Every Bird Matters
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News

July 1, 2018

Bird Rescue Celebrates 40 Years With Dawn, Procter And Gamble

No one wishes for oil spills. Not petroleum companies, and certainly not those of us who care about the environment. But spills do happen, and one particularly bad spill occurred in 1971 right outside San Francisco Bay. When bad things happen, good people respond. A group of concerned local citizens trooped down to beaches and shoreline all around the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay in a desperate attempt to rescue thousands of birds covered in oil.

Dawn is holding a 40-year celebration at Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall in New York City.

After that first oil spill, we explored many different ways to clean oil off of aquatic birds. Seven years later, in 1978, International Bird Rescue started what would become a 40-year relationship (and counting) with Procter and Gamble. Through trial, error, and our tenacity to find a solution, we discovered that Procter and Gamble’s Dawn dish soap, was the golden ticket! It was inexpensive, effective, readily available, and Procter and Gamble was excited to learn about this somewhat unusual use of their product.

Since then, Procter and Gamble have become one of our biggest supporters, donating countless bottles of Dawn dish soap to us, and committing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support our wildlife rehabilitation, research, and spill response work.

Fortunately, our 47 years of work has helped improve emergency response techniques and outcomes for oiled wildlife across the globe. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of other threats to aquatic birds. Rescuing birds negatively affected by urban wildlife conflicts such as habitat loss, cruelty, and fishing entanglements (from hooks, lines, and nets) is an ever-increasing volume of our work.

See: History of DAWN helping save wildlife

We can all take action every day to make a difference and improve the  human impact on aquatic birds by opting for wooden stir sticks (instead of plastic) at the local coffee shop, using reusable water bottles (instead of single-use plastic bottles), making sure to never litter, and by donating to International Bird Rescue. Join us, and we can all continue this life-saving work. To learn more about becoming a corporate sponsor, click here.

Cleaning oiled wildlife at the 2010 Deepwater Gulf Oil Spill in Louisiana.

 

June 27, 2018

Bird Rescue Remains On-Call in the Wake of Two Major Oil Spills

Within the past week, there have been two notable oil spills impacting the world. In Rotterdam, Netherlands, hundreds of swans and other birds were oiled when 7,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil spilled into the harbor. Closer to home in Doon, Iowa, a train derailment leaked 230,000 gallons of oil into the Rock River. Both spills are categorized as “Tier 2” events, meaning that response officials are utilizing not only local responders but also national resources and response teams.

With 47 years of experience in oil spill response, we are eager to bring our skills to the scene and we stand prepared at a moment’s notice. Having handled a very similar situation to the Rotterdam spill in 2006, involving large numbers of swans at the Tallinn (Estonia) Oil Spill, we are on alert to offer our services and experience if and when it is needed. With close to 1,000 birds currently affected by the spill, we are currently in regular contact with the officials in the Netherlands and ready to activate when the call is made by on-scene officials.

Quick action is key to a successful wildlife response. With three crisis response hospitals and a fully trained team of staff and volunteers, International Bird Rescue is prepared and ready to respond to an oil spill 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our 45+ years of specialized experience in rescuing and caring for oiled wildlife has made International Bird Rescue a global leader in oil spill response, training, and preparedness. Even while caring for the over 300 rehabilitating birds currently in care, we are ready to take action – helping to do our part to make our global waters a safer place for waterbirds in crisis.

To read more about the spill in Rotterdam, click here. To learn more about the spill in Iowa, click here. To stay up-to-date on Bird Rescue’s involvement with these spills – watch out for updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

June 13, 2018

The Release Files: Rescued Young Pelicans Get a Second Chance

Healthy young Brown Pelicans released at Whites Point in San Pedro. Photos by Angie Trumbo

A beautiful day for a release! Three rehabilitated Brown Pelicans took to the skies and joined a flock of local pelicans as they returned to the wild Wednesday afternoon. The healthy seabirds were released at Whites Point in San Pedro after a month in Bird Rescue care.

