Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘2010’

December 25, 2010

Warm holiday greetings from IBRRC

November 24, 2010

Year end update: Just two words: Thank you.

Dear Friend,

As I reflect on our accomplishments in the past year, I want to thank you for making this work possible through your continued support and encouragement.

Supporters like you are vital to keeping our rescue centers up and running – so that we can continue to save birds from all types of crises, maintain our ongoing research and training, and remain prepared to deploy at a moment’s notice in response to a massive emergency like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.

During the months many of us were in the Gulf, supporters like you made it possible for us to continue all the other rescue work we do around the clock, every day – and there was plenty of it. Below are just some of the numbers that paint the picture of our ongoing work made possible through your support:

365 — days each year we are caring for oiled and injured birds at our two rescue centers in California.

5406
— total number of birds treated at our rescue centers so far in 2010. The five most common species treated were: Mallards, Brown Pelicans, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Western Grebes, and Canada Geese.

2839 — number of Pacific birds admitted and treated at our two rescue centers in California between April 20 and September 30, during the height of the Gulf spill.

4 — number of smaller West Coast oil spills IBRRC responded to in 2010.

5 – the number of oiled birds received in the last week from natural seep along the California coast.

600 —number of critically ill pelicans treated by us following the heavy rains, flooding and pollution from run-off that hit the California coast in January 2010.

5 — pounds of fish consumed by a recovering pelican every day.

25,000+ — hours logged by IBRRC volunteers in 2010.

39 — number of years IBRRC has been rescuing and saving injured seabirds from crises. (That’s right, 2011 is our 40th anniversary!)*

24/7 — hours and days a week IBRRC is on-call for wildlife emergencies.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for helping to make this work possible. We truly could not do it without you.

Sincerely,

Jay Holcomb, Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)

*P. S. We look forward to keeping you updated on our plans to celebrate IBRRC’s 40th anniversary in the spring of 2011.

November 2, 2010

IBRRC’s Holcomb earns John Muir award

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We’re very pleased to announce that IBRRC’s Executive Director, Jay Holcomb, has been named the 2010 John Muir Association’s Conservationist of the Year.

The 33rd Annual John Muir Conservation Awards chooses “individuals who have excelled in environmental protection, or made significant contributions to the advancement of conservation.”

Jay is being recognized for his 25 years of passionate leadership at International Bird Rescue Research Center and most recently in leading IBRRC’S 80-person bird rescue response team at the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

This is the second award this year for Jay who was also named Oceana’s 2010 Ocean Hero in June for his commitment to ocean conservation.

With 40 years of wildlife rehabilitation work, Jay is honored to accept this prestigious award. “It is a real honor to receive this award and, even in the remotest way, be associated with the great John Muir,” said Jay. “At International Bird Rescue we believe that every bird matters. Our focus for nearly 40 years has been on making a difference to the lives of individual animals and it is quite wonderful to see this approach being acknowledged through a prestigious conservation award such as this.”

A dinner and award ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward Street (at Estudillo) in Martinez, California 94553. Details

The mission of the John Muir Association is to celebrate the life, share the vision, and preserve the legacy of John Muir through education, preservation, advocacy and stewardship, in partnership with the National Park Service at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California.

John Muir (1838-1914) was America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He also has been called “The Father of our National Parks,” “Wilderness Prophet,” and “Citizen of the Universe.” Muir spent the last years of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Park Service purchased his home in 1964 to preserve his legacy for future generations.

Again congratulations to Jay for his tireless leadership and dedication to furthering IBRRC’s mission – saving the lives of birds threatened by oil spills, environmental changes and human interaction through rescue and education.

– The IBRRC Team

June 8, 2010

Heavily oiled birds and response "blame game"

With more oiled birds coming into Gulf Oiled Wildlife Centers each day, Executive Director, Jay Holcomb, takes time to update and explain the spill response from IBRRC’s perspective:

As you can see we have had a significant spike in the number of birds that we are receiving in the Ft. Jackson center here in Louisiana. (See: Updated bird numbers) This is because a section of the oil slick has come to shore near Grand Isle and birds living in that area are now being impacted. Many of the birds that you have seen on the news are birds that are currently here at the center. I know that it is heartbreaking to see these pictures, but they are an accurate and true depiction of what is going on here. Nothing is worse than an innocent animal covered in oil helplessly struggling to survive. Heavily oiled birds always become the symbol of any oil spill when images are taken and that is appropriate as they clearly show what can happen in a massive spill. 

