Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Patient of the Week

September 17, 2017

Patient of the Week: White-tailed Kite

Rare patient: A White-tailed Kite in care at our SF Bay-Delta Center.

Because of our specialization with water birds, it’s not often that we get to work with or talk about non-aquatic birds, such as this gorgeous, juvenile White-tailed Kite. You may remember three oiled Prairie Falcon chicks that we featured last summer. While we specialize in aquatic bird species, we work with any species that is in need to the best of our abilities.

This kite came to our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center in need of food, water, and warmth after being found crouching near a chicken coop at a private residence in Vallejo, California. The home owner brought the bird to our clinic and we quickly worked to stabilize it, providing the needed warmth and fluids and force-feeding it since it was not ready to feed on its own. We cared for the bird for a couple of days until it was stabilized, and then transferred it to our colleagues at Lindsay Wildlife Museum where it could receive specialized long-term care from their raptor specialists.

White-tailed Kites are medium-sized raptors that can be found in open grasslands and savannas. A good way to spot them in the wild is their characteristic hunting style of hovering over the ground in search of small mammals! They have a bright white tail, grey back and wings, and a white face. Click the photo above to see footage of a kite hunting and feasting.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it is unknown whether these soaring beauties are nomadic, migratory, or both. They can be found roosting communally in the off-season.

Though White-tailed Kites are not currently threatened, all raptor species face the challenge of contamination from our environment. Sitting at the top of the food chain, raptors are heavily affected by the toxins that get into their diets. When their prey (small mammals, birds, etc.) are exposed to toxins, these toxins can get more concentrated in the bird of prey when they ingest the animal.

While we love our water birds at Bird Rescue, we’re always happy to celebrate all birds, and this White-tailed Kite is a true beauty. For more information on White-tailed Kites, go here.

Photos by Senior Rehabilitation Technician Jennifer Linander

September 11, 2017

Patient of the Week: Virginia Rail

You may have heard of a dance called the Virginia Reel, but have you ever hard of a bird called a Virginia Rail?

Rails are a diverse family of mostly aquatic birds, not unlike swamp chickens. Most members of this group of birds are very adept at hiding and prefer to inhabit dense vegetation. They are more often heard than seen. Many of this family have distinct calls that are surprisingly loud in relation to their small bodies.

We are currently treating Virginia Rail patients at both our Northern and Southern California wildlife centers. Virginia Rails are very small, with a distinctive orange beak. They are very delicate and can fall victim to house cats, car collisions, and many other human-caused hazards. Fortunately, we successfully released one just last week from our Los Angeles wildlife center.

To hear the voice of the Virgina Rail, click the photo to the right. You can also learn more about Virginia Rails at Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Virginia_Rail/id

Photos by volunteer Katrina Plummer

 

September 2, 2017

Patient of the Week: American White Pelican


Pelicans and stray fishing tackle sure don’t mix. This American White Pelican came into our care with nasty fishing line entanglement injuries. The bird was transferred to us from our friends at WildCare in July with a huge abscess on one wing (plus maggots, ewww, now thankfully gone) and some serious damage to a leg that we are treating.

We are happy to report that after several surgeries for wound treatment and a toe amputation the bird is healing like a champ. Between extra helpings of fish and mandatory hydrotherapy for his leg, the White Peli is flying from perch to perch in the 100-foot aviary at our San Francisco Bay-Delta Center in Fairfield. We have hopes he will be released back to the wild soon!

White Pelicans have 9-foot wingspans and are some of the largest birds in North America. They are larger than Brown Pelicans and feed differently than their cousins, preferring not to dive into water. Instead, they forage cooperatively in inland bodies of water by herding fish toward shallower water together, then scooping them up with their huge bills. Learn more at Audubon: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/american-white-pelican

Photos by staffers Cheryl Reynolds and Rebecca Duerr

August 15, 2017

Patients of the Week: Cackling Geese

This week we’re sharing a story of human accountability and compassion, all to save two young Cackling Geese!

Like a good number of migratory birds, these goslings were born in the tundra on the North Slope of Alaska. They managed to find their way into an enclosed pit on the oil fields there, but were quickly rescued by workers trained by Bird Rescue to stabilize wildlife. The company flew them to us immediately and continues to support their care financially.