The opening paragraph in the Associated Press story by John Rogers captured it best:

“Birds gotta fly, and to the delight of dozens of people gathered above a rock-strewn Southern California beach, that’s exactly what a trio of Brown Pelicans did when their cages were opened.”

Concern for ailing Brown Pelicans that live along the coast of California has been mounting the past few months. Since late April at least 80 sick and dying birds came into Bird Rescue’s two California wildlife centers. The first and second year Brown Pelicans admitted show signs of emaciation, hypothermia, and anemia.

Two of three pelicans released Wednesday.

Some of these cases, such as the two pelicans that crash-landed in the middle of a Pepperdine University graduation ceremony,  garnered media attention. Many more sick birds have been found grounded on LAX airport runways, on city streets, and in people’s yards.

It’s still a mystery what’s causing these birds to crash land. It could be the challenges of warmer ocean waters that chase the pelicans fish stocks to deeper, unreachable waters. What we do know is that these young seabirds need immediate care.

With the quick action of the public and local animal control agencies, ailing pelicans can be stabilized, hydrated and fed. After a month or more of care, more will return to their familiar coastal waters where hopefully they will find food and thrive in the wild.

Thanks to all the local folks that came out to cheer on these second chance pelicans. And thanks to our donors whose support makes it possible to give mother nature a little TLC!

Taking to the skies, youthful pelicans spread their wings after release.

May 10, 2018

Sudden Surge of Sick and Dying Brown Pelicans along the Coast of California

June 13, 2018 update: 80 young Brown Pelicans have come into our two California wildlife centers.

Concern for Brown Pelicans that live along the coast of Southern California has been mounting as the reported number of sick and dying birds suddenly increased over the past week. Some of these cases, such as the two pelicans that crash-landed in the middle of a Pepperdine University graduation ceremony, have garnered media attention. Many more sick birds have been found grounded on LAX airport runways, on city streets, and in people’s yards.

More than 30 pelicans have been brought to International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles wildlife center in San Pedro. The numbers have doubled in just a few days. The Brown Pelicans admitted show signs of emaciation, hypothermia, and anemia.

After being stabilized and fed, rescued Brown Pelicans recuperate in the flight aviary at Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Wildlife Center. Photo by Angie Trumbo–International Bird Rescue

While it is not unusual to see an uptick in hospitalized pelicans at this time of year, those birds are usually new fledglings coming to shore, hungry. The current situation is of particular concern because the birds affected are older, primarily in their second year.

“It’s normal for us to receive young pelicans who have just recently fledged their nests,” says Kylie Clatterbuck, Wildlife Center Manager, “however, what is unusual is that we are seeing many second year pelicans coming into care.”

The last large-scale problem with young Brown Pelicans occurred in 2012. During that year alone, Bird Rescue had 952 of mostly young birds came into care between its two California wildlife centers. Of those, over 600 affected pelicans were treated at the Los Angeles center.

Bird Rescue is asking for the public’s help in caring for these Brown Pelicans in need. Donations can be made online at www.birdrescue.org or mailed to the center directly (address below). We encourage anyone who spots a sick pelican to call their local animal control or contact us directly at 310-514-2573.

International Bird Rescue – Los Angeles Wildlife Center
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, California 90731

Devin Hanson, Bird Rescue Rehabilitation Technician at the Los Angeles Wildlife Center, exams young hungry and anemic Brown Pelican. Photo by Angie Trumbo–International Bird Rescue

 

Hungry Brown Pelicans outside in the pelican flight aviary at the Los Angeles Wildlife Center gobble down fish. Photo by Angie Trumbo–International Bird Rescue

At the San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center, almost 30 Brown Pelicans are in care for emaciation during pelican crash event. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds–International Bird Rescue

May 5, 2018

Conquer The Bridge Run In Los Angeles

This summer, the L.A. Wildlife Center is getting geared up for the 10th annual Conquer the Bridge race in San Pedro. The 8.5k course crosses the Vincent Thomas Bridge – an iconic suspension bridge which spans Los Angeles harbor, connecting San Pedro and Terminal Island. These two areas represent important foraging, roosting and nesting habitats for many of the aquatic birds that Bird Rescue strives to protect.

