Every Bird Matters
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Posts Tagged ‘ibrrc’

March 5, 2011

Gulf Spill: Working Together for Wildlife Award

Emergency response teams from International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and three other wildlife organizations have received national recognition for collaborative care of oiled animals during the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill.

The Marlys J. Bulander Working Together for Wildlife Award was presented to IBRRC, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. The announcement was made at the annual National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) meeting in Albany, New York.

This award is given to those who have brought together individuals, organizations, rehabilitation facilities, and agencies in a cooperative effort to make a positive difference for wildlife.

The four organizations joined forces to care for the thousands of birds and other animals affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 off the coast of Louisiana. Together they built, organized and ran four oiled bird rehabilitation centers – the first in Ft. Jackson, Louisiana and second in Hammond, LA. The others were set up in Alabama and Mississippi. They also helped manage oiled wildlife stabilization sites at Grand Isle, Venice, and Intra-Coastal City, LA.

IBRRC had about 90 members of its response team helping in four states in the Gulf of Mexico region. This collaborative effort has led to the release of 1,170 birds to date.

NWRA judges praised the speed and purpose with which the teams responded to the largest oil spill in United States history, as more than 200 million gallons of crude spilled from a ruptured drilling rig 45 miles off the Louisiana coast.

IBRRC is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and is a world leader in oiled wildlife emergency response, rehabilitation, research and education. Its team of specialists has led rescue efforts in over 200 oil spills in 11 States, two U.S. territories, and 7 different countries.

IBRRC is equally proud of the care it provides to the more than 5,000 injured, hungry, or orphaned birds that come into its two California wildlife care centers each year. It is committed to ensuring that every bird impacted by changes to their environment is given hope to survive and thrive.

January 18, 2011

Remembering the 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill

From clockwise, an oiled Grebe on the beach off San Francisco Bay, one of the ships involved in the collision in the fog, and IBRRC founder, Alice Berkner.

Hello everyone,

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Oregon Standard Oil Spill, the massive 800,000 gallon spill that occurred in San Francisco Bay in 1971. The concept of International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) was born in the midst of the spill because it was clear way back in 1971 that oil spills were becoming a part of our reality, and after a quick review it was evident that no organization had developed effective techniques to care for oiled birds. IBRRC was created to do just that – develop techniques and protocols to humanely treat and rehabilitate oiled birds.

IBRRC’s Founder Alice Berkner, and a handful of others, came up with the concept of IBRRC while trying to help the more than 7,000 birds that filled warehouses around the Bay Area. Most of those birds died, but their deaths were not in vain. The demise of these birds only encouraged people to try harder, and by April of 1971 IBRRC was incorporated as a non-profit organization.

Since then, tens of thousands of animals have been recovered and given a second chance thanks to IBRRC and because of one person’s vision and focus. On behalf of all of us who have followed in your path, thank you Alice for your passion and vision, and for creating IBRRC.

Jay Holcomb
Director Emeritus
International Bird Rescue Research Center

January 14, 2011

Thank you for helping rescue birds!

Dear Friend of IBRRC,

Happy 2011 and thank you so much for your support in 2010!

Thanks to donors like you, International Bird Rescue Research Center raised enough funds in the last week of December to meet our $15,000 matching goal. We are thrilled with this news, as that translates into $30,000 to help treat the sick and injured birds arriving daily in our rescue centers.

We never know when the next wildlife emergency will strike, sending stricken birds to our doors, but thanks to the generosity of IBRRC donors like you, we can be prepared to care for them whenever they arrive.

In 2010, we treated nearly 5,000 birds in our two centers – everything from pelicans to tiny sandpipers to lesser-known fulmars. Last month we also cared for a tundra swan that was found cold and weak in a farmer’s field.

Thank you so much for helping make our work possible and best wishes for a peaceful and happy new year.


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

Photo by Kurtis Diffenbaugh

December 29, 2010

A Recipe For Bird Rescue

Dear Friends,

What does it take to rescue a sick or injured bird?

Every year, IBRRC cares for more than 5,000 stricken aquatic birds at our two California rescue centers.