International Bird Rescue provides regular training for workers in the oil fields so they can be first responders in case wildlife wander into harm’s way. Our Alaska Wildlife Response Center is based in Anchorage and is funded by partners to be ever-ready in the case of a spill. We also handle small-scale contamination of a few birds at a time. Just last week, we cared for a Lapland Longspur which was contaminated with industrial lubricant. Without intervention, contaminated birds become hypothermic and die, or lose mobility and fall victim to predators. Having trained first responders in these areas where animals and humans are in close proximity greatly enhances chances for survival. This is only possible when the companies involved are committed to doing the right thing. Until the day when we can move beyond dependence on fossil fuels, we are proud to have responsible partners.

These Cackling Geese have been stablized and washed by our experienced team. Shown in the photo to the right is Michelle Bellizzi, Response Services Manager, who has been working for Bird Rescue for 17 years and who is one of our most tireless teammates when the birds’ needs are not yet met. The expression on her face says it all!

The birds are clean and should be able to return to the wild in the coming weeks to rejoin other Cackling Geese during migration.

Yum…Cackling Goose salad!

Behold the yummy greens, waterfowl feed, and mealworms that make a nutritious meal for our three goslings.

Usually, we need to raise funds to cover the costs for caring for birds, but our partners in Alaska are paying the full bill for these birds that were contaminated on their premises. We do however need to pay for additional updates to our facility, and we could use your support! To donate to our Alaska facility readiness, please click here and indicate “Alaska” in the donation comments. Thank you!

Photo credits: Barbara Callahan, International Bird Rescue

 

August 6, 2017

Photo of the Week: “Tugboat” Baby Common Murre

A Facebook followers recently wrote in to ask about the little bird shaped “like a tugboat” on our San Francisco Bay BirdCam. The photo above shows a baby Common Murre that was found in a paper bag at the community center near Stinson Beach.

“Tugboat” weighed only 90 grams on July 25th when he was transferred by our friends at WildCare to Bird Rescue’s SF Bay Wildlife Center. He has a fractured humerus, likely sustained when he leapt from his nest on a cliff though he is quite small to have made this big leap.

Common Murres are cliff nesters and the babies take a leap into the ocean with their dad when it’s time to head for safer waters. Sometimes called “Pacific Penguins” for their resemblance to that family of birds, murres are in reality more closely related to gulls and terns.

This species has had a rough time in the past few years, including a mass stranding and starvation event in the fall of 2015 which brought more than 500 of them to our center. It is thought that ocean warming and climate change are causing traditional food sources to be less available, leaving molting adults and chicks especially vulnerable since they cannot dive as deep or relocate to better feeding grounds.

Tugboat had his daily exam a few days ago and he has more than doubled in weight in just ten days! Murres in care will eat their body weight of fish in a sitting, so this little fellow will eat 200 grams of capelin (4-5 fish) in a day. We especially enjoy these birds as patients because adults will readily take on a surrogate chick, as shown in the photo on the right.

Photo credits: Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue

 

July 15, 2017

Photo of the Week: Baby Green Herons

Just when we thought baby season was starting to slow down, these three orphaned Green Heron chicks came into care this week because of human kindness. After the mother heron was struck by a car near Glendale, CA, a Good Samaritan scooped up the brood and delivered them to our Los Angeles wildlife center.

The siblings are self-feeding, which is a sign they are doing well in care. Over the course of 25 days, they will fledge (learn to fly) and they will be released to the wild. Check out this video of this energetic threesome.

To spot a Green Heron in the wild, visit a coastal or inland wetland and carefully scan the banks looking for a small, hunchbacked bird with a long, straight bill. They are quite shy and will fly away if approached too closely. One fascinating fact: Green Herons are a species that are known to use tools. During feeding, they are known to drop small items on the water’s surface to entice small fish, making them true fisher-birds! You can see this behavior on YouTube.

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Photo by staffer Kylie Clatterbuck

 

July 1, 2017

Photo of the Week: Oiled Great Egret is clean again


This week, a contaminated Great Egret arrived at our Los Angeles wildlife center. Rescued in Huntington Beach, CA, it was covered over 100% of its body with an unidentified contaminant resembling lubricant. These birds are usually a pure white, but this egret came into care with matted yellow feathers (upper left photo).

Thanks to our rehabilitation team, the bird was stabilized with fluids and rest. Then it was washed using our 46 years of time-tested methods and DAWN dishwashing liquid.

We’re happy to report that this cleaned bird (upper right photo) is healthy and eating well. It will be returned the wild as soon as it puts on some weight and proves to have no infections.

