Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Patient of the Week

December 17, 2014

Patients of the week: the view from Pool B

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Ruddy-DuckBuffleheadThis week’s featured patients are cohabiting outdoor Pool B of International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center. All belong to the family Anatidae, which comprises ducks, swans and geese.

The birds you see here are susceptible to crash-landings in urban areas and are often found stranded in cities following major storms — the variety of which we’ve experienced in California during recent weeks.

The female Ruddy Duck in the foreground belongs to the genus Oxyura, composed of stiff-tailed ducks.

Like grebes, these birds have legs placed far back on their bodies — an evolutionary feature that aids in diving propulsion as the birds hunt for underwater prey, but renders them largely immobile and helpless on land.

Both the two female Buffleheads and female Common Goldeneye belong to the genus Bucephala of sea ducks. They nest in tree cavities and will forage underwater for crustaceans and aquatic insects.  COGO

To date, our San Francisco Bay center located in Fairfield, CA, has cared for 3,154 birds in 2014 — a 15% increase over last year with two weeks still to go before 2014 ends. Your contribution makes this care possible.

For another look at our outdoor patients, visit our BirdCam for a live look at our grebes in Pool F.

 

December 6, 2014

Patient of the week: Bonaparte’s Gull

"Bonaparte's Gull in care at SF Bay Center"
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

This week’s featured patient is a Bonaparte’s Gull, the only gull species known to nest in trees. It’s named after a historic figure, though not the one you’re thinking of: Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a 19th century French biologist and ornithologist who made significant contributions to American ornithology, is the bird’s namesake.

(There is, however, a bird that bear’s Napoleon Bonaparte’s name: the Napoleon Weaver, or Yellow-crowned Bishop.)

Shown here during an exam at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center, this Bonaparte’s Gull was found BOGUat a winery in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, about 70 miles from us. The patient was originally brought to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue prior to transfer to International Bird Rescue, which cares for many gull species, including California Gulls, Heermann’s Gulls and Mew Gulls.

The bird has a laceration across its hip as well as a foot wound. However, we’ve seen that the gull is eating very well and can fly.

Currently we’re housing the bird in an indoor enclosure. We’ll keep you posted on the recovery process!

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Bonaparte’s Gull during breeding season, photo by Brian Hoff/Flickr CC

November 24, 2014

Patient of the week: A wayward Brown Booby

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Photos by Kelly Berry

Last week, our Los Angeles wildlife center received a Brown Booby — via Alaska Airlines. Let us explain …BRBO

Over the past year or so, we’ve seen several cases of Blue-footed and Brown Boobies traveling far beyond their usual tropical and subtropical ranges. An “invasion” of Blue-footed Boobies occurred in Southern California last fall, while over the holidays last year, a Brown Booby found beached in Northern California was transferred to our San Francisco Bay center from our friends at WildCare in Marin County.

This latest Brown Booby came to us from Alaska, nearly 3,000 miles from the species’ northern range in the Gulf of California.

According to SitkaNature.org, the animal was found on a fishing boat near Kruzof Island, and was transported to the Alaska Raptor Center. There, wildlife rehabilitators assessed the animal and found the booby had a wound on its back in addition to being cold and thin.

We don’t know why this bird flew so far north, though atypical weather patterns have certainly been documented in recent months. SitkaNature.org points to unusual warming patterns in several areas of the North Pacific, for example. photo 2(1)-XL

Two challenges were evident here: One, to get the bird healthy again, and two, to get it as close to a Brown Booby’s normal range as possible. In the case of the Northern California booby we treated last year, the patient was transported down to our Los Angeles center, much closer to this plunge-feeding bird’s range.

With the help of Alaska Airlines, our patient of the week was flown in an animal crate south to LAX, where our team picked it up and brought it to International Bird Rescue’s LA center, located about 20 miles away.

Center Manager Kelly Berry writes:

After loading her in the car, I peaked into the crate to find her actively preening. Once she arrived at the center, she received a full exam and began self-feeding right away.

We did find she is favoring her right leg. [X-rays] revealed nothing significant, so we are giving her warm water pool therapy to see if it helps her.

We’ll keep you posted on this remarkable patient! Many thanks to Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Raptor Center.

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October 22, 2014

Patient of the week: Common Poorwill

"Common Poorwill # 14-2978 in care @SF Bay Center"
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

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This eccentric new patient is a Common Poorwill, a species of nightjar and one of the few birds in the world known to undergo a hibernation-like state called torpor. They are nocturnal and forage through the night sky for moths and other insects.

This patient was recently transported to our San Francisco Bay center by Vallejo Animal Control, having been found on nearby Mare Island.

