Join us in celebrating the year past at Bird Rescue by reading about some our favorite and most poignant patients from 2017. While we know why all of the birds listed below have special meaning for us, now it’s time to hear from you! Help us select the 2017 Bird of the Year by casting your vote by December 31st, 2017. Make sure to stay check back in early January when we announce the winner! To cast your votes, click the link below:
#1: American White Pelican
The work we do at Bird Rescue wouldn’t be possible without our amazing team of staff and volunteers! Read below to meet one of our stellar team members.
Devin started with Bird Rescue as an intern and was so wonderful that we had to hire her as one of our two full-time Rehabilitation Technicians at our Los Angeles wildlife center. Her background is in Marine Biology, which she studied as an undergrad at the University of Oregon.
Devin originally hails from the state of Washington’s Puget Sound area, where her love of marine biology was first born. She grew up in a small town where one of the major pastimes was tracking the lives of the area’s three well-known pods of orcas. Devin recounts these experiences fondly and says they are what inspired her to go into marine science. Devin tells us she is happy to be at Bird Rescue and feels lucky to be part of an organization that provides great care for birds and great training for its staff.
When Devin is not hard at work saving birds’ lives, she enjoys gardening, dancing, and teaching. She is a lifelong competitive dancer (hip-hop, contemporary, and lyrical) who believes that dancing is fun and brings balance to her life. She recently began teaching a hip-hop class that some of her fellow staff members have attended (the word is that it’s quite the workout!).
We love having interesting, knowledgeable, and creative teammates like Devin—she’s a hard worker and a valuable co-worker, and she’s brought her dancing skills to us for some after-work fun. Thanks, Devin, for bringing all of your assets to the Bird Rescue family!
The Atlas fire in California is has been hitting close to home for the past week at Bird Rescue. Our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center, which is also our headquarters, is located in Fairfield, California, not far from the path of the fires.
We kept our birds-in-care at the facility as long as we could before the poor air quality and the looming possibility of evacuation rose beyond our acceptable threshold. For the well-being of our birds, we made the decision on Wednesday evening to release those that were healthy enough to go, and to transfer the remaining patients to partner centers outside the fire zone.
Preparing aquatic birds to be transferred to any outside facility (especially those not specialized in aquatic care) takes a tremendous amount of energy, and we are grateful that our team of employees and volunteers stepped up to the challenge. From exit examinations to preparing the bird’s medications and food, paperwork, and arranging transport, the process is extremely time-consuming and tedious.
Huge thanks to partner centers WildCare (San Rafael), Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (San Mateo), The SPCA for Monterey County (Monterey), and Pacific Wildlife Care (San Luis Obispo) for receiving these patients. We hope that they are all adjusting nicely to their new respective centers.
So long as it is still safe to do so, our center will remain open as a service to the public for wildlife emergencies. However, we will not be receiving new patients until the situation improves. Our hearts go out to our employees, volunteers, and supporters who have already been impacted. We join in unity with the communities affected, our fellow emergency response professionals, and all the many of you who have stepped up to help out, with shelter, with donations, and with your support.
In our 46-year history, we have never needed to evacuate all of the birds from our facility. We have been through floods, handled numerous oil spill emergencies, felt earthquakes, endured other extreme weather, and yet this evacuation is unique for our SF Bay-Delta wildlife center. Our flight aviary may be motionless at the moment, but we are thankful we can see the uncharred hill behind us through the smoke.
While we are not currently accepting new patients at our SF center, we are happy to report that business, as usual, will go on at our Los Angeles wildlife center. We are glad to be able to continue to serve the Los Angeles area and are eagerly awaiting the ability to do so again at our SF Bay-Delta wildlife center.
Sincerely and with gratitude,
The International Bird Rescue Team
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!
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.
You can read more about his care here: http://blog.bird-rescue.org/index.php/2016/07/patient-of-the-week-double-trouble-american-white-pelican/
This California Gull came to our Los Angeles center this week after being hit by a car in Carson, CA. The impact resulted in compound fractures (see x-ray) of both the radius and ulna in the left wing.
Our veternarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr DVM, pinned the bones back together and the patient is now in a recovery cage.
First on the gull’s to-do list after surgery? Fluff and preen those feathers to cover the wrap as neatly as possible. Second? Maybe think about the fish in the dish (once sure no fingers are available).
Go little gull!
Photos by Rebecca Duerr
Dear Friends of Bird Rescue–
As I become more familiar with the work and challenges of Bird Rescue, I am aiming to give you more insider’s views of how things work at this amazing organization. The graphic above shows a snapshot of all the birds in our care in both the LA and SF Bay Wildlife Centers–that’s 292 feathery heartbeats that we need to feed, medicate, waterproof, watch over, and ultimately hope to release back into the wild.
