common Murres needing life-saving care are proving extra-challenging and are truly testing IBR’s resources. Donations are greatly needed and greatly appreciated. And for those who wish to donate in the form of a symbolic “adoption” of a murre, they can do so at http://bird-rescue.org/adopt-murre

 

June 27, 2015

The Release Files: Clean Western Grebe from Refugio Oil Spill

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The Western Grebe was released by Kelly Berry of IBR at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, CA. Photos by Jo Joseph

The Western Grebe was released by Kelly Berry of IBR at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, CA. Photos by Jo Joseph

On Friday our team in Southern California released a rehabilitated Western Grebe from the Refugio Oil Spill. This is the first non-Pelican affected by the spill to be released.

The heavily oiled Grebe was collected on May 22, 2015 from the drainage ditch east of of Venadito Creek in Santa Barbara County.

After being washed and recovering from various secondary injuries at our Los Angeles Center, it was released late this week at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

More than 50 oiled seabirds – mainly Brown Pelicans – have come to the center rescued in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The birds were oiled at May 19th Refugio oil pipeline break that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude.

6-24-Refugio_Data_By_Species_For_WebsiteAs a member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) the center near the Los Angeles Harbor has been ground zero for this oiled seabird response. International Bird Rescue staff and volunteers, along with other OWCN members, have worked tirelessly to help care for the effected birds.

A total of 252 seabirds have been collected. 57 live oiled birds and 195 birds were found dead. Complete list: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

June 13, 2015

First Brown Pelicans Released At Goleta Beach Following Refugio Oil Spill

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Dear Bird Rescue Supporter,

There’s nothing quite like a bird release to stir your soul.

Photo of released Brown Pelicans Goleta, CA

Brown Pelicans released at Goleta Beach head back to the wild. Photo by Valerie Kushnerov, City of Goleta

On Friday we happily helped release the first 10 clean, rehabilitated Pelicans back to the wild at Goleta Beach. All of these majestic seabirds were oiled in the May 19th Refugio oil spill in Santa Barbara.

Satellite tracking device between the Pelican's wings.  Photo: Justin Cox, UC Davis

Satellite tracking device between the Pelican’s wings. Photo: Justin Cox, UC Davis

The awe inspiring sight of these Brown Pelicans returning home gave us all renewed hope that humans can and will work to help heal oiled wildlife. More than 50 oiled birds have come to the San Pedro center – mainly Pelicans rescued in the Pacific Ocean from Refugio south to Ventura County.

As a proud member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) the center near the Los Angeles Harbor was at ground zero for this oiled seabird response. International Bird Rescue staff and volunteers, along with other OWCN members, worked tirelessly to help care for the effected birds.

As part of the research aspect of the spill response, five Pelicans were outfitted with solar-powered satellite tracking devices. This will help OWCN scientists track and study the rescued birds.

As always, we appreciate all the kind words and notes of encouragement for our role in helping to make sure “Every Bird Matters”.

Sincerely,

Barbara Signature

 

 

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

Photo of special green Z banded released Brown Pelican from Refugio Oil Spill

P.S. – If you spot a banded Brown Pelican with a special “Z” leg numbered band, please report it to the OWCN tip line: 1-877-UCD-OWCN.

 

June 2, 2015

2015 – Refugio Pipeline Spill

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Ray of Hope In A Sea Of Dread: Washed,
Clean Brown Pelicans in Outdoor Aviary

 

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After being cleaned of oil, Brown Pelicans recuperate in an outside aviary (above) at our San Pedro, CA center. Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck

Two weeks after oiled seabirds from the Refugio Oil Incident began arriving into our San Pedro Center, many have been washed and are now recuperating in two large outside bird aviaries.

Most of the birds in care are California Brown Pelicans. These are majestic birds with a height of more than 4 feet, weighing upwards of 11 pounds (5000 g) and with a wingspan 6+ feet.

At least 40 Brown Pelicans are in care and upwards of 36 have been washed of the oil that coated their wings after a pipeline burst at Refugio State Beach on May 19th.

Other bird species in care include Western Gulls, Western Grebes, Common Murres, a Surf Scoter, and a Pacific Loon.

As of Wednesday night, June 3, search and collection teams have rescued 58 live birds and 42 live marine mammals. Dead animals collected included 115 seabirds and 58 mammals.