We have been busy here working with the birds and putting in long hours so I do not always get the time to write on the blog but there are a few things I wanted to share with our readers.

First, the pelicans that are here are in good health but very heavily oiled. I tell the media that they look like they are fondued – more or less dipped in the oil. That is because the fish they eat often swim and hide below floating surface oil and when the pelicans plunge into the water to catch them, they become oiled. A few of our field teams have witnessed this and actually seen fish jumping onto the oil and then watch as a gull or pelican goes after it and then becomes oiled. The ocean here is teaming with fish so it stands to reason that this would happen. The things that are working in our favor are that these are healthy and strong birds and the oil is aged enough so that it does not have much smell to it or volatile aromatics. That is the better part of this but what is a problem for the birds and us is that the oil is very gooey and thick. It is taking about 45 minutes to an hour to wash each bird as we have to pre-treat the birds with a warmer light oil to loosen the crude oil up and then wash the bird using DAWN dishwashing liquid. Lots of it! We are getting it off but it takes some scrubbing.

Another thing in the birds favor is that it is very warm this time of year and the birds are able to survive longer than birds in colder climates. This is in the birds favor but is debilitating for the people working on the birds. We have to shift our people and it’s a difficult situation for us in that respect. The other birds such as gulls and herons have a more difficult time with being this oiled. A few have died so far but many are making it also. They require a lot of supportive care.

I also want to mention the great people that are here helping to care for the birds. There are the response team members of Tri-state Bird Rescue Research Inc. and our team from IBRRC but also many individuals that are part of the Louisiana State Animal Rescue Team (LSART). The LSART helps us by bringing in people from all backgrounds including wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians that are all based in Louisiana. They are making up a large part of the work force and are really great. I need to mention that it is very important to give these people the opportunity to contribute first to helping offset the impact of the spill by helping us. They survived Hurricane Katrina and are now dealing with this situation. So, in that sense it’s appropriate that we use local resources first to fill in the ranks of our expanded rehab teams. As I have mentioned before, there are literally thousands of people who have been wait-listed who want to help. They will be called in as needed but so far they are not. It’s as simple as that.

I also feel the need to mention the “blame game” that I am not a stranger to. As you may have seen, I play a few key roles here at the Ft. Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. First, I provide oversight for the rehabilitation program as I have had many years of experience in managing large scale oiled wildlife rehabilitation efforts and can use that experience to our advantage. Secondly, I took on the role of External Affairs person because I knew that this would be an explosive and political situation when I first heard of this incident and therefore I felt that I was best suited to act as the voice for our efforts to rehabilitate these birds. So, I manage the intense media attention that has been put on the rehabilitation program. I like the media and I can speak to them from a historical perspective, a wildlife rehabilitation perspective and from a place of transparency as I agree that the world needs to see what is happening in this situation here in the gulf.

We have been allowing the media into the center every day from 1 to 2pm, usually longer, in the afternoon to do interviews, see the birds and get the stories. Now that we are getting very busy we are changing that to 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 3pm just so we can focus on the birds as giving the media their fair time takes a lot of attention away from our work. I request that everyone understand that this has been put into place for the sake of the animals and respect our new schedule.

Lets talk about the blame game real quick before I hit the sack. One of the questions I get every day from reporters is, “How does this spill compare to the Exxon Valdez oil spill?” well, there are many similarities and differences. Most notably the environment, weather and species impacted are vastly different but what is similar are the politics. This a big spill with a large oil company, a lot of scrutiny and a lot of people blaming each other. That is what it is but it was just a matter of time until the wildlife rehabilitators got blamed also. I knew this going into it. IBRRC and Tri-State are contracted by BP to manage the rehabilitation of the birds that are oiled in this spill so some think that we have signed over our rights as independent organizations. Nothing is farther from the truth. We have worked with the oil industry or whoever is the responsible party since 1971 to provide our unique, proven and qualified services of rehabilitating oiled birds and other wildlife. Collectively our organizations have responded to about 400 oil spills ranging from tens of thousands of birds to just a few and may I humbly state that we are the most qualified groups in the world to manage a program such as this one. We work very well together and become one large team in large-scale events such as this oil spill.

