Before release on July 31, 2020, this orphaned Great Egret arrived in care dehydrated and emaciated. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue
The recent release of Great Egrets raised by International Bird Rescue and outfitted with special Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers will aid in the research of this majestic waterbird species.
The GPS backpack was provided and fitted by our friends from Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) as part of a study of the movements and migrations by Great Egrets. ACR is tracking these birds’ movements to learn more about their interactions with wetland ecosystems to better inform their conservation efforts.
Capturing healthy egrets in the wild is extremely difficult, so ACR Director of Conservation Science, Nils Warnock, reached out to invite Bird Rescue to collaborate. Great Egrets getting released would be outfitted with trackers to help ACR expand its study population. A backpack is fitted onto a strong and healthy Great Egret and monitored for a couple of days prior to release to make sure that it won’t cause any issues for the bird.
Not only does this partnership allow us to aid in important habitat conservation research, it also gives us the opportunity to learn where our patients go and how they behave post-release. So far, two Great Egrets have been released from Bird Rescue with GPS transmitters as part of this study.
Laysan Albatross gets the first taste of freedom as a Black-footed Albatross waits. Photos by Don Baccus
The wayward Laysan Albatross that was found grounded in a meadow in Soquel, CA, is back in the wild after being released back to Monterey Bay. Thanks to the SPCA for Monterey County for doing the original rescue back in late March after local birders alerted the animal rescue group. After being transferred to International Bird Rescue, the albatross made an excellent recovery after two weeks in care.
Executive Director JD Bergeron transported the bird from our wildlife center in Fairfield to the Moss Landing Harbor. Big thanks to Fast Raft who donated their services to help transport the bird 10 miles off the coast. Bird lover and friend of Bird Rescue Jan Loomis was also helpful in arranging the trip. This trip out into the open ocean was a rare moment during the current pandemic and the small group involved were blessed with views of many seabirds, a few humpback whales, and a pod of orcas.
When the boat finally reached its destination, a nutrient-rich part of Monterey Bay, the boat was greeted by a Black-footed Albatross during the release of the former patient and was soon joined by a dozen more Black-footed Albatrosses, which also nest on Midway Atoll. It was a magic moment in nature after many weeks cooped up during the restrictions.
The bird’s release was dedicated to the late Shirley Doell who was one of the count leaders during the annual nesting albatross count on Midway Atoll. Bergeron met Doell several years ago when he volunteered to help count 600,000 nests on these northern Pacific Ocean islands.
With their tremendous 6½ foot wingspan, Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) can take advantage of prevailing winds to glide long distances – sometimes 300-400+ miles in one day. They breed on tiny islands in the North Pacific Ocean – especially Midway Atoll – about 3,000 miles from California.
The oldest known banded wild bird in the world is a Laysan Albatross named Wisdom. At 69 years old, Wisdom returns most years to Midway to renew her nest and hatch a chick – as she did again in December of 2018 but took a year off in 2019. To date she is believed to have hatched more than 40 chicks over the course of her life.
In the past, Laysan Albatrosses notably have been found as stowaways on container ships that travel the ocean highways. They have often been spotted resting or even building nests aboard these vessels. In recent years, we’ve also seen them picked up after crash landing in the Southern California desert. Read more
Bird Rescue relies on the generous support of the public to care for wildlife, including wayward birds blown off course, those injured in cruelty incidents, as well as those harmed by fishing gear and other human-caused injuries. Please donate
Near the release site, agroup of Black-footed-Albatrosses. Photo by Janette Loomis
A bevy of Snowy Egrets, many from the Oakland Heronry Rescue in July, were released this month at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue
With supporters looking on, another group of Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons, were released back to the wild last week at Arrowhead Marsh in Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline.
A pair of Black-crowned Night-Herons saunter out of cages back to the wild spaces in Oakland. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue
Most of the released birds were part of the Oakland Heronry Rescue that began on July 10th after a large ficus tree containing a rookery of 50+ nests, split at the trunk and toppled in front of the downtown Oakland U.S. Post Office at Jackson and 13th Streets. The rookery included many nesting birds with baby egrets and herons, some of them which spilled onto sidewalks below.
Over a three day stretch, a total of 90 birds were rescued – including 51 Snowy Egrets, 22 Black-crowned Night-Herons, and 17 eggs.