Great Egrets are large birds – about twice the size of a Snowy Egret – and can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet. Learn more from our friends at Cornell Lab or Ornithology: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Egret/id

Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck and Devin Hanson

 

June 26, 2017

Photo of the Week: Injured Heron Nestling from Oakland Emergency

Thanks to fast action by bird lovers in Oakland, CA, a dozen injured and scared herons and egrets are safely in care this week at our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center.

Last Monday in a well-known Oakland rookery, a ficus tree infected by dry rot split in two and spilled wild birds near a busy downtown intersection. Fortunately bird heroes from a number of different agencies–including Golden Gate Audubon Society, the Oakland Zoo, Oakland Animal Control and the Oakland Police Department–sprung into action, scooping up the dazed and injured nesting birds. While some of the birds did not survive the fall, 14 birds were sent immediately to our wildlife center.

After transport to our rehabilitation center, the birds were treated, given needed food, medication and water, and a couple of them underwent surgery to repair broken bones, including the juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron shown above and in the x-ray.

Thanks to local media reports, attention was drawn to these unfortunate nesting birds and the public has graciously donated more than $1,000 to care for these birds. At $18-50 per bird per day, that gets us off to a good start, but there’s still more need to fill.

You can adopt a heron or egret today

Read more in the East Bay Times

Photos by staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr

 

 

May 9, 2017

Patient of the Week: Black-crowned Night-Heron

Oh, how this baby has grown! When this Black-crowned Night-Heron came to us after being rescued from a downtown Oakland rookery in mid-April it weighed just 45 grams (shown at right) and looked like it might not make it another day.

Black-crowned Night-Heron chick arrived at 45 grams and looked like it might not make it another day. It now weighs more than 500 grams (top). Photos by Cheryl Reynolds-International Bird Rescue

Thanks to a strong will to live, and the great care of our team at the San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center, this heron has thrived and now weighs more than 500 grams (see above).

More than 800 herons and egrets pass through our clinic doors each year, and the egrets have only just begun arriving! The average baby heron spends 40 days in care and runs up a $600 bill. Injured birds need more time and resources and will cost us more than $1,800. No public funds are provided to support these babies and we rely upon partners like YOU to help us pay their bills. They are a hungry bunch and your donation makes it possible to give them the best care.

Watch a video of a young Cattle Egret learning to feed.

Read more about how we team up with the Oakland Zoo and Golden Gate Audubon Society to save wild baby herons. You can also learn more about Black-crowned Night-Herons on the Audubon website.


 

Bird Rescue Is Hiring!

Ever dream of putting your fundraising or marketing skills to work for wildlife? Well, you’re in luck, Bird Rescue is hiring!

Come help become part of a development and communications team that will encourage others to support the important work we do everyday with seabirds and other aquatic birds.

Learn more

 

May 1, 2017

Patients of the Week: Hooded Mergansers

Behold the four stooges! These adorable little troublemakers arrived at our San Francisco Bay wildlife center this week. They are diving ducks called Hooded Mergansers (affectionately known as “Hoodies”). As cavity nesters, the babies instinctually look upward and have already caused shenanigans at the center, having literally leaped up at the sheet covering their pen until they found a weak spot and escaped. We found them running around the floor of our baby unit after lunch this week!

These babies are also unusual in that they will not eat thawed fish, preferring food that is still moving. This means we have to buy minnows every few days from local pet stores to keep up with their appetites! Last time we raised ducklings like this, it cost us more than $3,200 just for fish! Please make a donation of $25 or more to support our Hooded Merganser food fund and we’ll send you a special link to a video of them exploring their enclosure and looking for an escape!! Please write “Hoodie” in the comments section so we know where to direct the funds.

Check them out on the BirdCam, too!

You can see what they will look like as adults, and learn lots more about this type of diving duck from our friends at Audubon: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/hooded-merganser.

Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

 

March 7, 2017

Patient of the Week: Black-legged Kittiwake

March is Gull Month at Bird Rescue! This relative of the gull family is a Black-legged Kittiwake, and he is our patient of the week. Normally found in far northern climate regions – especially in Alaska, there have been numerous sightings this season of these gull relatives along the Pacific Coast.

The bird in this photo was found on a Half Moon Bay beach, unable to stand. The kittiwake was brought to our good friends at Peninsula Humane Society where he was given pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and supportive care.

The bird was able to stand by the time he was transferred to our San Francisco Bay Center, but was still limping on its left leg. Spending time floating in a pool allowed him to take weight off the injured leg but still to get exercise. He was successfully released on March 6, 2017 at Fort Baker in Sausalito, CA.

