International Bird Rescue is pleased to welcome Dr. Ian Robinson, a wildlife veterinarian and experienced response professional, to its Board of Directors.
Dr. Robinson received his veterinary degree from the University of Bristol, UK, in 1975 and the diploma of Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (UK) in 2006. After a spell in general practice he joined the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in 1990, to establish the Norfolk Wildlife Hospital, which treated over 6,000 wildlife patients annually.
In 2003 he joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), moving to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In 2006 Dr. Robinson rose to the position of Vice President for Animal Welfare and Conservation before retiring in 2016. As part of his involvement in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation, Dr. Robinson has attended many oil spills, wildlife emergencies and disaster responses globally.
Bird Rescue’s ten-member board is integral in supporting the mission “to inspire people to act toward balance with the natural world by rescuing waterbirds in crisis”, providing fiduciary oversight, and overall support to all aspects of the organization’s growth and impact.
This story spans eight years and crosses international borders – all wrapped up in the journey of International Bird Rescue’s most famous former patient and parent, a California Brown Pelican banded E17 after his rehabilitation in 2010 at our Los Angeles center.
E17 created quite a buzz when he was spotted for the third time last month in Northern California during the semi-annual Brown Pelican count off of the Alameda Reserve Breakwater Island, a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Audubon California.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this bird’s story, it began when he was in care with us for 259 days after his flight feathers had been clipped short, bringing likely suspicions of foul play by humans. To get more on his back story see this blog post.
Since his release, E17’s story has become even more compelling! As you can see in the timeline below, it is apparent that he is an international traveler, flying between San Jeronimo Island in Mexico, Northern California and likely many points in between. Most notably, he surprised and delighted the rehabilitation community in 2017 when he was photographed fathering two chicks on San Jeronimo Island!
Though E17’s rehabilitation story illustrates great success, many pelicans and other seabirds face agonizing injuries and death from cruelty at the hands of humans. Please donate today to help us continue to care for the many patients International Bird Rescue receives every year suffering from pointless cruelty, like E17.
A warm thank you to the 225+ folks who attended our Open House at the San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center on October 20th! We had a great time opening our doors to get to know you, and giving you an exclusive behind the scenes look at how we rehabilitate injured, orphaned, and sick waterbirds.
We heard you when you said that choosing which of the family-friendly fun and educational activities to do first was a challenge! Our once-hourly education talks focusing on wildlife rehabilitation, oiled wildlife response and research advancements were all very well attended and you had many inquisitive and challenging questions for us! You may have learned at our interactive information tables about how oil can be washed from feathers, and about how ocean debris is affecting the health of many seabirds.
Our silent auction, with all proceeds benefiting the birds, might have had you taking home a favorite piece of art or a gift certificate….or maybe you took home a bag full of sweets and treats from our baked goods table! Any way you slice it, YOU are a part of the Bird Rescue community joining our mission: acting toward balance with the natural world by rescuing waterbirds in crisis. We had so much fun and hope to see you again next year!
A new education center with a focus on waterbirds is poised for approval in Northern California. The Pacific Flyway Center will be built in Fairfield, CA just a short trip from International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center.
Ducks fly over Suisun Marsh, the site of the proposed Pacific Flyway Center.
The Pacific Flyway Fund will take 560 acres of wetlands and “develop, restore and enhance the site as an open space land preserve and wildlife habitat conservation area, with an interpretive nature and educational facility.” The site is near Highways 680 and 80 in Solano County.
Bird Rescue supports this very important educational facility that will introduce the public to the wonders of the Flyway and the Suisun Marsh. Construction may begin as early as spring 2019.
Developers are currently working with the city of Fairfield to finish the project’s environmental review, use permit, and design review, which will lead to the first phase of construction, the outdoor marsh walk. Once complete, the outdoor park will be the facility’s main attraction, where visitors come face-to-face with waterfowl and other wetland birds.
The Pacific Flyway Center is the vision of Ken Hofmann. Before Hoffman died in April of 2018, he made a significant commitment of funds and energy to acquire the property, and allow for the planning, design, and permitting of the center over the next three years through the Pacific Flyway Fund.
Additional funding will be provided by public, private, and matching dollars. The project also has strong partnerships with Ducks Unlimited, California Waterfowl Association, the National Audubon Society, the University of California, Davis, and the Suisun Resource Conservation Board.
Coastal Cleanup Day 2018 Team. Photo by Shannon Ross
Here at International Bird Rescue, we dream of a world in which people take action every day to protect the home of wildlife and ourselves. We were thrilled to participate in two trash cleanups this past quarter, one in the San Francisco Bay Area and one in Los Angeles. Bird Rescue looks forward to helping make the beach a safer place for the public, wildlife and especially seabirds. Each year Bird Rescue’s wildlife centers treat hundreds of injured patients that have ingested or become entangled in fishing tackle and trash.
Earlier in the summer, we joined by friends and partners from Golden Gate Audubon, East Bay Regional Park District, City of Oakland, and Lake Merritt Institute for a “Day of Action” honoring the anniversary of our 40-year partnership with Dawn® dishwashing liquid as a way to encourage taking action every day to protect and save wildlife. In July, a team of a dozen volunteers spent the afternoon cleaning up around Lake Merritt. We were able to clean up a significant number of cigarettes, plastic wrappers, and pieces of glass, all of which are quite harmful if ingested by wildlife.