Thankfully a concerned citizen noticed these birds in crisis and immediately called our San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center to come to the rescue. A Bird Rescue team, including JD Bergeron, Executive Director and Michelle Bellizzi, Response Manager, was on the scene right away at Jackson at 13th Streets and began gently scooping up the surviving birds and preparing them for transport to our clinic in Fairfield.
After the remaining tree was deemed unsafe for the public as well as the nesting birds, the team worked alongside a tree service that helped trim branches and collect all the remaining eggs and birds in nests.
“This rescue has been an epic journey for us all–on-scene rescuers, partners, staff, volunteers, donors, and supporters!” said JD Bergeron.
“The plight of these fallen birds caught the attention of many who dare to hope that people can still come together to make good things happen. TV, radio, blogs, and newspapers helped to carry this good news story in the midst of so much bad news,” Bergeron added.
Thanks to our generous donors, Bird Rescue was able to raise enough in donations to cover the food, medicine, and daily care for these young herons and egrets. But our work doesn’t end with these 90 birds — we provide wildlife rescue and rehabilitation programs 365 days a year, and our 3,500+ patients each year don’t come with insurance.
The support of the community means the world to us and reinforces to us the belief that each of us, every day, must take action to protect the natural home of wildlife and ourselves. You can still help us with a donation
A Snowy Egret gets ready to fly off in Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue
On a bright, sunny, morning with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, seven Brown Pelicans were returned to Northern California waters. The pelicans were nursed back to health after arriving sick and starving at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center. The release included some older birds that received care for fishing line injuries. All were returned to the wild with the help of our volunteers at Fort Baker in Sausalito, CA.
The seabirds were among 88 brown pelicans that have flooded our two California wildlife centers since late April. They were found weak, hungry, cold, and unable to fly at parks and beaches as far south as Monterey, California. One pelican was even rescued in front of a coffee shop in downtown San Francisco.
The public was instrumental in helping these birds in need. They alerted local animal control officials that scooped up the lethargic, wide-winged seabirds. Many went the extra mile to assist these iconic coastal birds.
Four of the seven Brown Pelicans get ready to fly off into San Francisco Bay. Photo courtesy of Paul Alber
“We want to thank Frank from Crows Nest, South Carolina, who found a sick and weak pelican with a severe wing injury while in Santa Cruz and took action that ultimately saved its life,” said JD Bergeron, executive director. “At Bird Rescue, we are inspired by people like Frank who take action to help wildlife in crisis.”
“We send our deepest thanks to all the people who first saw these birds in trouble, to those who helped capture and bring them to our center, to the staff and volunteers who fed and medicated them, to the donors who helped pay for fish and veterinary care. I am so inspired by the village of caring people who step up to protect nature.”
The cause of the grounding of these sick and starving birds is still unknown, but we suspect that changing ocean conditions, including warming water temperatures and the lack of available fish, are main factors.
Each of these pelicans received two leg bands: One federal and one special Bird Rescue Blue-band. They include X59, X60, X61, X62, X63, X64, and X65.
Blue-banded California Brown Pelican Program
The California Brown Pelican represents a species of special interest to Bird Rescue. These birds continue to face many challenges including oil spills, fishing tackle entanglements, prey shortages, and climate change.
To help us track this iconic seabird, each one of the Brown Pelicans we release receives a large, blue, plastic leg-band bearing easily readable white numbers. Bird Rescue started banding its rehabilitated Brown Pelicans back in 2009 when these seabirds were de-listed from the endangered species list. With the help of citizen scientists, the blue-banded pelicans spotted in the wild can be reported on online: https://www.bird-rescue.org/contact/found-a-bird/reporting-a-banded-bird.aspx
How You Can Help
Bird Rescue continues to ask 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. We encourage anyone who spots a sick or injured pelican to call their local animal control or contact us directly at 707-207-0380.
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.
Brown Pelican out in the aviary after healing from massive pouch and bill trauma. Photo by Katrina Plummer
Remember this Brown Pelican with the monstrous pouch injury we posted earlier this summer? We have good news: The bird recovered and was released after major surgery and weeks of specialized care.
The original injury to this young Brown Pelican mid-July, 2017.