There are no visible injuries, but the bird is emaciated and was hypothermic upon intake. (Click on the player to the right to hear this bird.)

We gave this patient plenty of supportive care before transferring the poorwill to our friends and wildlife partners at Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Thanks, Lindsay!

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Common Poorwill, Arizona, photo by Dominic Sherony/Wikimedia Commons

October 13, 2014

Patient of the week: Long-billed Dowitcher

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Photo by Isabel Luevano

LBDWIf you’re ever on the beach in California, chances are it won’t be too difficult to spot a Long-billed Dowitcher busy at work, searching for prey using its distinctive long bill to probe wet sand and sediment in a “sewing machine” motion.

This Long-billed Dowitcher was recently transferred to us from our friends at Native Animal Rescue (NAR) in Santa Cruz, CA. The bird was found grounded in the yard of a member of the public in nearby Pleasure Point. During the intake exam, our team discovered a fractured clavicle and a wound over the dowitcher’s left elbow, rehabilitation technician Isabel Luevano reports. The injuries are likely the result of being caught by a predator.

On Friday, the bird under went surgery by Dr. Rebecca Duerr to stitch up the laceration over its elbow. This patient of the week is now living in one of San Francisco Bay center’s shorebird enclosures, sifting for the small invertebrates that our team deposits into pond mud for the dowitcher to discover.

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Long-billed Dowitchers, photo by Eugene Beckes/Flickr Creative Commons

September 27, 2014

Patient of the week: Virginia Rail

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Photo by Bill Steinkamp

This week, both our wildlife centers in California have cared for Virginia Rails, VIRAreclusive birds found in freshwater marshes.

This rail was found soaked and cold on Dockweiler Beach, not far from Los Angeles International Airport, by our friend and partner Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue. Rehabilitation technician Kelly Berry reports that after a full examination, the clinic team determined that the bird had suffered an unknown trauma — the evidence of which was dried blood around the bird’s right ear and a small patch of feathers missing from its face.

This rail was tube-fed for a full day before it began self-feeding. Impressive weight gain followed, and after the bird’s blood values were back to normal, our team released this secretive patient back into suitable marsh habitat.

September 3, 2014

Patient of the week: Brown Booby

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Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck
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Brown Boobies are rare visitors to Southern California; this is only the second such patient we’ve received over the past year.

The juvenile Brown Booby you see above was found at Dockweiler Beach in Los Angeles and rescued by our friend Peter Wallerstein with Marine Animal Rescue. Upon intake our team found the bird to be emaciated and mildly dehydrated.

But after working with the bird all day, the team was able to get this booby self-feeding again. It’s since graduated to an outdoor aviary.

A year ago, International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center had another species of booby in care — a Blue-footed Booby, one of many that had mysteriously “invaded” SoCal. This patient was found injured on a south Los Angeles sidewalk and later released, as you can see in the video below.

August 29, 2014

Patient of the week: Ashy Storm Petrel

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ASSPStorm Petrels belong to the order Procellariiformes, which includes such seabirds as fulmars and albatrosses. One of six storm petrel species found off the West Coast, the Ashy Storm Petrel is a species of special concern in California (the IUCN lists them as endangered). Ashy Storm Petrels are infrequent patients at our California wildlife centers.

The latest petrel in our care was originally found in the harbor area in San Pedro, CA. Apparently this petrel had crash-landed near the shipyard before transfer to our Los Angeles center, where our team performed a physical exam that thankfully showed good body condition, good blood values and no injuries.

After a final check of the bird’s waterproofing, our team released the storm petrel back to the coastal environment.

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Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck

July 30, 2014

Patient of the week: White-faced Ibis

"White-Faced Ibis Juvenile in care at SF Bay Center"
WFIBPhoto by Cheryl Reynolds

This juvenile White-faced Ibis was found near Natomas, CA with a broken wing and brought to an animal shelter on July 27 before transfer to our San Francisco Bay center. The bird has a fractured radius and ulna; our veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, has pinned the injury, and the ibis is currently recovering in a small, quiet  enclosure within our warm ICU. Ibises do very well in care, and the prognosis is cautiously optimistic.

You can see this ibis live on our BirdCam.

This may be the first ibis we’ve had at the center since a 2007 incident when a White-faced Ibis colony in a Sacramento Valley rice field was disturbed, leading us to care for 78 live babies and 100 eggs.

Read about this story via our archives.

