Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘birds released’

August 29, 2010

Hopeful signs: More oil spill birds released

As we approach the 5th month of bird rescue at the BP Oil Spill, Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director, is back with a new update on the continuing response in four Gulf states:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This past week we released more than 150 clean birds after successful rehabilitation at the ongoing Gulf Oil Spill bird rescue. They were returned to the wild on Rabbit Island, another clean bird nesting island in western Louisiana.

We’ve had a fair amount of storm activity in the last few weeks and have had to schedule bird releases around heavy wind and rain. That’s unfortunate for us but will not impact the birds who can wait a few extra days before they return to the wild. We have made the best use of that time by providing live fish for them to eat so the young pelicans can continue to play and develop hunting skills as they plunge feed and chase live minnows in their pools.

Why are we still getting oiled birds?

While the number of oiled birds has slowed down tremendously, and especially in the last month, we are still receiving fledgling pelicans, gulls and terns. These fledgling birds became oiled while they were playing and bathing in the puddles in the inland areas or on the shorelines of small islands. In July a strong storm surge pushed oil onto some of the nesting islands in the Grande Isle area. These islands are primarily made up of sand, gravel and shell and the highest elevations are typically no more than 4 feet high.

Some islands have low growing mangrove forests and many of the islands are covered with tall grasses. The storm surges pushed oil through the grasses and mangroves and much of it settled in shallow inlets and pools that are located throughout the inner areas of the islands. Some of these young birds have been oiled for a while and the only reason they survived was because the warm weather and hot sand allowed them to stay warm.

As they begin to fledge and hang out on the edges of their islands they are easier to capture without frightening the other birds. Since early July we have received around 500 oiled fledglings. We not only have to wash and rehabilitate them, we must take over the role of their parents and help them to learn to eat on their own and become decent hunters and foragers. That is where the live fish and other stimulating foods come in. So, in essence we are now operating a nursery and classroom for the feathered orphans of the spill. The birds now ready to be released have graduated to a state where we think they have a good chance for survival. They may be delayed for a few days but when they are ready they will be released into colonies of their species so that they can pick up where they left off in the education.

Watch: Video of young Brown Pelicans feeding on minnows

As of August 29, 2010 the Tri-State Bird Rescue and IBRRC Response Team have successfully cleaned and released 1,129 healthy birds back to the wild in Texas, SW Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. See: Updated bird numbers

Also you can follow IBRRC’s ongoing rescue efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

We continue to remain hopeful and part of that comes from your encouragement and continuing support.

Sincerely,

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

August 11, 2010

62 clean, healthy Gulf oil spill birds released

It has been a tremendously rewarding week for us oiled bird carers at the Hammond, Louisiana bird care facility. In the last seven days we have released 197 clean, healthy birds back to the wild. At 2:00 AM this morning, 62 healthy birds were loaded into carriers and transported to the Atchafalaya State Wildlife Refuge for release. See photo, above, of Roseate Spoonbill being released.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries personnel released the rehabilitated birds — including Roseate Spoonbills, Skimmers, Gulls, and Terns.

This was the fourth bird release within the State of Louisiana. To date, more than 800 birds have been released throughout the Gulf Coast since the BP oil spill began in April 2010.

To top off the busy day, we were honored with a visit to the Hammond center from Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the oil spill response.

Toward the end of the day we were preparing for possible bad weather that is approaching. There’s a storm off the Gulf Coast that has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical storm.

Meanwhile, our youngest baby pelican is doing really well. In picture he’s playing with a stick. Playing with sticks and grass and mimicking nest building keeps the baby pelicans busy throughout the day. Soon this youngster will have another pelican about the same age to interact with. It’s one of about 150 or so oiled birds that have been admitted for care in the last week. Right now this bird shares his pen with some older juvenile pelicans.

November 5, 2009

More slimed birds released; 200 back in wild

International Bird Rescue released 16 more healthy slime-free seabirds back into the wild today following a massive algae bloom incident off the coast of Oregon. Airlifted to safety by the U.S. Coast Guard, the rescue mission, which has united wildlife organizations and Bay Area residents, has saved the lives of hundreds of migratory birds.

IBRRC’s dedicated staff and volunteers have been working around the clock for more than a week in an unusual rescue mission that had all of the casualties but none of the financial resources usually available to save wildlife when oil is to blame. Instead, rescuers turned to the public to help save these seabirds from a life-threatening algal foam. Donate now

“We knew we had the expertise to help these animals,” said Jay Holcomb, Director of International Bird Rescue, “but it has been the incredible support we have received from wildlife groups, businesses and the public as well as access to a purpose-built oiled wildlife facility that is making this possible.”

“We also want to particularly acknowledge the tremendous support of the Coast Guard who airlifted most of these birds to California,” added Holcomb. “They made a real difference to this mission and we were so saddened to hear that colleagues of that crew were involved in the crash near San Diego. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of everyone involved.”