On July 16 2017, a kind-hearted person in Huntington Beach, CA rescued a young Brown Pelican with a horrendous wound. The poor bird’s pouch was completely ripped open, rendering him unable to eat. They brought the starving bird to Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach where he was treated for a few days before being transferred to our Los Angeles Wildlife Center in San Pedro, CA.
We found that the entire left side of the bird’s pouch was shredded and the loose dangling flaps of tissue were bruised and swollen from the rude and painful interruption to their blood supply. The bird also was found to have two separate problems with its bill—the upper bill was partially fractured longitudinally half way along its length while the left mandible was completely fractured back by the jaw joint. Our staff splinted the fractures and stapled the tissue in place temporarily so the bird could eat while getting stronger before what would be a very long surgery.
A few days later, our vet decided the splint was sufficient for the upper bill break but the mandible fracture needed to be pinned. Pelicans have unusual bone texture where the bones have huge interior air spaces and extremely thin but strong outer walls. The outer bone wall is so thin that the threaded orthopedic screws usually used to pin bird bones don’t work. So our vet used something rather akin to an abstract work of art called a “spider fixator” to provide stability. Next, she tackled the long process of suturing the pouch back together. Pelican pouch has very fine stripes that run parallel to the jaw that can tell us how ripped pieces are supposed to fit together. Once all the stripes of the shreds were lined up, it became clear that there were really three long straight parallel cuts with the tissue between the cuts ripped free. This suggests the injury may have been caused by a boat propeller.
After the feisty bird had all of his sutures and pins removed, the pelican spent a few weeks in our large flight aviary getting some exercise before we set him free! He is now sporting big blue band “N75,” so keep your eyes out for him flying the coast.
Snowy Egret released at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline Park in Oakland, CA. Photo by Ilana DeBare, Golden Gate Audubon Society
This week we celebrate the partnership that helped rescue and release 20 Egrets and Herons in Oakland, CA. Among the bunch, a Black-crowned Night-Heron that came into International Bird Rescue with a broken leg after a tree split in two June 19th in downtown Oakland.
The Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons were set free at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park with the help of our partners from the Golden Gate Audubon Society and the Oakland Zoo.
Two Black-crowned Night-Herons peek out of transport cage before taking flight. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue
“Today, I saw the culmination of a near-perfect partnership! Last year, our friends at Golden Gate Audubon and Oakland Zoo came together to monitor the downtown Oakland rookery and provide urgent stabilizing care,” said JD Bergeron, Executive Director of Bird Rescue. “This resulted in quicker response times for fallen chicks and better outcomes once they arrived at our wildlife center for rehabilitation.”
“Building on the success of last year, our three organizations rescued even more birds this year. It feels great to see off this many young herons and egrets back into the wild,” added Bergeron. “It’s quite a moving experience for everyone involved. And all this in front of volunteers, new and old, and the media — it’s so encouraging to see everyone coming together to do the right thing for the environment and our fellow inhabitants of this little blue planet.”
Many of the rescued birds were residents of the Bay Area’s largest heron rookery. It’s located near busy streets in a downtown Oakland. It has been the scene of several rescues of baby herons falling to the ground during the nesting season. The young birds were transported to Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center where they are treated for stress and injuries.
“Baby herons and egrets are among our neediest patients,” said Bergeron. “They eat expensive feeder fish and require a variety of cages and specialized care over the course of six or seven weeks. At a cost of about $18 per day for a healthy baby and twice that for an injured one, this can really add up!”
She was found to be thin with a small wound where her beak comes together and some toe abrasions.
We took radiographs (x-rays) to rule out hook ingestion (since mouth wounds can be caused by swallowing fishing gear) and fortunately they were negative. She waterproofed quickly but was having some issues thermoregulating, so we monitored her closely and after a few days she was living out in the pool full time and was eating very well!
She was released on March 22. Kudos to everyone who was involved in her recovery!
After three months of care, X34 was released back to the wild. Photo by Jennifer Linander – International Bird Rescue
Thanks to two of our volunteers, a fishing line entangled Brown Pelican is alive, well, and back in the wild.
Last September, two of our long-time transport volunteers, Joan Teitler and Larry Bidinian, who live down in Santa Cruz, were visiting Scott Creek Beach when they saw an animal in need. Of course, once an animal rescuer, it’s hard not to find animals in need of rescuing!