At this time of year–breeding season–the vast majority of these numbers are orphaned and/or injured babies. The remainder consist of adult and juvenile birds that have come into care sick, broken, dehydrated, or otherwise compromised by fishing line, contaminants, animal attack, or the like.
The team has been working furiously all summer to stay on top of the high numbers of gull, heron and egret chicks–higher numbers than we have ever seen in a season!
Today, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a few interesting treatments here in the SF Bay center. The first was the arrival of a hatchling Black Oystercatcher (see photo), a species which we have never raised in-house and have only seen rarely as a patient in our history. The chick was put in a heated intensive care unit along with a surrogate parent (feather duster) and we began the effort to find a suitable food. Fortunately, the chick has a taste for mussels and we have been able to get her to feed directly on tiny bits of mollusk. We have reached out to some of our peers who may have more experience with this species for guidance on the best possible care.
Yesterday, I was able to watch a delicate surgery on a new patient, a White-faced Ibis (see slideshow) with a double fracture in one wing. This bird will be featured on our BirdCam soon. Our Staff Veterinarian Rebecca Duerr and SF Center Manager Michelle Bellizzi worked tirelessly on this gentle bird’s wing, setting the affected bones and stabilizing the wing for the healing period.
Our work never ends at Bird Rescue — in a few days’ time we will likely receive another intake of birds. Until then, we’ll be busy caring for those in our centers and providing the needed support to get them closer to release.
Thank you as always for your support of Bird Rescue. We are only as strong as our base of supporters. Please keep spreading the word!
There are many ways to support International Bird Rescue:
Dear supporters of International Bird Rescue,
Tuesday marked the end of my first week as Executive Director, and what a week it has been!
For my first few days, I had the privilege of being among the incredibly capable team at our southern facility, the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care Center. Led by Operations Manager Julie Skoglund and Center Manager Kelly Berry, the team worked tirelessly to welcome Ian Somerhalder and our partners from Dawn dish detergent as we joined forces to celebrate our many superb volunteers, without whom none of this work with injured and orphaned birds would be possible. Thank you, IBR Volunteers and Interns, for your dedication! Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance. I’d like to meet each of you.
The culmination of the event was the release of three Brown Pelicans and a Western Gull that had finished their rehabilitation and were ready for their return to the wild. I can say firsthand that this is a deeply moving experience, especially as I was given the honor of opening one of the cages. I released the Brown Pelican at the far right of the photo, who I have nicknamed N-20 for the blue band which will be used to track her progress in the future. We invite you to participate by using our citizen scientist reporting tool to document sightings of any blue banded pelican. This information is vital to our ongoing research. I’ll personally be watching closely for news of N-20, N-18, and X-01!
Over the weekend, I was able to meet the equally amazing team of our northern facility, International Bird Rescue – San Francisco Bay. Led by Center Manager Michelle Bellizzi, the northern center is currently working on a massive number of orphaned baby birds, including Green Heron, Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night Heron, Pied-Billed Grebes, Western Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Common Mergansers, and Mallards.
At both facilities, I have also had the privilege of watching our very talented Veterinarian and Research Director, Rebecca Duerr DVM MPVM PhD, as she administered pelicans, gulls, egrets, and more.
On Wednesday morning at Fort Baker, we also released a Double-Crested Cormorant and another Brown Pelican, the latter of which had been in our care for a full year after devastating damage to her wing and feathers. I’ll share more info on this bird, blue band X-01, next week.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not send out special thanks to IBR’s Response Services Director, Barbara Callahan, who has served as Interim Director for the past year. Barbara has led the team through a challenging year and has been gracious and generous with her time and knowledge. She is now taking much-needed rest. Thank you, Barbara!
There are many ways to support IBR:
I love to hear from you so please get in touch!
Volunteers are a critical component of our 365 day a year bird care: They help feed our bird patients, keep clinics clean, run errands and perform some administrative duties.
Many of our volunteers have supported our “Every Bird Matters” efforts for more than 20 years!
During the Mystery Goo response this winter, we had more 300 volunteers that worked 5,000+ hours helping us rescue and rehabilitate the hundreds of seabirds that arrived at our San Francisco Bay Center.
We’re thankful to have volunteer help each day and without them the monumental task of caring for 5,000 injured, sick and orphaned aquatic birds at our two centers would be nearly impossible.
If you’d like to help, too, check out the upcoming volunteer orientations at both of our California centers: http://bird-rescue.org/get-involved/volunteer.aspx
Updated April 14, 2015: Sadly, the Brown Pelican gunshot victim died this week.
Nearly a month following the horrific shooting of a Brown Pelican found in Redondo Beach, International Bird Rescue is still caring for this critically injured seabird. After two major surgeries the bird is receiving supportive care due to an infected gunshot wound that fractured the bird’s ulna (wing).
