Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘bird release’

February 20, 2010

Staggering Number of Sick Brown Pelicans Flood Bird Rescue Centers

Hundreds of Brown Pelicans filled flight aviaries at both of Bird Rescue’s wildlife centers. Photo: International Bird Rescue

International Bird Rescue admitted a staggering 435 wet and sick California Brown Pelicans since January 1, 2010.

The good news is that more than 200 pelicans have been released back into the wild.

At our Los Angeles bird center, 101 live pelicans currently are in care. The San Francisco Bay center has approximately 20.

Wet, sick and dying pelicans have been flooding into Bird Rescue’s wildlife centers following the heavy rains, flooding and pollution from run-off that hit the California coast in early January 2010. As seabird specialists, Bird Rescue is doing its best to treat as many of these sick, cold and wet wildlife casualties at both of its California seabird rescue clinics.

The public has responded to our call for monetary help and donated supplies to assist this unprecedented rescue.

The influx of sick and starving pelicans garnered many media stories in 2010.

November 12, 2009

2009 – Dubai Star – San Francisco, CA

Ten birds were released by OWCN personnel and volunteers back into the wild this afternoon after successful treatment following oiling in Dubai Star oil spill in San Francisco Bay.

The birds included five American Coots, two Western/Clark’s Grebes, a Eared Grebe, a Horned Grebe and a Greater Scaup). The healthy birds were set free in Berkeley.

A total of 49 live oiled birds have been captured following the tanker spill on October 30, 2009 about 2 1/2 miles south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. At least 20 birds have been found dead after spill that leaked up to 800 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay.

The birds are being treated in Fairfield at the San Francisco Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center (SFBOCEC) that is co-managed by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network and International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC).

You can see more updates on the OWCN Blog

Photo courtesy: OWCN

September 12, 2009

Video: Bird release at Blue Planet Film Fest

Release of 6 birds back to the wild at Santa Monica Beach as part of the Blue Planet Film Festival. Thanks to Paul Kelway for the video work.

May 15, 2009

Cleaned of oil, White Pelicans released in Australia

We got a nice note from our compatriot, Mike “Shorty” Short, from Australia this week. He’s sharing a photo and news of the successful rehabilitation of beautiful White Pelicans after the Moreton oil spill:

We released the 13 pelicans yesterday – from a total of 16 animals in captive care – rest released earlier except for 1 that was euthanased that was not in relation to the spill or captive care issues.

I am still involved with the spill dealing with environmental matters for the response though most now relate to one of the wetlands and cleanup up of staging areas and revegetation of damaged dune plant communities.

At week nine all is going well though looking forward to the down hill run to completion that should only be a few more weeks



Mike works for the Queensland government as the Manager – Incident Response Unit for the Department of Environment & Resource Management.

The pelicans were oiled in March at the Moreton Bay oil spill that struck in one of Australia’s worst oil disasters. A cyclone slammed cargo ship, Pacific Adventurer leaked 270,000 litres of fuel into Moreton Bay, blackening beaches on Moreton and Bribie islands and along the Sunshine Coast.

October 13, 2008

Video report on release of 373 penguins in Brazil

If you never witnessed the remarkable and heartwarming release of rehabilitated penguins, check out this video from CNN:

The Magellanic Penguins were flown on a Brazilian military C-130 Hercules transport plane. In all, 373 young penguins were rescued, rehabilitated and released last weekend after their search for food left them stranded, hundreds of miles from their usual feeding grounds.

Animal-welfare activists loaded the birds onto a Brazilian air force cargo plane and flew them 1,550 miles to the country’s southern coast, where a crowd of onlookers celebrated as the penguins marched back into the sea.

“We are overjoyed to see these penguins waddle back to the ocean and have a second chance at life,” said veterinarian Dr. Valeria Ruoppolo of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the group that oversaw the rescue.