Ibis Adoption

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Adult White-faced Ibis, photo by Dan Pancamo via Wikimedia Commons

Update: Gaby, one of our wonderful summer interns, snapped a few photos from the ibis’ surgery. The last photo shows the ibis waking up from anesthesia. This patient was put back in her ICU enclosure directly afterwards. IMG_8034

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May 30, 2014

Patients of the week: Feeding time! Baby American Avocets and Killdeer

Video by Cheryl Reynolds from our San Francisco Bay center.

A few younger patients also can be seen below during feeding time in an incubator, photo by Suzi Eszterhas.

Avocet chick (3-4 days old) International Bird Rescue, Fairfield, CA

Click here to check out the Orphaned Baby Bird Fund!

May 10, 2014

Patient of the week: Red-necked Phalarope

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RNPHPhoto by Kelly Berry

This Red-necked Phalarope in breeding plumage was found a week ago on Terminal Island, CA walking around and, according to its rescuer, very easy to catch.

Upon an intake exam at our Los Angeles center, the bird was found to be thin with a small wound on its chest, and was only observed to have mild stumbling in its enclosure, rehabilitation technician Kelly Berry reports. We aged this patient as an after-hatch-year bird (sex undetermined).

The phalarope currently is in the waterproofing stage of rehabilitation and is receiving antibiotics for the chest wound.

By contrast, below is a photo of a Red-necked Phalarope in winter plumage (this animal was cared for at our San Francisco Bay center last year).

Red-Necked Phalarope at SF Bay Center
Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

May 2, 2014

Patients of the week: Baby Hooded Mergansers

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HOMEPhotos © Suzi Eszterhas

All of our patients this week are deserving of the patient of the week honor, but we thought we would feature some of our youthful additions.

See them now on our Bird Cam

We have two baby Hooded Mergansers that arrived this week at our San Francisco Bay center. Photographer Suzi Eszterhas took a few images of an exam and feeding. Similar to our Mallard ducklings, these birds currently are kept in a “duckling box” with plenty of access to food.

Other baby patients in care include herons that have been rescued from the 9th Street Rookery in Santa Rosa, CA after they fell from their nests. More on these great birds next week!

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April 18, 2014

Patient of the week: Brandt’s Cormorant

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Photo by Bill Steinkamp

BRACDo not adjust your screen settings. The bright blue throat patch on this Brandt’s Cormorant is the real deal, and part of the bird’s breeding plumage, which also includes wispy white plumes on its neck as you can see here.

This cormorant didn’t attempt to fly away when picked up by Manhattan Beach Animal Control last Saturday, volunteer coordinator Neil Uelman reports. When it arrived at our Los Angeles center, the bird showed signs of neurological issues and was very unstable when walking or standing.

In recent days, this week’s featured patient has slowly improved and began to self-feed a few nights ago. Our L.A. center has a growing number of seabirds in care; check out the latest tally here.

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Further reading:

• Brandt’s Cormorant species profile on AllAboutBirds.org

April 12, 2014

Patient of the week: Common Loon

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Photos by Bill Steinkamp

Our patient of the week is this stunning Common Loon in breeding plumage, currently in care at our Los Angeles center.COLO

On April 7, the bird was found oiled and beached along Refugio Beach in Lompoc, CA and was immediately transferred to our wildlife partners in Santa Barbara. A day later, the loon was transported to our Los Angeles center, which currently has a wide array of diving birds in care, from Eared Grebes to Common Murres.

Volunteer and outreach coordinator Neil Uelman says it’s a very large loon as well, weighing in at 3,296 grams, or about 7.5 pounds. The loon was about 50% oiled upon intake; we’ll keep you posted on its condition.

Like other diving birds, Common Loons are susceptible to becoming oiled, whether by natural seepage or human-caused events.Check out wash photos here of another oiled Common Loon cared for in the last year by our L.A. center team.

Also, this loon is still looking to be adopted! Click here if you’d like to make a symbolic adoption of this beautiful bird.

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Further reading:

Common Loon profile on AllAboutBirds.org

• International Bird Rescue blog: The loon and the lighthouse

• KQED: East Bay Regional Parks rescue injured loon, cared for at International Bird Rescue

April 5, 2014

Patient of the week: Canvasback

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Photo by Isabel LuevanoCANV

Remarkable healing is commonplace at our wildlife centers. Case in point: this male Canvasback at our San Francisco Bay center. He arrived with severe hock lesions, as well as a broken toe.

For weeks, you may have seen this diving duck on our live BirdCam, wearing a waterproof “shoe” to protect the healing fracture while he comingled with grebes and a Bufflehead.

Despite these severe injuries, the Canvasback has done extremely well in care, and we’re optimistic about eventual release.