Our amazing founder, Alice Berkner, always said to me that the reason that she got involved in this work was because she felt somewhat responsible as a credit card holder of the company who was responsible for the spill in 1971 that initiate the founding of IBRRC. (See: Founders Perspective) I have always felt that way also. Her bottom line was that we all use oil products but are quick to pass the buck when oil is spilled and that seemed irresponsible. She was transparent in her initial approach to the petroleum industry. Alice wanted to help the birds with protocols based in sound science and manage oiled wildlife rehab programs with proven crisis management systems, so she created IBRRC to do just that. Instead of attacking the oil industry for the spills, which everyone else was doing, she gave them a solution and that was to use IBRRC to help offset some of the damage that oil spills do to the environment as no one was doing that back then. That began a steep learning curve that is still going on today and we have managed to improve the care we give to the birds immensely over the years.

So, here we are, almost 40 years on with a lot of experience and expertise under our belts and something we can offer to once again help in the clean up of the spill by helping these animals that really are our collective responsibility to care for. They belong to us, they are precious and they need our help. Here in Louisiana we are caring for them as best we know how right now in 2010. We will be blamed for our association with the oil industry, accused of selling out etc. We already have been. It’s nothing new to us. So, for the blamers out there please keep in mind that as you drive your car or are reading this on your computer that your life was made a hell of a lot easier because of oil and we all have benefited greatly from it. So who is to blame? No one! BP is accountable for their accident here in the gulf and they are being held accountable, as they should be. But we the people are also accountable as consumers of the products the petroleum industry provides us and maybe the silver lining in this horrific and catastrophic event is that people will wake up and ask themselves this question. “Is the cost of exploring for, using and transporting fossil fuels and their byproducts worth the risk?” Look at that iconic picture of the gull covered in oil from this spill. If you can live with that, drive your car, discard your plastic water bottles and tell your kids that it is all OK then go for it. If not then change the future through taking some level of responsibility about what has happened, use your brain, your intent and your desire to change the future of how we fuel our world. Stop blaming everyone for what you had a hand in creating. No one is right or wrong here. We are all in this together. It’s just about the choices we make, individually and collectively, and maybe its time to evaluate those choices. Everything is an opportunity and maybe that is the opportunity that this spill is providing for us.– a chance to reevaluate how we move into the future and protect our earth while enjoying our lives. Think about it.

Its 4 am and I am going to get a tiny bit of shut eye.

Later! – Jay, from Fort Jackson, Louisiana

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC more than 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers died.

At least 40 million gallons of crude has been dumped into the Gulf of Mexico and harmed fragile breeding grounds for Brown Pelicans and other shorebirds. Six weeks after the blow out, BP has yet to significantly stem the flow in the nation’s worst oil disaster.

June 4, 2010

Update from the center of Gulf oiled bird care

The numbers of severely oiled birds jumped yesterday and Jay Holcomb returns with his updates from the BP Gulf Oil Spill wildlife response:

Well, I am sure by now you have all seen the pictures of the oiled birds that were captured in Grand Isle, Louisiana. We are busy today with those birds and I have been delinquent in writing current blog postings. I will begin again tonight and keep you all updated. 

Please know that we are all doing well here, unhappy like you that this is happening, but we have a great master plan to offset as much damage to the birds as we can. For those of you who are asking about ways that you can either support us or donate to us, I thank you for your generosity. I also want you all to understand that this entire oiled bird rehabilitation effort is being paid for by BP. This is appropriate as they are the Responsible Party for this spill.

If you would like to send donations then please keep in mind that your local wildlife rehabilitation organization really needs your help also. They care for the same wild animals that are being impacted by the spill. A pelican is a pelican whether is it tangled in fishing tackle or oiled! Please send support to your local wildlife rehabilitation organizations. You can also support IBRRC and Tri-State’s ongoing bird rehabilitation efforts if you like and that information is available on our web sites.

Talk to you very soon,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director from Fort Jackson, Louisiana

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC more than 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers died.

At least 40 million gallons of crude has been dumped into the Gulf of Mexico and harmed fragile breeding grounds for Brown Pelicans and other shorebirds. Six weeks after the blow out, BP has yet to significantly stem the flow in the nation’s worst oil disaster.

