Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

January 14, 2016

One Year Later: Webinar Explores What We Learned From Mystery Goo Event

Bird-Rescue
Horned Grebe covered in "Mystery Goo" before cleaning, left, and after cleaning. Affectionally named "Gummy Bear" the birdwas returned to the wild. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Horned Grebe covered in “Mystery Goo” before cleaning, left, and after cleaning. Affectionately named “Gummy Bear” the bird was returned to the wild. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

One year ago on January 16, 2015, we received reports of a spill of a mysterious sticky substance along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay that no one could identify! A large number of water birds was affected by this unknown substance. Many of the birds – which included Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads and others – were covered in slime, dirt, and rocks, destroying their waterproofing and ability to maintain body temperature.

All the affected birds required intensive care and Bird Rescue had to develop a whole new cleaning process for this substance. This “Mystery Goo” turned out not to be a petroleum product, which meant there was no protocol for who should take responsibility for the birds and how they would be treated and cared for. Putting our own resources on the line, Bird Rescue stepped into that void and accepted more than 320 birds. Our supporters generously stepped up to help us fund this unusual event.

A year later, we would like to share what we learned.

Join us for a free online webinar on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

Please register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4367155004328262402

December 31, 2015

Help Birds Soar Farther in 2016!

JD Bergeron

Pelican-Brown-dragging-wing-BS

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

Just a quick reminder that it’s the final day of 2015 and you can still give the gift of flight with a tax-deductible donation.

As a bird lover we depend on your generous gifts to keep our clinic doors open 365 days of the year to make sure the 5,000+ avian patients get the best possible care.

If you’ve already donated, thank you again for your support! If you haven’t yet, please join us and make a contribution to Bird Rescue.

With warm wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Sincerely,

JD-B-signature-300px

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

How will you help a bird today?

Photo by Bill Steinkamp

 

December 23, 2015

Thank You For Giving Birds A Second Chance

JD Bergeron

Photo of Snowy Egrets raised at International Bird Rescue's San Francisco Bay Center.

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

Maybe it’s snowing where you are, but we never get a snowy day around our centers. We do get our share of Snowy Egrets: 308 this year!

This year, we are counting our blessings. With thousands of birds in need of care – your generous support in 2015 has made all the difference in our ability to give these wild birds a second chance at life.

From the rescue of baby Snowy Egrets (shown) at the 9th Street Rookery in Santa Rosa… to the response to our work with pelicans, gulls, and cormorants on the Santa Barbara oil spill in May… to the volunteers who worked tirelessly helping Surf Scoters slimed by Mystery Goo in San Francisco Bay – your help has carried us through a very busy year and is so appreciated.

As the holiday season enters this week of the festival of lights and you spend more time with family and friends, we want to remind you that as a bird ally you are in our thoughts.

Happy holidays,

JDB-Sig

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

How will you help a bird today?

Photo above: Baby Snowy Egrets. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

 

December 22, 2015

Patient of the Week: Lesser Scaup

Bird-Rescue

Photo of Lesser Scaup

A female Lesser Scaup is our patient of the week. This scaup was brought to our Los Angeles Center by a concerned member of the public. The downed bird was found on the streets of Long Beach and the rescuer thought she looked like she was going to be attacked by crows.

Upon intake the Bird Rescue staff the noticed that the scaup appeared to be contaminated with an unknown oil-based substance. She was washed clean and is currently living in one of the rehabilitation pools.

Lesser Scaups are some of the most numerous and abundant diving ducks in North America – especially in inland waters of the western United States. In winter they are often seen on lakes and bays in dense flocks, numbering in the thousands. They are very similar to the larger Greater Scaup.

How did you help a bird today?

December 15, 2015

A Year To Remember

JD Bergeron
2-BUFF-eblast

Baxter the Bufflehead: Before and after being cleaned of the mystery goo at the SF Bay Center. Photos: Cheryl Reynolds

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

For 44 years, International Bird Rescue has been responding to oiled wildlife emergencies all over the world, and yet 2015 has been a year to remember!