Bird Rescue staff, volunteers, and supports have created team Yes We Peli-CAN to participate in the race on Sept 3 to help raise awareness surrounding the aquatic birds in the Port of LA area and raise funds to support Bird Rescue’s mission.

Team Yes We Peli-CAN will be working together towards the goal of raising $10,000 to go towards the care of injured, oiled and orphaned aquatic birds in the Los Angeles area. As of this month, over $1,200 has been raised. If you would like to contribute to the team campaign, visit https://www.bird-rescue.org/get-involved/support-the-conquer-the-bridge-runners

If you are interested in joining Team Yes We Peli-CAN to be a part of this exciting event, contact the Team Captain at RaceTeamLA@bird-rescue.org. Team registration remains open until Aug 24.

April 11, 2018

Hop Aboard JetBlue For Good And Vote To Help Birds

Great Blue Heron in flight. Photo by Tom Grey

Vote today to help a bird and get a chance to win two free tickets from JetBlue. Your votes earn Bird Rescue a chance to win a $15,000 grant in the airline’s “GreenUp Campaign” this spring.

Help us honor the ‘Year of the Bird’ by partnering with Bird Rescue and JetBlue to make a stand for seabirds!

Here’s a How-to-Vote:

 

March 30, 2018

Sometimes in a Spill Crisis, No Wildlife is the Best Outcome

Spill Location, Shuyak Island, Alaska

In February, just as many of our team were arriving for our co-hosting duties of this year’s National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association conference in Anaheim, CA, International Bird Rescue was called to respond to an oil spill in the remote islands of the Kodiak Archipelago.

The details were only just emerging: a 3,000-gallon bladder stored inside a dockside building fell into the ocean when strong winds caused the building to collapse.

Spectacled Eider pair, photographed by Jay Holcomb

Bad weather and surging 15′ waves prevented anyone in the response team from reaching the location in that first day, so available wildlife information was limited. Local knowledge of the area suggested that sea and river otters, seals, whales, and a variety of birds were regularly seen in the region. Our biggest concern was that the location of the spill (within a narrow strait) could mean that a large number of seabirds were weathering the storm in that very spot.

Among those of highest concern were vulnerable sea ducks like STELLER’S EIDER and SPECTACLED EIDER (shown left). These species tend to overwinter in massive flocks, making them especially vulnerable to oil spills because a large group could be affected all at once.

This effect was the case during the Treasure Oil Spill in South Africa in the year 2000 in which we participated as part of the

Photo of Treasure Oil Spill Penguin Rescue

International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) now-defunct spill response team, which affected more than 40,000 endangered African Penguins and still represents the largest and most successful wildlife response in history. To the right is an image from that spill response and demonstrates our worst fears for a large-scale disaster.

Since the spill location was hard to access, we were kept on standby in Anchorage alongside the incident command while we prepared for the possibility of oiled birds at International Bird Rescue’s Alaska Wildlife Response Center (IBR-AWRC). Preparations included developing a wildlife response plan with other wildlife agencies present, walking through the center, checking availability of our extensive response team for immediate deployment, performing inventory checks on our clinical supplies as well as those of our partner Alaska Chadux Corporation, an oil spill response organization which handles the environmental cleanup while we handle the wildlife.

Trusty bottle of Dawn dish soap in the response container ready to be deployed

The response effort achieved “boots on the ground” on the third day as the first responders were able to access the spill site and give a better assessment of actual impacts. There were no reports of oiled wildlife and all wildlife seen anywhere in the vicinity were behaving normally. This positive result was likely the result of two combining factors: harsh weather and the dense nature of the oil product that spilled.