Kittiwakes breed in large cliff colonies and are known for the very distinctive and shrill “kittee-wa-aaake, kitte-wa-aaake” call. Learn more about this beautiful species on Cornell’s All About Birds site.

 

February 28, 2017

Patient of the Week: Bufflehead

bufflehead

This week’s patient of the week features a drake (male) Bufflehead. From a distance, these small ducks look black and white in coloring. On closer inspection, the head feathers show off a rich iridescent purple-green.

The Bufflehead was transferred to our Los Angeles Wildlife Center from the California Wildlife Center. He was found in a rural subdivision in Calabasas, CA, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley. He had a wound on the tip of his bill and some toe wounds from crash-landing.

Good news! After just a week in care, the Bufflehead was released back to the wild.

If you want to go find yourself a Bufflehead in the wild, Audubon has some tips.

Photo by Katrina Plummer

 

February 20, 2017

Lucky Duck In Accidental Netting

merganser-caught-netting-500px

Hooded Merganser flew into netting surrounding the golf course at Pt. Hueneme Navy Base.

This handsome, young Hooded Merganser was caught in a net – but not in the usual way. It was found earlier this month in the netting surrounding the golf course at Pt. Hueneme Navy Base in Oxnard, CA. Using a cherry picker, a local biologist tried to extricate the bird, but was unable to get to him from the right side of the net. The young bird ended up dislodging himself and falling to the ground, but fortunately was relatively unharmed.

Thanks to our friends at Santa Barbara Wildlife Network for stabilizing the merganser before it was transported to our Los Angeles Wildlife Center in San Pedro. It had a luxated (dislocated) toe tip and recuperating in one of our pelagic pools.

Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks and the smallest of three merganser species. Named for their elegant head crests, these little ducks are found in small ponds and along rivers hunting for fish, crayfish, and more. Read more on the Audubon site

Hooded Merganser photo by Katrina Plummer

 

January 26, 2017

Going The Extra For Mile For A Scoter

Female Surf Scoter is recuperating in the pelagic pool at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Female Surf Scoter is recuperating in the pelagic pool at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Every week we get injured or sick birds delivered to us by the concerned public. This week we want to highlight one such rescue – someone who went above and beyond to deliver a sick Scoter to our San Francisco Bay Center.

A little attitude the first day of care. A good sign that this scoter is on road to recovery. Photo by Jennifer Linander

A little attitude during first day of care is a good sign that this scoter is on road to recovery. Photo by Jennifer Linander

Emily Foden drove more than four hours this week from the town of Westport located on the storm battered coast of Mendocino County. Her cargo? A female Surf Scoter.

Emily’s friend found the bird January 20th on Rockport Beach in need of care. Knowing that Emily worked with birds (owls) she asked for help. Emily noticed the Scoter was very cold, so she warmed her up and offered her some fluids. Turning to the internet Emily then did some research to find the best place for care. The good folks at Sonoma Wildlife in Petaluma referred her to us. It took her over 4 hours to bring the Scoter to Fairfield.

When the Scoter arrived senior rehab tech, Jennifer Linander, opened the box she was huffing, but only little thin and dehydrated. As Jennifer noted the bird was BAR for “Bright, Alert and Responsive.”

Emily said she just “wanted her to have the best chance” for survival. For going the extra mile we want to say thanks to Emily and the hundreds of other folks that go long distances in effort to help save our treasured wildlife.

Also: See the Scoter on our live BirdCam: https://www.bird-rescue.org/birdcams/live-san-francisco-bay-center.aspx

 

November 24, 2016

Wishing You A Very Happy Thanksgiving!


From this Leach’s Storm-Petrel and all of the staff and volunteers of Bird Rescue, we wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

We are most thankful for your continuous support of our mission to mitigate human impact on aquatic birds for the last 45 years. This work would be impossible without you. Our hands, your help, makes all the difference in caring for birds like this tiny storm-petrel.

Although Leach’s Storm-Petrels usually fly at night, if you could see them, you’d recognize them by their distinctive zigzagging flight. They are colonial nesters that build their homes of dry grasses and stems and can be found burrowed in a field or among rocks. (Author, Stokes) Learn more about the Leach’s Storm-Petrel from our friends at Audubon by clicking here.

Want to help give a bird a second chance? Then mark your calendar for #GivingTuesday next week and remind your friends about us by forwarding this email! Thanks for your continued support!

Photo by Cheryl Reynolds