On January 16th, we received reports of a large number of water birds on San Francisco Bay contaminated with an unknown sticky substance – including Baxter the Bufflehead duck, shown in these photos before and after his cleaning. Like many of the birds, Baxter was covered in slime, dirt, and rocks, destroying his waterproofing and his ability to maintain his body temperature. All the affected birds required intensive care and we had to develop a whole new cleaning process for this substance.

This “Mystery Goo” was not a petroleum product, which meant there was no protocol for who would take responsibility for the birds and how they would be cared for. Putting our own resources on the line, we at International Bird Rescue stepped into that void and accepted more than 300 birds. We then asked you – our dedicated supporters–for help, and you responded with much-appreciated donations!

It’s your support that enables us to put in the hard work needed to give these birds a second chance.

Thank you again for your generosity,

JDB-Sig

 

 

 

 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

 

December 11, 2015

Patient of the Week: Red-breasted Merganser

Bird-Rescue

Photo of Red-breasted Merganser

Our patient of the week is a beautiful Red-breasted Merganser in care at our Los Angeles center! Winter migrants, like this merganser, are flying south for warmer weather and that means we are seeing more of these migrants in care.

Mergansers are large diving ducks with long, thin bills that are lined with serrated edges to help them capture fish. Both male and female Red-breasted Mergansers have a distinctive double crest of plumes at the back of their heads.

This bird was rescued earlier this week by Santa Monica Animal Control. It could not fly, was weak and emaciated. In a few days it will be ready for release.

How will you help a bird today?

Photo by Bill Steinkamp

 

December 8, 2015

How Did You Help A Bird Today?

Donna Callison
Photo of Brown Pelican in care at International Bird Rescue

With Bird Rescue’s help, Brown Pelicans
get a second chance. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

To answer the question of how I helped a bird today, I must first back up to a recent Saturday when I was volunteering in the San Francisco Bay clinic.

Two adult Brown Pelicans had come into care with Domoic Acid poisoning, which can involve seizures. In order to control the seizures, the patients are heavily sedated to keep them still and quiet, almost in a comatose state. I was asked to assist the staff with the next round of IV fluids by acting as handler. I thought nothing of that when asked, as I’ve done this many times over the years.

One patient was being housed in one of the soft-sided pelagic boxes, which I thought very odd because pelicans are very tall birds and are usually housed in enclosures that accommodate their size. OK, so that was a new one on me.

When I pulled back the sheet covering the top of the box and got my first look at the patient, I had to stop for a few seconds and gather my composure. This magnificent, beautiful adult pelican was lying down in the box with its head propped up on towels, like a pillow. As I looked at the patient lying there, completely helpless and vulnerable, its state really touched my heart and paralyzed me for a few seconds. I picked up the bird, and it offered no resistance. The patient’s condition actually brought tears to my eyes.

Photo Pelicans affected Domoic Acid in treatment at International Bird Rescue


Pelicans suffering from Domoic Acid receive
a rigorous treatment and can survive.
Photo: International Bird Rescue

How did I help a bird today? By reaching inside to find the courage and strength to keep my emotions at bay as was able to lend assistance to this poor animal in need.

When I reported for my shift the following Saturday, my first question was ‘how are the pelicans doing?’ I was so happy to learn that they had recovered and were now outside in the large flight aviary getting their health and strength back.

Over the years, I have come to love and respect the animals that have come through our door for help. I’ve seen birds that have come in with broken wings, fishing line and fishing hooks tangled around legs, wings, and mouth, infected wounds, birds that have been the subject of human cruelty; and somehow, they manage to live and survive in the wild with these incredible injuries that cause more pain than I can imagine. I am constantly amazed by their resolve and determination to survive.

–Donna Callison, Volunteer, International Bird Rescue

Majestic Brown Pelicans

Bird Rescue treats on average 200+ Brown Pelicans a year. Many of these majestic birds come into our two California centers with injuries caused by humans, ranging from the unintentional fishing line entanglements to outright cruelty. All of our pelicans are released with blue bands to help track them in the wild. Since 2009, we have banded 1,200 pelicans and have received more than 800 sightings reported by citizen scientists.