If you’re looking for more tips on how you can take action every day, check out our 2019 calendar! We’ve included eco-friendly suggestions for each month to inspire us all.
We are incredibly thankful for the many volunteers who joined us at these cleanups and all of you who take action in your own life to help protect our shared home.
Lake Merritt Trash Cleanup in Oakland, CA. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds
September 15th Beach Trash Cleanup Focuses on Debris That Harm and Kill Seabirds
What: Coastal Cleanup Day in San Pedro
Where: White Point/Royal Palms Beach, 1799 West Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro 90731. (Map)
When: Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 9 AM to Noon
International Bird Rescue is joining local community groups, including the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, to help remove beach trash at the 2018 Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15.
Volunteers will pick up refuse along the White Point/Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro. This is one of 50 beach cleanup sites throughout Los Angeles County, and more information about this state-wide event is located here: https://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/ccd.html
Bird Rescue looks forward to helping make the beach a safer place for the public, wildlife and especially seabirds. Each year the Bird Rescue’s wildlife center treats hundreds of injured patients that have ingested or become entangled in fishing tackle and trash.
This young Common Murre, named “Mara” has put on much needed weight. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue
Why how she’s grown!
Mara the murre has tripled in weight since she was rescued in Marin County in late July. She arrived into care hungry and anemic and weighing only 240 grams. Her latest weight: 720 grams.
This Common Murre was named for one of our volunteers who was walking her dogs on the beach and spotted the very small bird bobbing in the surf. Thinking fast, the rescuer asked a passerby to secure her dogs and then scooped up the seabird. Afterward she called Marin Animal Control and the bird was transferred to our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center in Fairfield, California..
The young seabird quickly became the bird ambassador for a seabird crisis that has been hitting the Northern California coast. Since mid-July, over 100 murres (rhymes with “furs”) have been admitted into intensive care. Many were starving, anemic and some were contaminated with oil.
After leaving the nest, Baby murres like Mara learn to forage with their fathers. Without parental guidance, and if left alone in the wild, they would slowly starve to death.
You can help birds like Mara by donating to our E-Murre-gency fund to help pay the extraordinary costs associated with this seabird stranding event. Donate now
We suspect the surge in starving seabirds that we’ve seen at our California centers is part of a larger environmental problem. From warming oceans to depleted fish stocks, to large-scale seabird die-offs in Alaska, waterbirds are responding to their environments and the results are alarming. To see a list of news articles covering the current #emurregency at International Bird Rescue, see below.
Mara is spending time with a rescued adult murre who is acting as a surrogate parent during her recovery. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue
Thanks to people like you, Mara is slowly recovering from starvation. We’re hand-feeding her every day, filling in for the role her father would have played. She’s also swimming with a rescued adult murre who is acting as a surrogate parent during her recovery. We continue to monitor her progress daily, but it will be many weeks before Mara is strong enough to be released. Continued care for birds like Mara is expensive which is why we still need your help.
Thanks to generous donations made by many individuals and our matching donor, we are almost halfway to our $100,000 goal. As we provide intensive care for an unprecedented number of waterbirds like Mara, the E-murre-gency continues to unfold.
We need to raise $100,000 to cover the cost of this crisis and reach our goal. Please donate today by visiting our Giving Grid campaign or donate directly through our website, and share this message with your friends. All donations made today will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling your impact.
For all those who have already given, thank you for your support – we couldn’t do this work without you. We dream of a world in which every person, every day, takes action to protect the natural home of wildlife and ourselves. Thank you for continuing to help us make that vision a reality.
Young murres like Mara have been flooding our Northern California wildlife center for the past two months. Little Mara was named after her quick-thinking rescuer who was taking a morning walk on the beach and spotted something peculiar bobbing in the water – it looked like a tiny penguin. Springing into action, she found a passerby to hold her dogs while she rescued the confused and weak baby murre. Like the scores of young murre chicks in our care, Mara was found healthy, yet abandoned. This raises the question – what happened to her parents? Did her parents die from environmental causes? Baby murres like Mara learn to forage from their fathers. Without that guidance if left alone in the wild, they would slowly starve to death.
We have seen an alarming uptick in Common Murres coming into our center. Many were starving, and some were contaminated with oil. Since mid-July, over 100 murres have been admitted into intensive care at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center in Fairfield, California.
We Need Your Help!
Bird Rescue needs to raise $100,000 by August 31st to help with the unexpected burden of caring for many additional birds beyond our budget. Thanks to an anonymous donor, for a limited time your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. Take action and donate now to save twice as many injured or orphaned birds, like Mara!
We dream of a world in which every person, every day takes action to protect the natural home of wildlife and ourselves. Thank you for helping us make that vision a reality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
In addition to responding to oil spills around the world, International Bird Rescue staff work to care for birds impacted by lesser known threats like natural oil seeps under the ocean, algal blooms, marine debris, and extreme weather. We use this blog to share stories from the field and from the two California-based bird rescue centers we manage. We hope you enjoy this window into our world—we are truly passionate about caring for birds, and know that our community shares this passion. We could not do this important work without your ongoing support!