May 22, 2010

New Gulf update: Oiled bird numbers increase


On the one month anniversary of the Gulf Oil Leak here’s the latest wildlife update from IBRRC’s Jay Holcomb:

Yesterday we received 3 more oiled birds at the Fort Jackson oiled bird rehabilitation facility. The included: One Brown Pelican, one Ruddy Turnstone and Semipalmated Sandpiper. No other birds were received at any of the other facilities. (Photo above, oiled Brown Pelican intake in Louisiana)

On Wednesday of this week we received another three oiled Northern Gannets in Fort Jackson and we continued washing and rehabilitating birds in Louisiana.

Our search and collection teams, working under the direction of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, continued patrolling impacted and other areas in the outer regions of the Mississippi River Delta region. Many healthy looking clean birds were sighted in the areas they covered and a few partially oiled birds were sighted here and there but were unable to be captured.

One oiled Brown Pelican came into the Pensacola, Florida bird rehabilitation center and one oiled Gannet came into the Theodore, Alabama rehabilitation center.

The complete list of birds received and under care are listed on our website A total of 27 live oiled birds have received in to Gulf wildlife care centers.

As always, we appreciate your concern,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has about 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

May 19, 2010

Day 17: Making strides on oiled bird capture

A quick update follows on the Gulf Oil Leak wildlife response from IBRRC’s Jay Holcomb:

Tuesday was a good day for the capture teams on the water as the weather allowed our teams, who are working as part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) bird capture program, to cover a large area of water. Over 6,000 birds were sighted and most of them were clean. Oiled birds were found here and there and a total of 4 oiled birds were brought into the Fort Jackson bird rehabilitation facility in Louisiana – a brown pelican, least tern, northern gannet and a laughing gull. 

One oiled brown pelican was captured and brought into the Alabama facility on Tuesday also.

Search and collection efforts and the rehabilitation of the birds at these facilities are continuing.

Thanks for your interest,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has about 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water.

The leak continues to spill oil into Gulf waters and BP has made some progress in plugging the gush of crude from the ocean floor. So far, experts believe the amount of oil in the water has surpassed the 11 million gallons spilled during the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

May 18, 2010

Day 16: Search continues for oiled Gulf birds

Here’s the latest Gulf Oil Leak update from Jay Holcomb:

Yesterday was a hot but clear day in the Gulf of Mexico and it was a good day for the teams to get out in the field in all areas. In Louisiana the teams spotted many oiled terns and gulls that are still able to fly and will be working with teams from the USDA and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to see if it is possible to capture them with net guns. They also saw a lot of oil impacting the shore in the South Pass area of the Mississippi River basin. The crews witnessed a large fish kill and unusual floating blobs of oil below the surface of the water. It is assumed that it is oil mixed with dispersant but not confirmed. The situation is disturbing to all of us but we are working within the current structure to provide the best services that we can to help capture and rehabilitate oiled birds. 

In Louisiana we received another Northern Gannet that workmen plucked out of the water in one of the oiled areas. We also received an oiled Laughing Gull and an Oiled Starling. Although all the centers are receiving rehab birds, birds with other injuries but not oiled, no other oiled birds from this spill were captured.

I have been asked to compare this spill with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill many times by the media. The obvious similarities are that large amounts of oil have leaked into a marine environment and therefore the ecosystem is as risk. A few of the differences are:

1. Alaska has hundreds of thousands of surface rafting (resting), diving and feeding birds, (Puffins, Murres, Auklets, Cormorants, Loons etc.) The Gulf of Mexico has fewer surface rafting birds but more plunge feeding birds (pelicans, gannets, terns) but the pelicans and terns spend a lot of time roosting on the outer islands and not on the water. So, impact of large rafts of these birds is unlikely. It’s more a case of individual birds plunging into oily water which is why we are getting gannets and pelicans.

2. The warm weather here allows oiled birds that are still flighted to stay warm for longer periods of time whereas even the smallest amounts of oil that penetrate to the skin of birds in cold climates puts them at immediate vulnerability to hypothermia and therefore death.