To read more about the official account: Port William Shuyak Island Bunker C Spill.

As the week progressed, there were still no reports of oiled wildlife and we were able to spend our early evenings after the work day conducting a Bird Rescue tradition: Wildlife Surveys. Wildlife surveys involve seeking out native animals and birds in their natural habitat because:

  1. they prepare us well for the next spill by acclimating the team to the specific dynamics in a location, and
  2. since we’re all animal lovers, they provide rare opportunities to see wildlife from other regions.

Among the sightings from the Anchorage area: several MOOSE with yearlings, DALL SHEEP, COMMON RAVENS, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, BLACK-CAPPED and BOREAL CHICKADEES (great for comparison), BROWN CREEPERS, COMMON and HOARY REDPOLLS, PINE GROSBEAKS, a very cooperative SHORT-EARED OWL, and a NORTHERN SHRIKE.

When I return to Alaska as a trainer in July, I’ll be looking for my next target: BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, and I’ll keep you posted how that goes.

We are glad to report that to date no wildlife have been seen as affected by this spill. The cleanup effort continues and will likely do so for quite a while. In a spill response, however, no wildlife is often the best possible outcome. 

March 14, 2018

2018 –Ventura Oil Seep Response

Photo of oiled seabird called a Western Grebe beiung washed at International Bird Rescue.

An oiled Western Grebe, a seabird that spends the majority of its life in open ocean, gets cleaned of natural oil seep at Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Wildlife Center.

By Kylie Clatterbuck, Los Angeles Wildlife Center Manager

Late last month International Bird Rescue received the news that our friends at Santa Barbara Wildlife (SBW) were seeing an unusually large number of beached oiled birds along the coast near Ventura Harbor.  Oiled birds can be a common occurrence this time of year due to the ocean’s natural oil seeps and the migrating birds who overwinter in Southern California waters. However by the end of February 2018,  there were at least 11 live oiled Western Grebes captured during search and collection.

A Western Grebe rests on net bottom caging awaiting cleaning of natural oil seep .

To ensure that we were dealing with natural oil seep, rather than an oil spill, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) was notified and transport was arranged to bring the birds down to Bird Rescue for evidence collection and primary care. In total, Bird Rescue received 18 oiled over the course of three days.

When working with oiled wildlife, samples are collected from each bird for chemical “fingerprinting” by the Petroleum Chemistry Lab of the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife; it was determined that the oil was in fact from a natural seep. Natural oil seep is common along the Southern California Coast and acts much like spilled oil.

Western Grebes spend the entirety of their lives in water, propelling themselves with their feet to hunt for fish. When a bird becomes oiled, it’s feather structure is compromised leaving them unable to remain waterproof, maintain internal temperature, or hunt for food. They also can sustain secondary injuries and burns as a result and will die unless rescued and the oil cleaned off by trained personnel.

When we received these birds, many of them were in poor body condition, extremely dehydrated, and heavily oiled. Medically stabilizing these birds before putting them through an extensive and stressful wash process is incredibly important. By giving the birds nutritional tube feedings and a warm environment, we were able to improve their condition quickly and wash the oil off within a few days of admittance. But that’s just the beginning…

The days after wash are spent tirelessly giving the birds access to water, assessing their waterproofing, and aiding the birds while drying any wet areas still remaining post wash. It’s a lot of work for the staff, but it’s even more work for the birds who need to preen their feathers all while living under the stress of an alien environment. These are wild animals that are affected by the stressors of human interaction, noise, and simply being out of water for several days.

After two weeks, we’re happy to report that most of the birds are already waterproof and living in one of our large pools! We will now be working on conditioning these birds for release back into the wild by improving their body condition and treating any injuries/wounds they may have acquired during the ordeal of becoming oiled.

Volunteer Mary Test helps intake nearly 20 oiled seabirds covered in natural oil seep from Ventura, CA.

Freshly washed of oil, Western Grebes are moved to the outdoor pelagic pools at the center located in San Pedro, CA.