By the end of this week over 200 seabirds will have returned to the wild to continue their southern migration, the remainder leaving the San Francisco Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center (SFBOCEC) in the coming days. International Bird Rescue is still seeking donations to support the rescue effort, which is likely to continue for at least another week.

More info about Sea Slime ’09

October 5, 2008

Making history: 372 Penguins released in Brazil

Thanks to the combined efforts of NGOs and the Brazilian government, 372 rehabilitated juvenile Magellanic penguins this week were airlifted and the released back to the wild in southern Brazil. This was a history making release: It’s the largest group of these penguins to ever be released in this country at one time.

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 372 Magellanic penguins yesterday, 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. There are still 40 birds finishing their rehabilitation that will be released in the coming days.

The stranding of the penguins, because of poor food stocks, left them in extremely poor body condition. According to penguin researcher, Dr. Dee Boersma, there is a flow of warmer water (1° C higher than normal) which has caused the juvenile penguins to keep going north, past their usual range, where they are unable to find adequate food. There is always a high mortality rate for first year birds but this increased northerly range and lack of available food had increased the normal mortality rate for this group of 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).

July 19, 2008

More cleaned birds return to wild in Uruguay

Good news following last month’s oil spill in South America: 40 cleaned penguins returned to their ocean home today off the coast of Maldonado, Uruguay. A giant petrel was released earlier in the month.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Emergency Response Team and the local group SOCOBIOMA (Society for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Maldonado), led a coalition of NGOs tasked with this oiled wildlife response in South America.

All animals are tagged with IFAW bands, which will allow veterinarians and other specialists to monitor the animals after their release. ‘The information we receive on their condition, whereabouts, or even if they are stricken by another spill will let us continue our research into relevant conservation studies with these species’ said Valeria Ruoppolo of IFAW.

Seabirds are especially vulnerable to oiling. Losing their waterproofing abilities, penguins and other birds are forced out of the chilly waters in a state of hypothermia, leading to dehydration and starvation.

More than 14,000 cubic meters of fuel oil were spilled when two tankers collided 12 miles (20 km) from the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. The Greek oil tanker Syros and Maltese-registered Sea Bird reportedly crashed into each other while trying to avoid a collision with a third vessel. The 24 mile-long spill drifted towards Buenos Aires and shortly after, oiled-covered birds began surfacing in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Other groups involved with the rescue of oiled birds affected by this spill include CRAM/MO-FURG (Center for the Recovery of Marine Animals) in Brazil, FMM (Fundacion Mundo Marino) and FPN (Fundacion Patagonia Natural) of Argentina.

‘This spill affected hundreds of birds around the region. Close to 150 Magellanic penguins, 4 Great grebes and 1 Giant petrel were cared for by IFAW and SOCOBIOMA alone. Due to the magnitude of this disaster, oiled penguins have surfaced in Brazil, where 56 Magellanic penguins are being rehabilitated by CRAM”, added Ruoppolo. ‘The 40 penguins that went back to the wild today were cleared for release after passing several physical requirements including blood tests, weight and body condition, waterproof feathers and other necessary characteristics we always take into consideration.’

IFAW’s Emergency Relief (ER) Team is managed cooperatively by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) which brings over 35 years of experience responding to oiled wildlife. The team is comprised of leaders in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, biology, veterinary medicine and management who are professionals from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, UK and USA. In 2000 the team jointly led the response to the Treasure Oil Spill in Cape Town, South Africa, with Sanccob, which was the largest of its kind. This required a three-month operation involving 12,000 volunteers and ultimately of the 20,000 oiled African penguins, 90% were released back into the wild.

The IFAW ER Team has attended more than 25 major oil spill wildlife disasters around the world in recent years. IFAW’s ER team now has such experience that it is recognized as having a global presence that supersedes other oiled wildlife response organizations.

January 24, 2008

Penguins released back to the wild in Argentina

The wildlife response teams working in Patagonia released the first 30 penguins washed of oil today.

“It was very emotional for volunteers and all other groups involved. About 50 or so should be ready on Saturday, said Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director. “There are about 190 penguins left so we are beginning to see the end.”


More than 400 birds including penguins, grebes, cormorants and steamer ducks have been treated at the makeshift oiled bird rehabilitation center along the Patagonia coast in southern Argentina.

A spill occurred on December 27, 2007 at a oil tanker loading facility. An unknown amount of oil spilled over a four kilometer area. The team is still seeing slicks of oil come ashore.

January 19, 2008

Good news from Argentina oil spill response

The first bunch of grebes cleaned of oil at the Patagonia mystery spill in Argentina were released this week.

In all, 14 Great Grebes were set free into the wild. At least 50 volunteers showed up to celebrate the release. They have been working with the IBRRC/IFAW response team to help remove the oil from the bird’s feathers following the December 26, 2007 spill.

According to IBRRC’s Executive Director, Jay Holcomb who has been working on the spill for 10 days: “Lots of tears and thank yous…They lost over 200 grebes. There are about 38 more grebes left at the center. We think most will be released in a few days.”

See Argentina IBRRC’s spill response web page