An IFAW ER Team, along with colleagues from Center for the Recovery of Marine Animals (CRAM), Institute for Aquatic Mammals (IMA) and the environmental authority in Brazil, IBAMA, released the penguins in early October, making history as the largest group of these penguins to ever be released in Brazil at one time. All of the birds were banded with Federal bands and the Federal Banding authority, CEMAVE, came to work with the ER Team and others to learn about banding penguins.

This effort is part of The Penguin Network which partner in South America with local organizations and is co-managed by IBRRC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Read the full story on CNN.Com

February 13, 2008

Beautiful video of Frigatebird release

Marie Travers of IBRRC’s Northern California bird center pointed me to a really beautiful video of the Frigatebird released on Catalina Island in Southern California.

More press on the release:

San Francisco Chronicle

The Vacaville Reporter

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Vallejo Times Herald

February 7, 2008

Successful Frigatebird release at Catalina Island

Without much fanfare, the juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird that was found in Sonoma County last month and then came to IBRRC with a lot of interest by birders and the media was successfully released Tuesday, February 5 on the cliffs at the backside of Santa Catalina Island.

Marie Travers, IBRRC’s Assistant Rehabilitation Manager at IBRRC’s Cordelia rehabilitation center said that the release, “Could not have gone any better”. Which was a relief for all who have taken care of the bird for the last month. The bird flew out of its cage and circled in the air for a long time, eventually flying away.

Why was the release so secretive? This was somewhat intentional for the sole reason that with pelagic birds such as Frigatebirds, Albatrosses and Boobies we are always cautious about how they will react when released and we have had birds crash, get confused, sit on small rocks to incubate them and so on and we have had to bring birds back to the center until they could get their bearings.

We really did not feel we could schedule a press event with the logistical challenges we had in getting the bird to Southern California, out on a boat (26 miles off the coastline) and to a spot where the winds would help it take off, in between storms and so on. We also felt that it was important to give the bird the best opportunity to get back into its intended environment (the open ocean but from land in case there was a problem) without the immediate challenge of fighting a storm or strong winds.

The warmer climate of Southern California and the lesser risk of a storm played heavily in our decision to release the bird in the best place possible for its reintroduction back into the wild. We also had to coordinate this release between oil spills and our heavy winter bird loads at both centers.

We never did discover why the bird was so skinny and weak when it was found in a tree in Sonoma. That has been a concern to us as the bird could have some ongoing issue that we don’t know about that prevented it from eating and as a rehabilitator we always look for clues as to “why” the bird was starving. Not just that it was starving. But, our staff, who I cannot praise enough, literally nursed the bird back to health and the fact that once it gained a bit of strength and then rapidly improved suggested that something had prevented the bird from eating, therefore coming in in a weak state. We have seen this with birds that had fishing hooks and line in or on them or birds that were kept in cages for long periods of time and they released but were too weak to care for themselves. Certainly something caused its starvation and we ruled out disease and other health issues after examining the bird and taking blood and fecal samples. So, it will always be a mystery as to why this bird showed up weak and confused on a tree in Sonoma. It did pass its release evaluation with means that it has perfect blood parameters, perfect waterproofing, had the ability to fly as it took short flights around its cage in Cordelia, was bright alert and aggressive (no problem there) and it had gained all its weight back.

As Marie and Monte, who had cared for and forced fed the bird daily, said to me last Thursday when I returned from an oil spill in Argentina, “this bird is ready to go ” implying that it has become aggressive and was as equally done with us as our staff was with it. Often birds that are ready to return to the wild and have completed their rehabilitation let you know in not so subtle ways like biting, flying intensively and so on. So, for all intents and purposes it was back to “normal” and we made arrangements for its release.