 

February 24, 2018

You Can Help Us Raise More Than 2,000 Baby Birds!

Dear Nature Enthusiast,

Did you know that March marks the beginning of Baby Bird Season at International Bird Rescue? As early as the end of February, our clinics will begin flooding with thousands of orphaned baby birds. Due to human-related impacts such as habitat destruction, predator attacks from free-roaming cats, and abandoned nests due to environmental disturbance, many young chicks will end up at our wildlife centers.

While this season ALWAYS brings uncertainty as to how many nestlings will need our help, we are ALWAYS committed to helping each and every one. To get an inside peek at what Baby Bird Season at Bird Rescue is all about, watch this short video!

Baby Bird Season is hectic and costly in staff time and financial resources. Unlike traditional veterinary clinics, our patients come to us with no funding and no one responsible for paying the bill. And what’s worse, the bills for these young birds are always high. Baby bird patients require round-the-clock care, capable hands, and lots of food and vitamins in order to be raised successfully and returned to the environment. By pledging your support today, YOU can help us raise more than 2,000 baby birds this season!

How will your support get put to use? As an example, DONATIONS LIKE YOURS can cover the cost to care for a Black-crowned Night-Heron:

  • $36 covers feeding and housing a heron for two days
  • $100 provides surgery to a heron with a broken wing
  • $126 feeds a heron for a week
  • $600 funds the month-long stay of a healthy baby heron until its release
  • $1800 pays for required surgery and extended stay of an injured baby heron until its release

Please give generously through our busiest time of year – Baby Bird Season – and thank you for answering this call-to-action for aquatic chicks! To donate now, click below.

THANKS TO YOUR HELP over 2,000 orphaned birds will receive critical care at International Bird Rescue this spring, as well as a bright new opportunity to return to the wild. From all of us at Bird Rescue, THANK YOU for giving them a fresh start!

With Gratitude,

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

P.S. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join in on a week-long journey that will look at the diversity of baby birds that come into our care, and ways that you can help!

December 18, 2017

Great Egret Suffers Two Gunshot Wounds, $500 Reward Offered

Wounded Great Egret is recovering at Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Wildlife Center. Photo: Devin Hansen/International Bird Rescue

A Great Egret is recovering at International Bird Rescue after being found shot in Southern California on November 28, 2017. International Bird Rescue is offering a $500 reward to anyone with information leading to the conviction of the perpetrator involved.

The wounded Egret was brought to an Agoura Hills, CA animal hospital before being transferred to Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Wildlife Center with two gunshot wounds. One pellet went in at the left breast muscle, punched a hole in the bird’s keel, exited on the right side and fractured the bird’s wing bone (ulna).

“Bird Rescue was created to mitigate human impact on birds, and most of the injuries we see on a daily basis are caused by human negligence,” said JD Bergeron, International Bird Rescue Executive Director. “A bird like this though–a beautiful white marsh bird that was used for target practice–is the victim of willful human cruelty.”

The injured bird, nicknamed “Ernie” by the students at Colina Middle School in Thousand Oaks where the animal was found, underwent a successful surgery and is recuperating at Bird Rescue’s wildlife center located in San Pedro, CA. Read: Injured egret saved on middle school campus

“To the exceptional students and staff at Colina Middle School: Thank you for coming to the aid of this bird in distress,” said Bergeron.

The abuse of this Great Egret is a federal offense. Anyone with information about this animal cruelty case, including the name or location of the perpetrator, can call the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement at (310) 328-1516. Callers may remain anonymous.

“We hope that whoever is responsible for this shooting can be brought to justice,” added Bergeron.

Great Egrets were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1890’s for their silky plume of feathers. Concerned citizens organized a nationwide movement that resulted in federal protection for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

 

X-ray of fractured the bird’s wing bone (ulna).

Pellet removed from Great Egret by our vet during surgery.

Egret just after surgery.

 

 

December 10, 2017

Patient of Week: Injured American White Pelican Making Great Progress!