Joan and Larry sighted an entangled Brown Pelican, and with much patience, were able to catch the bird. After spending a day at Native Animal Rescue (NAR) in Santa Cruz, the bird was brought to our San Francisco Bay Area Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for care. He had wounds on both of his wings and on his right leg from being entangled in the fishing line.
The wing wounds healed quickly, but the wound on his right leg became severely infected, as such injuries often do. He had a large abscess running from mid-leg down to and around the bottom of his foot and down his outermost toe. Our vet had to surgically open it up and flush it out to manage the infection. She even put in a drain (drains are usually not needed when treating birds). It took three surgeries and more than a month of wound care before the injuries and infection were resolved.
Our vet had to amputate part of the Pelican’s toe that had been too damaged by an abscess. Photo by Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue
After an entire month of being “dry-docked” for wound management and wraps, he was able to start living out in our Pelican Aviary. He needed to have a final surgery to amputate part of the toe that had been too damaged by the abscess, but it healed great. We have had many re-sightings of pelicans with similar toe amputations in the past, so we were confident this would not affect his successful to return to the wild.
We are very happy to report that this bird was finally released at Fort Baker December 11, 2016 – after more than 3 months in care! He is sporting blue band X34.
He was released with his aviary buddy X33 – a female pelican who was rescued thin and freezing cold on September 12, at Stinson Beach. X33 was brought to WildCare in San Rafael where they stabilized her and transferred her to us a few days later. She was living in our pelican aviary for a while, and had put on a good amount of weight, but wasn’t flying very well initially. However, once X34 started living in the aviary alongside her, he would fly around and she started flying after him! They would always hang out together and whenever he flew somewhere, she would follow. Fortunately, they were both ready to release at the same time so they were released as a pair.
Don’t be surprised if these two are sighted together later—we have previously had aviary buddies who were released together sighted hanging out at the same location years later!
Released in 2012, this Snowy Egret was spotted, photographed and reported this month by Leslie DeFacio.
One of the biggest rewards of working in wildlife rehabilitation is seeing treated birds released back to the wild. The one thing better is learning that these patients are now thriving back in nature.
This holiday season at International Bird Rescue one particular bird brings us further joy. A Snowy Egret released in 2012 was spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area this month by bird enthusiast Leslie DeFacio of Alameda, CA. She reported the bird as active, wading, walking, pivoting, flying, and overall very healthy looking.
This Egret was treated at our San Francisco wildlife rehabilitation center back in May of 2012, after being rescued after falling from the nest at West 9th Street rookery in Santa Rosa, CA. After providing supportive nutritional care and treatment for a minor elbow wound, it was released in June of 2012 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park in Oakland. Before release it was banded with red band number A09.
Flighted Snowy Egret A09 at Bay Farm Island. Photo by Leslie DeFacio
DeFacio submitted an online bird banded report that indicated the Egret was seen at Bay Farm Island, Shoreline Park in Alameda – not far from the release location in 2012. It was seen with 4 – 6 other Snowy Egrets foraging/feeding at sunset along the shoreline of the San Leandro Channel. This Egret has also been spotted and reported multiple times in 2015 – most recently in April 2016 by avid birder Cindy Margulis, Executive Director, of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
Tracking rescued and rehabilitated birds after release provides us with valuable information. Before release we secure ID markers-loose, non-obstructive, plastic and/or metal bands-around one or both legs. These enable us to gather data on returning patients, live sightings, breeding success, travel patterns, and life span.
With her N41 blue band (inset photo), a healed Brown Pelican returns to the wild after being treated for a slashed pouch and leg injury. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck/International Bird Rescue
Massive pouch laceration prior to surgical preparation. The bottom half of the pouch has been completely severed from the bird’s jaw. The white tube is delivering anesthetic gas to the bird’s trachea. Photo by Bill Steinkamp
Earlier this summer, our Los Angeles wildlife center received a female Brown Pelican from Ventura Harbor with injuries consistent with being slashed by a sharp object, very reminiscent of the injuries of Pink the Pelican, a case of ours from 2014. We reported the bird to US Fish and Wildlife Service as a likely animal cruelty case.