Your donation helps get these beautiful birds back on their feet

 

December 1, 2015

On #GivingTuesday Your Contribution Goes Twice As Far!

Bird-Rescue

Two-Happy-SUCU-GivingTuesday

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

Today is #GivingTuesday, a special day for Non-Profit Organizations everywhere – a day that celebrates giving during the holiday season.

Donate-ButtonTo help us celebrate, an anonymous International Bird Rescue donor will match all #GivingTuesday online contributions made today – up to $5,000! Make a donation online before midnight tonight and your gift is DOUBLED.

We know there are many worthy non-profit groups to support this holiday season, and we hope you’ll consider Bird Rescue when making your year-end, tax-deductible donations.

Won’t you please join us to help reach our $10,000 #GivingTuesday goal today?

With gratitude for your support,

JD-Bergeron_signature-web

 

 

 

 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

Photo: Cheryl Reynolds

November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

Bird-Rescue

Giving-Thanks

Dear Friends and Bird Allies,

This morning, our dedicated team in both wildlife centers are busily working to feed and care for our resident wild birds. In wildlife rehabilitation, there are no holidays! The work of cleaning pools and enclosures, medicating birds, changing bandages, and feeding these hungry patients continues 365 days a year. Our team of staff and volunteers will be headed home in the afternoon to celebrate with their families.

As 2015 approaches its end, please consider making a year-end gift to support International Bird Rescue. We depend on the generosity of wildlife lovers like you. And your contribution is tax-deductible. With your support, we have had a record year and we are now raising funds for a big year of new developments, including exciting new research into the care of seabirds and the completion of a state-of-the-art aviary for herons and egrets in our San Francisco Bay facility.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

JD-Bergeron_signature-web

 
 
 
 
 
 

JD Bergeron
Executive Director

Photo by Sara Silver

 

November 25, 2015

Patient of the Week: Heermann’s Gull

Bird-Rescue

Heermanns-Gull-after-surgery

Photo Heermann's Gull hook removal at International Bird Rescue

A large fishing hook was removed from the stomach of a Heermann’s Gull (above) at International Bird Rescue. The gull is now in an outside aviary and is expected to fully recover. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds and Isabel Leuvano

A Heermann’s Gull is resting comfortably this week after our team removed a huge fishing hook that was lodged in the seabird’s stomach. It also had serious wounds at the corners of the mouth from the fishing line causing tissue damage.

Bird Rescue’s skillful veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, removed the hook at the San Francisco Bay Center. Post surgery, this bird has bounced back astonishingly well. The bird is already flying around our large aviary very enthusiastically, and the wounds are starting to heal.

The injured bird was found on November 8th in Santa Cruz and taken to Native Animal Rescue (NAR). It was transferred to Bird Rescue on November 14th.

A high number of seabirds enter our clinics each year with fishing tackle injuries. We encourage folks fishing to clean up after themselves. Hungry birds will eat fish scraps and embedded hooks are a big cause of injuries.

Heermann’s Gull (Larus heermanni) is a gray-bodied, white-headed gull that breeds in Mexico – mainly on Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California. It flies north along the Pacific Coast to southwest part of British Columbia. It’s a pretty aggressive gull and will chase other seabirds, especially Brown Pelicans, hoping to steal food.

These are your seabirds, too. Support their care: http://www.bird-rescue.org/donate

HEEG-15-3822-hook-2015-web

X-ray shows hook lodged in stomach area of a Heermann’s Gull.

November 20, 2015

Banded Bird Sighting: P63 Brown Pelican spotted in Oregon

Bird-Rescue
Photo Pelican plunge diving

Spotted plunge diving in Oregon, P63 banded Brown Pelican, was originally released in Sausalito, CA in June 2014. Photo by Dwight Porter

We take a lot of pride in our bird-banding program — especially when we get reports on birds sighted hundreds of miles from their release point.