After treatment: Much happier White Pelican living outside and able to eat on his own.

We’ve got some good news: The severely injured American White Pelican rescued in Orange County last month is making great progress! This bird was spotted with a terrible bill fracture at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine a few weeks ago. On top of the bill fracture, the poor bird had several neck wounds and a double triple hook fishing lure in his foot.

Injured American White Pelican was spotted first in Irvine, CA. Photo by Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson

The injured bird was originally spotted at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, CA by members of the local Sea and Sage Audubon Society. Even with its severe injuries, the Pelican was flighted and evaded capture.

Just before Thanksgiving the pelican was spotted in the driveway of a home in Newport Beach. After Newport Beach Police was contacted, Animal Control Officer Nick Ott responded and was able to capture the frightened bird. It was brought to Wetlands and Wildlife in Huntington Beach and then transferred to our Los Angeles Wildlife Center.

We found the bird to be anemic and emaciated, and he had problems maintaining his body temperature. His lower bill fracture was causing his mouth to not fit together correctly, and was at high risk of becoming a compound fracture any minute, which would have lowered his chances of successful treatment dramatically. A characteristic fish hook hole in the tip of his lower bill pointed a finger at the cause of the injury. Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian, said “The poor bird probably hooked his mouth trying to get the double treble hook out of his foot, and broke his bill while ripping the hook out of his mouth.”

Juvenile pelican mandibles are very flexible soft bone, which complicates pinning surgery. This bird’s mandible was fractured not only across the mandible but also was split longitudinally, making the whole front half of the left side very wiggly and unstable. Our vet is hoping the fixator style she chose does the trick.

We are happy to report that after a few weeks of intensive care and surgery, he has become much stronger and is able to live in an outdoor aviary. He’s put on more than a kilogram of weight and has a seemingly-bottomless appetite for what’s on the menu!

Intake: American White Pelican being examined by International Bird Rescue staff Julie Skoglund and Kylie Clatterbuck. Note bruising and crease at the fractured area of the lower jaw.

American White Pelicans, as you can see from the photos, are very large birds. Their wingspan can easily reach 8-10 feet. They are one of the heaviest flying birds in the world, reaching an average weight of 11 to 20 pounds.

Very loooong body: This bird is so long we needed an extension on the surgery table while working on his mouth. Center Manager Kylie Clatterbuck is keeping the pelican comfortably anesthetized right before his bill was pinned.

We would like to thank Sea and Sage Audubon Society, the Newport Beach Animal Control and our colleagues at Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center of Huntington Beach for their heroic efforts. We have high hopes things will continue to go well for this bird, and will let our colleagues know when a release is planned, to give this lucky bird a proper sendoff.

The fix: Top view, left, of the mandible after the 1st half of the external fixator was applied. Note the ugly wound at the tip of the bill where the fish hook dug a gouge. Right, Mandible radiograph after pins and external fixator were placed.

November 28, 2017

DOUBLE Your Love For Birds On This #GivingTuesday

Thanks to a generous donor, your donation is DOUBLED today on this #GivingTuesday! Help us reach our goal of raising $40,000 for our work treating thousands of aquatic birds each year.

Learn more about what we do by viewing Bird Rescue’s Mission video below:

 

November 7, 2017

Cosco Busan Oil Spill: 10th Anniversary of Disaster on San Francisco Bay

This month is the somber 10-year anniversary of one of the worst environmental disasters to befall the San Francisco Bay. On November 7, 2007, an oil spill near the Bay Bridge left thousands of oiled birds dead and dying.