3. In Alaska there were many predators such as bald eagles and bears who took many of the oiled birds before we could get to them. In the gulf we do not have those predators on the outer islands but there are coyotes and raccoons on some of the islands.

We now have received 15 oiled birds since this incident began.

Thanks for your interest in our efforts,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has about 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water.

The leak continues to spill oil into Gulf waters and BP has made some progress in plugging the gush of crude from the ocean floor. So far, experts believe the amount of oil in the water has surpassed the 11 million gallons spilled during the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

May 17, 2010

Day 15: From the center of Gulf oiled bird care

After a very small break this weekend in Louisiana, Jay Holcomb is back with his daily updates from the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill response:

Louisiana – On Saturday we had a visit from Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Rebecca Dunne from Tri-State Bird Rescue and I gave him a tour through the Fort Jackson Center and allowed him to get a close up view of our team washing the latest oiled Brown Pelican that we received. The female pelican is a two year old that is a very sweet bird found in Grand Isle to the west of us. She is now outside with the other pelican and doing well, both are eating a lot of fish. 

For the last two days our capture teams in Louisiana were mostly grounded due to intense thunderstorms and lightning strikes on the water. Not safe! We took this time to check out land based pelican and tern roosting areas but no oiled birds were spotted.


The reports we are getting now are about birds out in the deep water oiled areas and on some of the islands but you have to have safe access to those areas. We are wading through politics and weather to get to those places to assess and capture oiled birds.

Yesterday afternoon we did receive an oiled Gannet that was luckily plucked out of the water by a fishing boat that was coming back to the harbor. Its an adult Northern Gannet, heavily oiled and will be washed today. (Photo, above, oiled Northern Gannet)

Alabama – Our oiled bird rehabilitation center in Alabama received 7 sick non-oiled, lethargic brown pelicans and 1 laughing gull from that area. They were discovered soon after a fish die off in the area and there are concerns that they may have botulism and it may be connected to the fish die off. 5 pelicans and the gull are still alive and they are temporarily being cared for at that facility until plans for their transfer to a rehab facility are completed.

Mississippi
– Our center in Gulfport received an oiled Gannet on Saturday and it is doing well. The bird will be washed soon. The center development and problem solving is coming along well.

Florida – Our center in Pensacola received an oiled gannet on Saturday also and it is doing well. The bird will also be washed soon.

Back at Home at our California Bird Rescue centers– It has taken a few weeks for us to get the wildlife centers on line here in the Gulf states and get a handle on this program and to understand and infiltrate ourselves into how its all working in this spill. In the mean time our centers at the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas are in spring mode and getting busier by the day. In that sense this spill could not have come at a worse time.

In order to support our staff and volunteers back at home in Cordelia (Northern California) and San Pedro (Southern California) we are hiring on extra summer help at both centers to make sure that the clinics are supported and run as smoothly as possible.

Also, we will probably be shifting our main clinic rehabilitation staff out to give each of them opportunities to work in the Gulf. We will be evaluating and are developing this plan daily as things progress here in the Gulf and we gain a better idea as to how long we may be staying. I will post more on how we are managing the spill, the centers back home as I have something to more to report.

Thanks for your continued support and words of encouragement,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has about 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers are missing and presumed dead.

May 14, 2010

Day 13 update: New oiled birds in care

The daily update from Thursday, May 13, of oiled wildlife care at the Gulf Oil Spill follows:

Yesterday we received one heavily oiled Brown Pelican at our Ft. Jackson Oiled Wildlife Center that was found near Grande Isle, Louisiana. We are expanding our capture efforts west towards that area. 

Our Gulfport, Mississippi center received one dead oiled Surf Scoter.

Most of the capture team in the Louisiana was grounded for good part of the day due to high winds. Bird search & capture efforts continued in the Mississippi, Alabama areas.

We will keep you updated on any new developments.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers are missing and presumed dead.

>Photo above: Heavily oiled Brown Pelican rescued at Grande Isle, LA on May 13th.

May 13, 2010

Day 12: Alabama Center receives first oiled bird

Here’s the daily update of oiled wildlife care during the Gulf Oil Spill:

On Wednesday the Alabama Oiled Bird Rehabilitation center received its first oiled bird, a Royal Tern. It was captured on Horn Island. Continued efforts to search that island and others in that region are ongoing. 