This majestic male Brown Pelican is receiving nutritional support plus pain medications and antibiotics to treat his infection. The large amount of damaged tissue at the gunshot wound is continuing to be an obstacle to healing.
“This Pelican is in very guarded condition and we’re treating him with utmost care to help him heal,” says Dr. Rebecca Duerr, International Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian. “We hope that the public will assist us in finding the people responsible for this needlessly cruel and illegal act.”
Through an anonymous donor, there is a $5,000 reward offered to anyone with information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this shooting. To report, please call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at 310-328-1516.
On March 12th, a pelican that could not fly, was captured by Redondo Beach Animal Control. After being brought to our Los Angeles wildlife center, International Bird Rescue staff discovered he had a broken wing (ulna) and a fish hook embedded in his right shoulder.
This case seemed like a straightforward fishing gear injury until clinic staff took x-rays and discovered the ulna fracture was due to a gunshot wound. Tiny speckles of metal visible were noted in the radiograph image.
Brown Pelicans are federally protected birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As a species only recently removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009, Brown Pelicans have enough challenges in their lives without being shot.
IBR depends on the support of the public to care for animals injured in cruelty incidents, as well as those harmed by fishing gear and other human-caused injuries. Please donate now or Adopt-a-Pelican
Nearly two months after 323 mystery goo seabirds arrived, International Bird Rescue is still treating the last of the bird patients affected by this unusual contaminant.
19 seabirds, including, Surf Scoters, Buffleheads and Horned Grebes are still among those in care. A total of 154 cleaned, healthy birds have now been returned to the wild.
The birds had their feathers coated by a sticky, non-petroleum substance that grounded them along the East Bay shore of San Francisco Bay.
Mystery Goo Numbers (as of March 14, 2015)
323 = Brought to center
154 = Released to date
110 = Humanely euthanized
40 = Dead on Arrival
19 = Birds still in care (mainly Surf Scoters)
Note: About 170 birds were collected dead by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) personnel.
The 19 birds that still remain in care are those that entered our San Francisco Bay center with serious but treatable medical problems. These included severe emaciation, anemia, or injuries.
Many of these rescued birds also came to the center with pressure sores to their hocks or toes from being stranded on hard land. These injures can take months of care and healing. Other patients had surgeries for keel injuries but most of these healed quickly.
In mid-January hundreds of birds were rescued from Alameda south to Hayward in San Francisco Bay. Each was coated with an unknown tacky substance dubbed “mystery goo”.
On Thursday, February 12, state and federal labs concluded that the substance that coated birds includes a mixture of non-petroleum-based fats or oils. Read the full press release from California Department Fish and Wildlife: http://ow.ly/J4bZp
With still no responsible party identified to help cover the cost of bird care, International Bird Rescue’s funded most of response costs with the help of the public and foundation donations. Bird Rescue has spent $150,000 on the response and continues to rely on public support to help with costs associated with this unusual contaminant response. Donate Now
As scientists work to identify mystery goo, rescued birds return home, Los Angeles Times, March 1 ,2015
International Bird Rescue would like to thank the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the Summerlee Foundation, Annie Lee Roberts Emergency Rescue Fund for their generous funding that helped to rescue and treat the hundreds of birds that were coated in “mystery goo” in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The caring and concerned teams at these foundations rapidly responded to our emergency request for life-saving support. We are deeply grateful to each of them and to all of you that helped these birds get back to the wild. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Not all our birds in care were part of the San Francisco Bay mystery goo response. Last month our Southern California center received an American White Pelican from the Los Angeles County Animal Control. It was found in a weakened state at La Mirada Park.
This beautiful bird was very lethargic, not thermoregulating, and extremely thin. The Pelican also had a small laceration to its right wing that is currently undergoing wound management.
As of this week, the White Pelican is now living in our large outdoor aviary and gained quite a bit of weight over the 3 weeks in care. It weighs in at over 7,000g (15.4 lbs.)
Its wing wound has healed up well and was discontinued off of medication this week. Our Los Angeles Center staff is hopeful that it release this bird within the next week.
We’re seeing an increase of sea ducks – especially Buffleheads – in care this month.
Nearly 25 of this species have come through our doors in the past few weeks. They are emaciated, suffering from stress and have foot abrasions. Many have crash-landed in areas around San Francisco Bay.
The beautiful drakes have a striking iridescent green & purple head coloring along with large white patch behind their eyes. Females are less striking with grey-tones and a smaller white patch behind the eyes.
These migrating Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) breed in Alaska and Canada among the wooded lakes and ponds. They winter along the east and west coasts of the United States.
Just a reminder that you can double the impact of your charity donations by giving to International Bird Rescue until 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve (Wednesday)! An anonymous donor is currently matching online donations to International Bird Rescue. Please make your tax-deductible gift today!
Team International Bird Rescue
Red-capped Plover chicks by Leo/Flickr Creative Commons