This new bird had a completely severed pouch, with straight cuts all the way back to behind her eyes on both sides (see image). She also had a razor-straight laceration on her right leg that cut deep into the muscle, but she was still able to stand and was in generally good condition. Like Pink, her pouch was stapled together temporarily so she could eat and regain her strength before surgery. It was repaired in one long surgical procedure instead of two as Pink’s was because the injury was, inches-wise, smaller than Pink’s– the bird was smaller overall, and the cut was angled through the pouch differently. The leg laceration was already infected when the bird arrived, but healed great with a combination of partial surgical closure and open wound management. The pouch repair healed fabulously in about two weeks.
The severly slashed pouch was carefully sutured back together. Photo by Bill Steinkamp
Whenever one is keeping a wild animal in a cage there is a risk every day that the animal will hurt itself. When an animal nears readiness to be released it becomes more active and eager to get out, and the probability that it may hurt itself in its caging rises. This particular bird was very stressed in captivity, and was noticed to be limping one morning. At first we assumed her slashed leg was becoming infected again, but we quickly saw that the leg she was favoring was her formerly uninjured leg…uh oh! X-rays revealed that she had broken her femur near her hip joint while in the aviary. We don’t know how it happened or whether we could have done anything to prevent it, but this accident set the bird’s potential release date back substantially. She spent several weeks floating quietly in a private pool while her leg healed, which it did, and nicely, although when she first started walking again she had a very pronounced limp. Since then she has been becoming increasingly annoyed with us as we have waited for her limp to resolve sufficiently for her to be released. Currently, she is a super agile flier and stands and perches very normally, although she still has a mild limp when she walks; we expect this will fade with time as her fracture healed with excellent alignment.
We are extremely happy to announce that this beautiful girl who faced multiple serious threats to her life was finally released! With her shiny new blue plastic band N41, she returned to the wild on Saturday, September 17th at White Point in San Pedro. Please cheer her on if you see her out fishing off the coast. And also please report the sighting on our website so we can know she is out there doing well, back being a wild Brown Pelican.
Pelican after slashed pouch was stitched back up. Photo by Rebecca Duerr/International Bird Rescue
N41 ready for take-off. Photo by Kylie Clatterbuck
American White Pelican released at McNabney Marsh, Martinez. This bird came to us with two broken legs, but has since recovered from surgery, ready for the wild! Photo: Cheryl Reynolds
Great news! The American White Pelican reported in our July 26 blog post successfully recovered from his two leg fractures and was released Aug 22 in McNabney Marsh in Martinez, CA.
When the cage was opened, he calmly walked out and took his time walking over to the water. We watched an interesting display of pelican thought processes as he decided what to do next. He first looked at a large group of his species resting on the shore far away, and then a smaller group closer to us that were in the water feeding. He took one last look back at us then entered the water and swam a small distance, next thing we knew he was taking flight towards the small feeding group. After landing in the water he calmly swam up to them and immediately started enjoying his first self-caught meal in more than a month. We could not have asked for a more perfect release of this bird back into the wild!
American White Pelican “Double Trouble” taking flight to join a small group of his species. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds
Note from Dr Rebecca Duerr:
The highlight of August for me was this release! The care of this single bird really exemplified the nature of everything we do for thousands of birds every year, requiring a tremendous and coordinated effort among all the bird’s caregivers in order for him to make it to release. Every aspect of his care from housing and feeding decisions and delivery, to anesthesia, surgery, and medication administration, to assuring nothing bad happened during his time in private pools or the pelican aviary, to the funding that paid for it all, was absolutely essential for getting this guy out the door.
Having worked in wildlife rehabilitation for nearly 30 years, I have a really solid appreciation that pretty much everything I am able to do surgically for our birds is dependent on the efforts of everyone else; the fanciest surgery is totally pointless without the rest. Consequently, I’d like to personally say thank you to everyone who had a hand in this guy’s and every other bird’s care! Great teamwork all around! Thank you for being willing to go the extra mile for our patients.
In July the American White Pelican had external fixators attached made of steel pins that pass through the bone and a combination of metal and epoxy that holds the external portions of the pins in the correct position.