The other centers did not receive any new oiled birds.

Half of our Search & Collection teams in the Louisiana were grounded yesterday due to high winds and unsafe seas. The other half was able to work some areas near the Eastern side of the Mississippi River delta area and spotted a few oiled pelicans but were unable to capture them.

The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, visited us for a tour at the Fort Jackson Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center.

We will keep you updated on any new developments.

Thanks,

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Ft. Jackson, LA Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

Live oiled birds (intaken in LA since beginning of the spill)
2 brown pelicans
2 northern gannet
1 green heron
1 laughing gull

(one of the live gannets died)

Dead on arrival oiled birds
2 northern gannets
1 magnificent frigatebird

Pensacola, FL Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

Live oiled bird
1 northern gannet

Theodore, AL Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

live oiled bird
1 Royal Tern

Total birds Released: 2 (1 brown pelican, 1 northern Gannet)

May 12, 2010

Day 11: Gulf Spill: Oiled bird care update

On day 11 of IBRRC’s Gulf Oil Spill response, Executive Director Jay Holcomb, has his daily update:

On Tuesday we received an oiled northern gannet from the Grande Isle area to the west and an oiled laughing gull from one of the offshore islands. Unfortunately the gannet died overnight but the gull is doing well as it is lightly oiled. 

We continue to send out our search and collection teams in search of oiled birds. They attempted capture on a few oiled brown pelicans yesterday but the birds were flighted and strong.

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Fort Jackson, Louisiana Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

4 live oiled birds in care
(6 intakes in LA since beginning of the spill)
2 Brown Pelicans
2 Northern Gannet
1 Green Heron
1 Laughing Gull

(one of the live gannets died)

Dead on arrival oiled birds (intakes at LA since beginning of the spill)
2 Northern gannets
1 Magnificent Frigatebird

Pensacola, Floria Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

1 live oiled bird: Northern Gannet

Total birds Released: 2 (1 Brown Pelican, 1 Northern Gannet)

Listen to Jay’s radio interview on KGO-810 News Radio
(2:30 mp3 file)

Thanks again for your continued interest in our efforts,
– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

Wildlife response

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

Tri-State Bird Rescue and International Bird Rescue have responded to a combined total of 400 oil spills. The groups worked together in the Venice Louisiana area to care for
over 200 baby pelicans after crude oil from a broken pipeline was strewn over one of the islands in the Breton Island Refuge during a tropical storm in 2005. They also partnered on a South Africa rescue effort in which 20,000 endangered African Penguins were oiled in 2000.

International Bird Rescue Research Center: http://www.ibrrc.org/
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research: http://www.tristatebird.org/

To report:
• Oiled wildlife: 1-866-557-1401 (Leave a message; checked hourly.)
• Oil spill related damage: 1-800-440-0858
• Oiled shoreline: call 1-866-448-5816.

Background on spill

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers perished in the disaster.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers continue to work feverishly to cap the well, the oil slick is now approaching 4,000 square miles. Booms protecting nearby islands and beaches and chemical dispersants have kept much of the oil from reaching gulf shores. Shifting winds are expected to move more oil toward shore this week.

More on the Oil Spill:

The Times-Picayune

CNN

New York Times

May 12, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Situation Map Update for May 12

The Deepwater Horizon oil blow out continues to frustrate responders as as rough seas today hampered the dispatch of crews to new shorelines impacted by oil, the The Times Picayune said this afternoon.

Louisiana state officials say the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has reached Whiskey Island shoreline – one of the barrier islands off the coast of Terrebonne Parish.

Other areas affected by the slick include South Pass and the Chandeleur Islands.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers are missing and presumed dead.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers work feverishly to cap the well, many officials worry the leak could go on for months. The latest idea is to use a newer, smaller containment box called a “top hat.” It arrived in the Gulf well blowout early today. More news

(Click on the Deepwater Horizon Spill Situation map above or go to the DW Website)

May 11, 2010

Day 10: 2 birds released, readiness continues

On day 10 of IBRRC’s continuing Gulf Oil Spill response, 2 cleaned birds were released in Florida. They are only 3 oiled birds now in care, but as the spill continues to move onshore, the potential for more oiled wildlife is still a strong possibility.