I want to thank everyone involved in the rehabilitation of this bird, from capture to release, for your patience with us and your interest in the bird and in IBRRC. We have had an unprecedented 3 months of oil spills, heavy influx of birds due to the storms and other factors and we are already over 200 bird intakes in our center in Cordelia this year. Last year we hit that number in late March so you can see we have been busy. We are also rehabilitating over 35 oiled western grebes at our center in San Pedro as I write this. These birds are oiled from natural seep oil along the coast that was assumed stirred up by the recent storms in the area. I also must take this opportunity to say to all of you reading this that, as our Media Relations Specialist, Karen Benzel, puts it, “these birds do not come in with credit cards or a bank account”. Their care is funded by donations to IBRRC and that is the bottom line. We cannot do this work without public support.

The bird has been banded and if we ever hear back about it we will inform everyone. Lets hope we never hear from it again. We are working to keep everyone abreast of our work throughout the year, invite people on interesting releases and open the center up a bit more for visitations by birding and other groups who are interested in seeing our work and the birds close up.

I am a birder myself and I love watching the more fortunate ones in the wild but I know the value of what IBRRC brings by rehabilitating wild birds that often are here because of something a human or humans have done to cause it injury or displacement. Over 80% of our patients are victims of us, humans. I want to be honest and public about my goal of having all birders become members of IBRRC and other rehabilitation organizations in your area. For an annual basic membership of $25 you can greatly contribute to the birds that you and I enjoy watching in their natural environment and I encourage you to do this. It also gives us income that we can rely on to do this work. The Frigatebird alone cost the center over $1,500 to care for and all contributions are appreciated. Membership information

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director

February 3, 2008

Frigatebird to be released in Southern California

The wayward Magnificent Frigatebird that was spotted in a tree in Healdsburg, CA after being blown off course by relentless storms in January, will be released back into the wild in Southern California early this week. The male juvenile Frigatebird is in route this weekend to be set free Monday or Tuesday on the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast.

This large tropical bird which is rarely seen in Northern California has spent nearly a month at IBRRC’s Cordelia bird center gaining weight and getting some much needed R & R. It arrived at the center 400 grams underweight and below its core temperature, in critical condition. Today it is 1150 grams, strong and in good health.

This was only the second Frigatebird treated by IBRRC in its 37 year history. Frigatebirds, who are also know as “pirate birds,” usually live in warmer climates such as the Galapagos Islands area. The bird was found along the Russian River in Healdsburg on January 4, 2008 by locals, John and Dana Naber.

Several organizations and individuals participated in different phases including ID, rescue and a month long rehabilitation effort. Many thanks to all the helped along the way!

Recent stories:

San Francisco Chronicle

See the video report

IBRRC’s website page on the Magnificent Frigatebird

December 13, 2007

Cleaned of oil, Red-tailed Hawks back home

In the “lets make it right” category. Please take a look at the wonderful release of two young red-tailed hawks oiled in the aftermath of the Cosco Busan oil spill last month. They were cleaned of oil at our facility in Cordelia and spent weeks in treatment at WildCare in San Rafael.

As many know already, raptors saw the spill as a golden opportunity to feed on oiled, weak and dying birds along the San Francisco Bay shorelines. What came natural to theses hawks probably has killed many more.

The release of these lucky red-tails this week is testimony to the power of humans trying to heal the balance of nature that we all have altered.

The photos and audio are from Jeff Vendsel a gifted photographer at the Marin Indepedent Journal. See the slide show

Read the full story

December 6, 2007

Update: 347 birds released back into wild

Nearly a month after oil spilled into San Francisco Bay, oiled wildlife experts continue to rehabilitate and release oiled birds. To date, 347 washed birds have been set free. Video of bird release

There have been nearly 2,400 confirmed deaths since the Cosco Busan container ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 7 and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker crude oil. At least 1,750 arrived dead following the spill. Another 650 died or were euthanized during care at the OWCN/IBRRC Cordelia bird center.

Avian experts and biologist fear that 5 to 10 times the amount of bird deaths may actually end up taking place. That death figure estimates are based on birds that may have landed in the oil and then flown out of the area to die. San Francisco Chronicle story

My thanks to IBRRC volunteer Jean Shirley for the bird release photo and video.