An adult Great Blue Heron came to us from Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz after being found April 14 hanging from its right wing by fishing line. On arrival the bird had substantial skin damage and edema midway out the wingtip, and the bones felt possibly fractured under the swelling. We splinted and wrapped the wing for support to make the bird more comfortable, and scheduled x-rays for a few days later when the bird was more stable.
The x-ray showed the wingtip had not been fractured – but rather had ligament and bone damage at one of the two wingtip joints. Over the next week the edema resolved but the skin crossing the wing tip joint necrosed (died), leaving defects in skin coverage and an infected joint. Also the bird’s primary flight feathers were damaged and severely crimped which put them at high risk of breaking. With all the bird’s issues it was not looking good for this bird ever flying again.
In treatment we used a feather repair method where the feathers are soaked in extremely hot water to soften them. Then our staff veterinarian ‘ironed’ the feathers to reshape the crimped zones and thus restore the feather’s normal shape.
The skin and joint injuries were more complicated. Our vet treated the heron by surgically removing dead tissue and closing the main defect with adjacent skin. Another area of skin necrosis that exposed the infected joint itself was debrided, flushed, infused with an injectable antibiotic, and managed as an open wound.
The wingtip injuries finally and completely healed as of earlier this week, and we were at last confident the bird was out of the woods. So, with great pleasure, we released this gorgeous Great Blue Heron this week and watched it gracefully fly into the marsh!
Brown Pelicans N32 and N33 about to take off after being released at White’s Point by Dr. Rebecca Duerr.
The tale of two recent pelican patients gives you a peek in to International Bird Rescue’s rehabilitation program:
A female Brown Pelican N33 was rescued in San Pedro, CA with a large neck abscess, likely caused by a fish hook. The infection wrapped around the back of her neck, digging deep into her neck muscles. Our veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr, anesthetized her to remove all the necrotic (dead) material from the abscess, and the wound required several weeks of intensive wound management by our LA center staff.
See the before and after images (below) – warning: the ‘before’ picture is a bit graphic! But these are the sort of wounds we successfully treat every day. We are very happy to report that the wound healed beautifully, and she was ready to be released with her aviary buddy N32.
The next Brown Pelican N32 entered care June 14, 2015 after being found on the streets of Long Beach by LB Animal Control. After a full examination, we determined she was suffering from a facial neuropathy. She had little to no control over her lower eyelids, pouch or mandible muscles, showing a floppy pouch, droopy eyelids, and the inability to fully close her mouth. We knew we couldn’t release a Brown Pelican who was unable to control her mouth – to catch dinner, they have to hit the water mouth first at high speed!
The cause of the pelican’s problem remains unknown but we suspect a toxin of some kind, such as from some species of marine algae. Improvement was very slow but steady, and it took lots of time and patience until she regained the ability to control those areas of her body. After nine months in care we determined she had fully recovered and was ready to go!
Both birds were released March 14, 2016 at White’s Point in San Pedro and flew off strongly. They circled around their caregivers a few times before landing one on the reef and one on the water offshore.
Please support Bird Rescue’s rehabilitation programs. With your generous gift we can continue to treat each pelican with the medical, surgical, and nursing care it needs to have a second chance at a vibrant life in the wild. We love Pelicans!
Brown Pelican N33’s nasty neck wound early in treatment.
Brown Pelican N33’s healed neck wound just before she was released.
This lucky loon recently made an unscheduled emergency landing on a Long Beach Airport runway. The Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) is now in care at our Los Angeles Center in San Pedro.
The bird was found and captured at the busy airport on October 21, 2015. It was reported by airport workers to be dazed and confused. Upon intake the bird was given a full exam and and was found to be severely emaciated with some minor toe abrasions.
Since arrival 15 days ago, the hungry loon has gained 200 grams. Its now living full time in one our pelagic pools and eating lots of fish. This bird is very active in the pool diving a lot as well as vocalizing.
Red-throated Loons is among the smallest and lightest of loons. Its breeding plumage is more blackish-brown and includes a striking deep red throat. In non-breeding plumage (current patient), it is mainly light gray with a speckle of white.
In North America, this loon species winters along both coasts – ranging as far south as the Baja California Peninsula and the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. In other parts of the world, its known as the Red-throated Diver.
Photo by Jeanette Bates – International Bird Rescue
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!