More than 50,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel oil leaked into the bay on that day. Carried by the bay’s turbulent tidal currents, the oily mess coated beaches and shorelines throughout the Bay, past the Golden Gate Bridge, onto Marin County beaches. Within days we and our partners treated over 1,000 birds at our SF Bay–Delta wildlife center. Read report from 2007

The oil spill occurred when the Cosco Busan container ship collided with the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The collision dumped 54,000 gallons of oil called “bunker fuel” into the Bay. The spill oiled 70-miles of Bay Area shoreline. During the aftermath of the spill, at least 3,000 live and dead birds were collected. Some biologists speculate that the number of affected birds was even greater, with reports that up to 3x as many birds may have been oiled and then succumbed to death outside the bay. This event occurred during a busy migration time for birds moving through the area.

The majority of affected seabirds included: Surf Scoters, Clark’s and Western Grebes, and Eared and Horned Grebes.

All oil spills are extremely toxic to marine life but especially bunker fuel spills. The thick oil causes the natural insulation in the bird’s feathers to break down, resulting in the bird’s inability to thermoregulate, which can lead to hypothermia and even death. For birds that float and feed through a spill, it’s a death sentence if not rescued quickly. In addition to having problems thermoregulating, once oiled, the birds will spend most of their time trying to preen the oil out of their feathers and thus ingest the oil. Weakened, they will often beach themselves and fall prey to predators or die from oil toxicity. See: How Oil Affects Birds

Thousands of Bay Area citizens moved to volunteer and gave time. With this contribution hundreds of birds were rehabilitated and released.

While we are fortunate to have not had a large spill in the Bay Area since 2007, we remain vigilant and prepared to respond to such an event at a moment’s notice.

Other media reports

Cosco Busan oil spill – 10 years later (Golden Gate Audubon)

Richardson Bay islands’ revival following Cosco Busan Spill (Marin IJ)

Ten years after the Cosco Busan oil spill: Preparedness and response improved; $30M in environmental restoration ongoing (Cosco Busan Trustee Council)

Oiled Ring-billed Gull. Photo: Glen Tepke

Washing an Eared Grebe during the Cosco Busan Oil Spill response. Photo by Russ Curtis/International Bird Rescue

 

More than a 1,000 oiled birds, including a pool full of Scoters, were treated at the San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center. Photo by Russ Curtis/International Bird Rescue

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

 

August 26, 2017

Rehabilitated Brown Pelican ‘E17’ Spotted in Mexico with Chicks

We’ve got some exciting news to share!

One of the blue-banded Brown Pelicans we released seven years ago was spotted with nestlings in Mexico. This is the first confirmed sighting of one of International Bird Rescue’s rehabilitated pelicans on a nest with offspring. It inspires us with hope and underscores our belief that wildlife rehabilitation efforts can make a difference, especially with a species that was recently delisted from the endangered species list.

“This sighting of E17 is confirmation of our work,” said JD Bergeron, Executive Director. “To see a former patient rejoining the breeding population is an encouraging sign of the success of our efforts, and a reminder of the importance of wildlife rehabilitation.”

Though the organization has been banding birds in collaboration with the USGS Bird Banding Lab for most of its 46 years, it only started using these more visible blue bands in 2009, the same year Brown Pelicans were removed from the Federal Endangered Species List. The blue bands have drastically increased the ability to track rehabilitation success with sightings demonstrating normal foraging, migration and now breeding post-release into the wild. To date more than 1,200 pelicans have been banded with these blue bands.

Brown Pelican ‘E17’ was rehabilitated and banded at Bird Rescues Los Angeles Wildlife Center. Julie Skoglund, Operations Manager, recounts that this pelican in particular was an unusual case in which the flight feathers that support the bird’s ability to fly had been clipped short. The pelican was released in October 2010.

The photo was captured off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, on San Jeronimo Island by Emmanuel Miramontes, a biologist working with a Mexican nonprofit organization GECI A.C. (Group of Ecology and Conservation of Islands). San Jeronimo is more than 300 miles from E17’s release point in San Pedro, CA.

“It’s doubly interesting because this bird is a male, and what Emmanuel has captured is actually a photo of a doting dad,” Bergeron added.

In a world where bad news abounds, we’re happy to report this inspiring story.

Photo courtesy Emmanuel Miramontes, GECI A.C