Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘audubon’

October 14, 2010

Audubon Gulf spill report: Birds still at risk

Our friends at Audubon, the national bird advocacy group, has an excellent report out this week entitled: Oil and Birds: Too Close for Comfort. The 28 page illustrated report details the lasting effects from the nation’s largest maritime disaster from the BP oil leak on the Louisiana’s Coast and its avian residents.

The Audubon Society says the residual oil and chemicals from BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster still pose substantial risks to birds that breed or nest along hard-hit areas of the Louisiana coast.

“People shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that the danger to birds and the environment is over just because the oil stopped flowing,” said Audubon President & CEO David Yarnold. “It’s going to take years of monitoring just to understand and start dealing with the long-term impacts of the oil — and they’re just part of a much bigger threat.”

The offshore oil drilling rig exploded and sank in April 2010 about 45 miles off the Louisiana coast. After 87 days of leaking 200+ million gallons of crude, the rig was finally capped. More than 8100 birds were officially affected by the spill. Of those, 6100 were collected dead. IBRRC worked with Tri-State Bird Rescue to help stabilize, treat and clean as many oiled birds as possible. More than 1,200 birds were released back to the wild.

See the Audubon press release.

To read the full report, download it here. (PDF 4 MB)

April 23, 2009

Good news: Owens Lake bird life improving

A bit of good news in the bird world is always welcome and this month the spotlight is on Owens Lake on the eastern side of the Sierras. The Los Angeles Times has a very upbeat piece documenting the increased counts of migrating birds at the Central California lake.

For many years the lake was a dusty mess as water was diverted to thirsty Southern California. At one time the lake was 30 feet deep. In 2001 the LA Water agency finally acted to control a huge dust problem. They now flood the 100 square mile lake bed with ankle deep water and thus encourage birds and their insect prey to proliferate.

At this year’s bird count, organized by Audubon volunteers, the numbers of all species were up from last.

Read the entire story: Bird census at Owens Lake shows nature returning

February 11, 2009

Another wake up call: Global warming and birds

If you’ve been on the fence regarding global warming, here’s a sobering Audubon California report that should move you to some sort of action.

The study released Tuesday finds that California will lose significant numbers of its native birds as the continuing shifts in climate change quickly shrinks the range and habitat of more than 100 species. See Audubon website

According to the report:

Climate change is already pushing species globally poleward and higher in elevation. In California, directional changes in climate during the 20th century were substantial. Throughout this period, and in the centuries before, California also experienced cyclical changes as a result of a weather pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation4. Hence, bird species in California have managed to survive various forms of past climate change, often by shifting their distributions around the state. But will they be able to continue to respond to future changes of a much larger magnitude?

Two factors argue that they will not. The first is that our current network of protected lands was not designed to buffer species, communities, and whole ecosystems against large-scale processes like climate change. The second is that the major climate variables influencing species’ distributions are expected to change so quickly that even highly mobile species like birds will be unable to keep pace. Hence, future climate change threatens California’s birds with massive range reductions and, in extreme cases, statewide extirpations and global extinctions.

These dire predictions are based on models of future climates, and serve as a companion to a nation-wide Audubon Society study. Using data collected over the past 40 years, that study concluded that 177 bird species in the U.S. are spending the winter farther north because of a warming world.

In California, scientists worry that the quickly warming climate might not only force certain species to move northward, but wipe out others that are not quick to adapt.

At IBRRC our observation and treatment of sick Brown Pelicans these last two months seems to support our concerns. In fall 2008, Pelicans spent longer in the north where fish stocks seem to be more plentiful. When the weather changed quickly in Oregon and Washington, they got stuck in freezing temperatures and fled south. Some got off course and other died in route. Over 200 ended up being treated at our California bird centers. See: Update on California Brown Pelicans in distress

All is not lost. The study suggests that if we can significantly curb our output of greenhouse gas emissions (cars, factories) and invest in conservation (walk, bus, bike, invest in a lower wattage footprint) we can greatly reduce the damage.

Come on folks, this is not a drill. Our health, planet and bird’s lives depend on us to get off our butts!

Read: Curbing greenhouse gas emissions will reduce future California bird loss (PDF download)

February 7, 2009

Rossmoor votes to shoot more acorn woodpeckers

After months of anger with woodpeckers damaging property and causing noise, two Rossmoor homeowner’s associations have voted again to shoot and kill more woodpeckers around its homes.

The homeowners groups received a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last summer to kill up to 50 Acorn Woodpeckers in the hope of driving them away from their neighborhoods. At least 20 woodpeckers have already been killed in an earlier government sanctioned action.

Rossmoor is retirement community, located in Walnut Creek area about 25 miles east of San Francisco, with nearly 9,000 residents in million dollar condominium homes. Its situated in an oaks woodland area that is beloved by lots of creatures.

According to news reports, the Rossmoor residents have spent $170,000 trying to scare the birds away. They’ve used recordings of screeching falcons and hawks. They tacked Mylar to the sides of homes. They even painted homes with a special paint that purports to frighten birds away. The birds still continue to annoy residents.

People from all over the country have called and written asking Rossmoor homeowners to reconsider the last resort of shooting the birds. Even the folks from the Audubon Society’s Mt. Diablo chapter stepped in to offer assistance in humanely scaring the birds away. But late last month they rescinded its offer after the residents voted to begin shooting. Audubon even asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to take away the group’s shooting permit.

More than a few people have pointed out that killing these birds is futile. Another group will move in soon enough. The birds will also continue to store acorns in buildings that have been built too close to open woodlands where trees have been removed for development.

See Gary Bogue’s column: Killing acorn woodpeckers creates worse problems

Some have complained that not all deterrents to the birds drilling in buildings has been carried out. Wildlife groups are petitioning politicians and government agencies to stop the killings.

The Acorn Woodpecker are super industrious and will use all types of structures to store acorns. They will drill holes in fence posts, utility poles, buildings, and even automobile radiators. Woodpeckers even stored 485 lbs of acorns into a Arizona wooden water tank. See more on the Cornell University’s All About Birds website

News report: Woodpeckers in a peck of trouble at Rossmoor

Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek

February 7, 2009

Thanks to the Mount Diablo Audubon Society

Executive Director Jay Holcomb was warmly welcomed by more than 90 members of the Mount Diablo Audubon Society (MDAS) on Feb. 5th for a brief retrospective talk about IBRRC.

Jay’s discussion was arranged by Alice Holmes and Mike and Cecil Williams, owners of Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill, and all officers in the MDAS.

The Audubon group made a very generous $2,000 donation to IBRRC’s bird rescue efforts. Vice President Mike Williams made the presentation.

“We thank the MDAS and Mike, Cecil and Alice for arranging this talk,” says Laurie Pyne, IBRRC’s Development Director and Board Member. “We appreciate the new knowledge that comes with sharing information and look forward to future collaborations.”

See: Mount Diablo Audubon Society

November 19, 2007

Richardson Bay Audubon’s spill response

There’s a great video report on the efforts to rescue oiled birds by th folks at Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Santuary. The video includes a first person account from Brooke Langston, who is the center’s director.

If you haven’t visited this area of San Francisco Bay, I recommend it. It’s an important feeding area for migratory birds. The Sanctuary’s 900 acres are closed to boating and other public use from Oct 1 – March 31. Birders get a first hand look at the amazing diversity up of birdlife up near Tiburon.

The tremendous damage to the San Francisco Bay from the November 7th oil spill will be with us for some time. But it’s comforting to know the group’s like this have been doing their part in search and collection and will continue to monitor the the fragile bay.

See the video report

See the Richardson Bay center’s website