Oil has severe and delirious effect on a bird’s feathers. It mats feathers & separates the tiny barbs impairing waterproofing, exposing birds to temperature extremes. In this emergency situation, the bird will focus on preening (cleaning feathers) – overriding all other natural behaviors, including evading predators and feeding, making the bird vulnerable to secondary health problems such as severe weight loss, anemia and dehydration. See: How Oil Affects Birds

A 24-inch underground pipeline burst about 20 miles NW of Santa Barbara. At least 100,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the broken pipe, including an estimated 21,000 gallons that washed into a storm drain and flowed out to the Pacific Ocean.

As a member of California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network our wildlife responders were activated to help with search and collection and treatment and washing of affected seabirds. Our center in San Pedro near the Los Angeles Harbor is fully staffed with multiple washing stations and two aviaries – one that is large flight aviary.

Animal numbers are updated each day and available on the OWCN blog: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

Photo oiled Peilcan at International Bird Rescue

Wildlife responders from International Bird Rescue clean oiled Brown Pelican. Photo: Joseph Proudman – UC Davis

May 27, 2015

Number of Oiled Seabirds Continues To Rise from Refugio Oil Pipeline Rupture

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Using a toothbrush, IBR staff and volunteers clean an oiled California Brown Pelican at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center in San Pedro, CA. Photo by Bill Steinkamp – International Bird Rescue

Photo oiled Peilcan at International Bird Rescue

Wildlife responders from International Bird Rescue clean oiled Brown Pelican. Photo: Joseph Proudman – UC Davis

As the numbers of oiled animals affected by the Refugio Oil Incident continues to climb, our Los Angeles Center is ground zero for treating oil coated seabirds. At least 20 seabirds are now in care at the center in San Pedro, CA

International Bird Rescue (IBR) also has teams in the field assisting the search and collection of oiled wildlife in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

“The birds that we’ve seen so far have come in completely coated with oil,”  Dr. Christine Fiorello, an Oiled Wildlife Care Network veterinarian told the media at a press conference last week. “They can’t move. They can’t forage. They can’t fly. They can’t dive. So yeah, they would die pretty rapidly if they were not cleaned.”

Most of the birds captured on beaches are Brown Pelicans – large seabirds that have the strength and fortitude to survive the thick gooey crude. Many smaller seabirds may have perished in the thick gunk.

Serverly oiled Brown Pelican brought to San Pedro Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

Serverly oiled Brown Pelican brought to San Pedro Center. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

A week ago Tuesday morning May 19, a 24-inch underground pipeline burst near Refugio State Beach about 20 miles NW of Santa Barbara. About 100,000 gallons of crude oil, specifically Las Flores Canyon OCS (Outer Continental Shelf), spilled into a culvert that led to the Pacific Ocean.

As a member of California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network we are providing the best possible care to impacted wildlife. IBR has over 44 years of experience working on oil spill all over the world. See our history

As of Wednesday evening May 27th, a total of 57 seabirds have been collected – 39 alive and 18 dead. There have been 32 total mammals collected with 22 rescued alive and 10 found dead.

Washing oiled Pelican at San Pedro Center. IBR photo

Washing oiled Pelicans at San Pedro Center. IBR photo

The affected birds are being taken to Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network and stabilized before being transported for further care and washing at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center.

All oiled mammals including elephant seals and sea lions are being treated and washed at SeaWorld in San Diego location. SeaWorld is also a member of the OWCN.

Animal numbers are updated each day and available on the OWCN blog: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

Please don’t pickup or try to clean oiled seabirds. The oil is toxic to you and the stress of trying to clean wildlife without proper stabilization and care may do more harm than good. We ask the public to call 1-877-UCD-OWCN to report oiled wildlife.

Note to volunteers: Please don’t contact our very busy San Pedro clinic during this response. Our staff, OWCN members and our trained volunteers are handling the care of these oiled seabirds. 

You can still help in other ways: Please visit the CalSpillWatch website to register as volunteer for other needs on this spill response.

Photo of Oiled Brown Pelicans at International Bird Rescue - OWCN in San Pedro, CA

Most of the oiled seabirds rescued were California Brown Pelicans. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue

Photo cleaned Brown Pelicans at International Bird Rescue

After cleaning Brown Pelicans rescued at the Refugio Oil Spill in Santa Barbara County. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck – International Bird Rescue