Here’s International Bird Rescue’s Jay Holcomb, with his daily update on our efforts:

Yesterday, May 10, we sent the northern gannet (bird number 1) and the first pelican with a US Fish & Wildlife Service representative to be released in Florida. The release was successful. We are down to 2 live oiled birds in LA (one brown pelican and one green heron). One live gannet remains in care in Florida. 

We are still receiving visits from many facets of the media. We are expecting a visit from the governor of Louisiana today and tomorrow we are hosting Peachy Melancon, wife of Senator Melancon.

Our field teams are still working the outer islands in Louisiana with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and have yet to capture or see any severely oiled wildlife. They have only seen spotty oiled birds that are flighted and appear healthy.

We are still getting many requests for volunteering. As you can see my these blog postings, we are very quiet and are spending our time searching for oiled birds and continuing to set up rehabilitation centers in 4 states in expectation of the worse case scenario which would be if strong winds or storms pushed the oil onto bird breeding islands or in the coastal marshes. The volunteer hotline remains open for people to leave their information on and they will be activated if and when those resources are needed. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Call the volunteer hotline: 1-866-448-5816. More info

This is a very unusual spill as the potential is great but the impact to date has been minimal at least on bird species. So, its a bit of a waiting game but that has given us the time to prepare for a large scale event. I will keep everyone updates as things happen.

In the mean time, we worked on a spill in this area a few months before hurricane Katrina. Read our article about how we cared for over 200 oiled baby pelicans in 2005. That will give you an idea of how we work in this region.

Thanks,
– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. More than 100 workers scrambled off the burning rig in lifeboats. 11 workers perished in the disaster.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers continue to work feverishly to cap the well, the oil slick is now approaching 4,000 square miles. Booms protecting nearby islands and beaches and chemical dispersants have kept much of the oil from reaching gulf shores. Shifting winds are expected to move more oil toward shore this week.

To report:
• Oiled wildlife: 1-866-557-1401 (Leave a message; checked hourly.)
• Oil spill related damage: 1-800-440-0858
• Oiled shoreline: call 1-866-448-5816.

More on the Oil Spill:

The Times-Picayune

CNN

New York Times

May 9, 2010

Two oiled birds, now cleaned, to be released

The first two oiled birds found in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been cleaned and are now recovered and ready for release>

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will release the birds at 4 p.m. Monday, May 10, at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Atlantic coast northeast of Vero Beach, Florida. Directions

Please note: Accredited media wishing to cover the release of the birds should be at Centennial Tower in the refuge by 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 10.

The birds are a Northern Gannet and a Brown Pelican. The Gannet, a young male nicknamed “Lucky” by the workers who rescued him, was found April 27 in the Gulf near the source of the link. Clean-up workers on a boat reached out to him with a pole and he jumped on it. He was brought to the Bird Rehabilitation Facility at Ft. Jackson, Louisiana, on April 30.

The Tri-State Bird Rescue team, which includes the International Bird Rescue Research Center, evaluated Lucky and found he was about 80 percent oiled, giving him an orange appearance. He was thin and dehydrated, so wildlife veterinarian Dr. Erica Miller gave him intravenous fluids several times, as well as oral fluids and Pepto-Bismol for oil he may have ingested. He was washed with a Dawn detergent solution on May 1, and has been in an outdoor pool for a few days now, gaining weight.

The pelican, also a young male, was found May 3 on Stone Island in Breton Sound on the Louisiana coast by a team that included personnel from the Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Minerals Management Service. He was taken to the Ft. Jackson facility by helicopter the day he was rescued. He was thin and moderately oiled over his whole body. The Tri-State Bird Rescue Team, and wildlife veterinarian Dr. Miller treated him with IV and oral fluids, and started hand-feeding fish to him the first day. He was washed on 4 May and has been in an outside pool for several days, gaining weight.

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge was the nation’s first wildlife refuge, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. It was selected as the release site because it is located within the Indian River Lagoon, the most biologically diverse estuary in the United States. It has a large population of Gannets and Pelicans for the two rescued birds to join, and is out of the current oil spill trajectory.

The birds will be released by Dr. Sharon K. Taylor, a veterinarian and Environmental Contaminants Division Chief for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Directions to the refuge are available at:
http://www.fws.gov/pelicanisland/visiting/directions.html