Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘Cordelia’

August 2, 2008

Starving young pelican numbers grow: Help!

The number of young pelicans sick and starving arriving at IBRRC’s two bird centers continues to grow.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s executive director, has issued a plea to the public for help in treating these birds. The fish bill alone is at least $750 a day between the two centers. You can help by adopting a pelican or becoming a pelican partner to assist us in our long-term support for these endangered animals. Read his urgent appeal

More than 150 pelicans have been delivered to the Cordelia/Fairfield and San Pedro Centers in the past six weeks. Dedicated staff and the wonderful volunteers at both centers continue to assist these wonderful birds.

Most of the birds are weak due to lack of food and some have more serious injuries, according to Holcomb. He says it’s not uncommon for the centers to treat ailing pelicans during the summer months. This year the numbers are definitely up and partly this can be attributed a successful nesting season for pelicans in the Channel Islands.

Some good news

The good news today is that some of the earlier arrivals have been stabilized with fish and TLC and are being released. Six California Brown Pelicans were turned back to the wild Saturday afternoon at Fort Baker’s Horseshoe Cove in Sausalito.

Media reports:

Influx of rescued pelicans in California: ABC News

Pelicans nursed back to health: Vacaville Reporter

Pelicans released back to the wild: The Daily Breeze photos

March 30, 2008

New 100-ft pelican aviary at SF Bay Center

Recuperating pelicans in Northern California now have a better place to stretch their wings after the construction of a new 100-foot flight aviary at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay Center located in Fairfield.

In 2007, thanks to a generous grant from the Green Foundation and funding from the California Department of Fish and Game, IBRRC designed and built the aviary at the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center. The center is managed by IBRRC as part of Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) treating oiled, injured and sick aquatic birds year-round in the Northern California area and beyond.

The critical need for an extra large aviary to care for pelicans and other large birds has always been known. It became even more evident in 2002 when IBRRC treated over 200 sick brown pelicans.

This is IBRRC’s second aviary on the west coast. In 2001, the first large pelican aviary was built and operates at the Los Angeles Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center in San Pedro, CA. In seven years it has housed over a 1,000 Brown and White Pelicans and many other sea bird species including Cormorants, Terns, Gulls, Frigatebirds, Albatross and Boobies.

See more info on IBRRC in San Pedro

November 17, 2007

Washing birds of oil: Almost there

Note: This is Jay Holcomb’s latest update from inside the bird rehabilitation center in Cordelia:

We currently have about 970 Live birds at the center and over 200 of them have made it to the pools and are reconditioning their feathers, eating and resting. By no means are they home free but they are 75% through the rehabilitation process.

People think it’s all about washing the birds. Well, that clearly is an important part of the process but the care they get prior to wash and after the wash is equally as important. I wanted to explain why the pool time is so important to these birds. Here we go.

Aquatic birds have the amazing ability to live in very cold climates. This is because they have an insulating coat of feathers that protects them from the elements. When they get oiled, the feathers matt and the birds are exposed to the cold. Their aquatic environment, the one thing that provided safety, now becomes the main factor that plays into their demise. They are forced to get out of the water and become vulnerable to predators and weather conditions. Hopefully they are captured and cared for by groups like IBRRC who have experience in doing this work.

Fast forward to the wash

When we wash the birds we remove all the petroleum from their feathers and they are 100% clean. They go from the wash tub to the rinse station and there the soap, in our case Dawn dishwashing liquid, is rinsed thoroughly out of their feathers. The most amazing thing happens. As we rinse the soap out of their feathers with high pressure nozzles, their feathers actually become dry. So in essence we are drying their feathers with clean hot water. Its pretty cool and we are always amazed at their feathers natural ability to repel water.

When the rinsing process is complete and all of the soap out of the feathers, the bird goes immediately into a drying pen. There the bird is dried with warm air from pet dryers. The same dryers used in grooming dogs. After the bird is 100% dry it goes into a pool and begins to swim, eat, bathe and preen its feathers. Each feather has microscopic barbs and barbule hookelets that are woven together during the preening process creating a water tight barrier and since the feathers are naturally repelling water, they all work together to provide an overall insulative barrier on the birds body like shingles on a roof.

Here is the biggest misconception:
People think that we or the birds have to restore their natural oils. That is incorrect. Birds feathers are naturally waterproof as proven in the rinse. So, all the bird has to do is preen and get its feathers back in alignment and our job is to make sure the bird is clean and monitored while it is going through this process. The natural oils are really a conditioning agent that come from a gland at the base of the tail. Its called the uropygial gland and it aids in long term feather conditioning.

So, we move the birds in and out of the pools as they get their feathers aligned and become waterproof. Once they are waterproof and can stay in the pools then they are well on their way to release. They have to eat, rest. exercise, we need to monitor them for anemia, weight gain etc. but the waterproofing process is intense and I wanted to explain it as best I could so people understand a bit of the process.

Next time I will talk about the criteria we use for release of the birds.

Thanks everyone for your support and well wishes. We are grateful beyond words.

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

November 17, 2007

970 birds now in care; 496 washed of oil

Latest numbers on the oiled bird response:

970 live birds in care
496 washed of oil
268 died/euthanized

1,113 found dead in the field*

*Animals found dead include:
401 visibly oiled
217 unoiled
495 unassessed
2 raccoons

Most of the birds treated include Scoters, Scaups, Grebes, Loons and Cormorants. A complete list of birds affected by the spill will be compiled at the end of the response.

Wildlife rescue crews comprised of IBRRC response team members, OWCN participants and wardens from California Fish & Game continue to comb the bay and beaches to collect oiled birds for treatment. Most of the avian victims are weak and need of immediate attention.

All of the birds are being treated at the OWCN’s San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center in Cordelia.

Miles of beaches remain closed after the 810-foot container ship Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog on Nov. 7, spilling 58,000 gallons of oil into the bay.

Full story on the oiled bird response

Updated numbers from OWCN: Friday 10:30 PM, November 16, 2007.