A case in point is P63, a female hatch-year Brown Pelican. P63 was found stranded in June 2014 in Santa Cruz and treated at our San Francisco Bay Center for emaciation, hypothermia, anemia, and miscellaneous minor injuries.

Once P63 was well, she was blue-banded as part of our bird-banding program and released at Fort Baker in Sausalito on July 3, 2014. She was first sighted on March 7, 2015, in Morro Bay, and then again on October 22 while plunge diving in Netarts Bay, Oregon—about 700 miles from her initial release location. We extend our thanks to Dwight Porter of Portland, one of our citizen scientists, who reported his sighting of P63 on our online reporting site and gave us some great photos.

International Bird Rescue puts specific color markers on the bands placed on certain species of birds (as do many other organizations) to aid in the identification of the birds’ band ID numbers. If you spot a bird with a band and/or a color marker, please report your sighting here: http://www.bird-rescue.org/contact/found-a-bird/reporting-a-banded-bird.aspx

 

November 19, 2015

Researchers: Saving Oiled Seabirds Is Effective Long-term

Bird-Rescue

Photo of Little Blue Penguins Rena Spill Response in New Zealand

New research out of New Zealand is helping underscore what we’ve always believed: Saving oiled birds and returning them to the wild healthy and clean is not just well meaning but worth the effort.

Release of 60 Little Blue penguins at Mt Maunganui beach following Rena Oil Spill. Photo by Graeme Brown


Release of 60 Little Blue penguins at Mt Maunganui beach following Rena Oil Spill. Photo by Graeme Brown

Researchers from Massey University’s studied Little Blue Penguins (in photo above) following the 2011 Rena oil spill in the Bay of Plenty. They found both rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated birds were behaving similarly – diving to similar depths and in similar locations. They also analyzed the carbon and nitrogen levels in the birds’ feathers and able to show the penguins were feeding on similar prey.

Scientists evaluated the foraging behavior of eight cleaned birds using tracking devices and then compared it to the behavior of six unaffected birds.

The study was published this month in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. See the Massey University report

Bird Rescue sent a oiled wildlife response team to New Zealand in October 2011 after the 775 ft (236 m) cargo ship, MV Rena, ran aground on a charted reef off the North Island port of Tauranga. 300 metric tons of Fuel oil leaked from the ship and caused New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster. Read more

November 18, 2015

Patient of the Week: Black Oystercatcher

Bird-Rescue

Black-Oystercather-11-2015-web

The Black Oystercatcher chick that we raised from a hatchling at our Northern California center has been named Ash (Hebrew for “happy”) by our summer interns Mari, Ioana, Brittany, and Julie.

Graphic on Black Oystercatcher by International Bird RescueWith its new name, Ash has been transferred from San Francisco Bay Center to the Los Angeles Center in preparation for placement soon in the shorebird sanctuary at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

This bird was not able to be released because it was unable to learn the basics of taking care of itself in the wild.

The orphaned oystercatcher was captured at Natural Bridges beach in Santa Cruz, CA on August 7, 2015 by our friends at Native Animal Rescue (NAR). It arrived weighing 23 grams on August 9th. In the photo below, the newly arrived hatchling munches on mussels. The bird was then featured then as Patient of the Week.

Please join us in wishing Ash a happy life in her new home!

Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Photo of Black Oystercatcher hatchling at International Bird Rescue

November 6, 2015

Patient of the Week: Red-throated Loon

Bird-Rescue

RTLO-JB-web

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

 

November 3, 2015

Sea Rescue TV: Refugio Oil Spill Episode

Bird-Rescue

Sea Rescue TV has a new episode out on the wildlife response during the Refugio pipeline oil spill that hit the coast along Santa Barbara County in May 2015.

The piece captures the dedicated team helping care for and clean about 50 Brown Pelicans. All the effected seabirds were brought to our center in San Pedro, CA. Our staff and volunteers joined other Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) responders during this event.

Some of the rehabilitated pelicans were released with special satellite transmitters that help track the seabirds’ location. You can see their whereabouts via this interactive map and read about the innovative program.

More

Read more about the spill here