We are currently caring for dozens of birds oiled by natural seep of oil along our coast, birds impacted by the massive storms that are moving through California and birds with gun shot injuries and fishing line entanglements. We also receive many species of waterfowl like a tundra swan (right photo) that was found cold and weak in a farmer’s field.

These birds’ lives depend on the kindness of strangers — people like you.

Will you make a contribution to help them? Through December 31, friends of IBRRC will match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000. That means your support will go twice as far to help birds.

Our centers are the last line of defense for sick and injured birds. If we didn’t exist, there would be nowhere else for them to go.

As a result, at any given time we often have hundreds of birds in our care. And we depend heavily on our wonderful volunteers to help a small paid staff keep our clinics open 365 days a year.

IBRRC’s recipe for rescue:
1. Capture or admit the stricken bird
2. Perform triage
3. Provide treatment and medication
4. Feed and house in a safe environment
5. Observe, monitor and evaluate for release
6. Release back into the wild

Ingredients: Medicine, Water, sheets, towels, Medical supplies, pools, food and trained staff and volunteers

Costs to feed and care for a recovering bird vary by species, but ranges from $10 to $50 a bird per day.

Please help us continue to rescue these birds. Your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, through December 31, doubling your impact on helping birds.

Thank you in advance. Your support means so much to us.


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


P.S. If you prefer to mail a check, please send it to:

c/o 2010 Gift
4369 Cordelia Road
Fairfield, CA 94534
Phone: (707) 207-0380 Ext. 109

December 27, 2010

Your gift will go twice as far to help birds

During these last days of 2010 your gift to IBRRC will go twice as far to help birds. Between now and December 31, 2010 a generous donor has agreed to match all gifts, dollar for dollar, up $15,000.

Oiled, injured and sick aquatic birds arrive at one of our two California rescue centers nearly every day. This year, we have treated more than 5,500 birds – and that doesn’t count our Gulf Coast oil spill response. Costs for treatment, care, feeding and rehabilitation of most of those birds come from private donations.

Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end contribution to the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Prefer to mail a check? Please send it here:


4369 Cordelia Road

Fairfield, CA 94534

Phone: (707) 207-0380 Ext. 109

And thanks for your support!

December 25, 2010

Warm holiday greetings from IBRRC

September 23, 2010

Sept 25th benefit event in So California

Join us for a fundraiser in Marina Del Rey on Saturday, September 25, as a benefit for IBRRC and Heal the Bay to be held immediately following the Coastal Cleanup Day at noon.

The Event, which is sponsored by Latitude 33, will feature cuisine from 25 of Los Angeles’ famous gourmet food trucks, 10% of all food truck sales, as well as attendee donations will benefit Heal the Bay and the International Bird Rescue Research Center to give back to our beaches.

Open to the public, the September 25th fundraiser will be held from noon to 4:00 pm on site at Latitude 33 in Marina Del Rey. Celebrity TV Host Carson Daly, an avid supporter of Heal the Bay, will support the event with on-air promotion for The Carson Daly show that will be broadcast nationwide to request further donations for Heal the Bay and IBRRC.

The ever-popular food trucks will be serving up delicious, varied bites satisfying all cravings from crepes, lemonade, dim sum, grilled cheese, hotdogs, shaved ice and tacos.

Confirmed gourmet food trucks include:

The Grilled Cheese Truck
Papas Tapas
Big Swirl
Del’s Lemonade
India Jones
Crepe n Around
World Fare
Buttermilk Truck
Lake Street Creamery
Morsel’s Bakery Truck
Border Grill
Dosa Truck
The Sweets Truck
DimSum Truck
Organic Oasis
Dogtown Dogs
Get Shaved Ice
Slice Truck
The Shrimp Pimp

Thanks to Beyond O2 Water on Main Street in Santa Monica is also a sponsor and is supplying water.

Latitude 33
330 Washington Boulevard
Marina Del Rey, CA 90291
View Larger Map

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.


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.

August 5, 2010

Day 109 update: Gulf oiled bird rescue continues

As we enter into the fourth month of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, we wanted to bring you up to date on our continuing oiled bird rehabilitation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The BP well has been capped but we are still receiving hundreds of oiled birds each week. These are primarily the orphans of the spill: Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Terns, Herons and Skimmers who are attempting to fledge from their protective islands. In doing so they are becoming oiled as residual pools of oil and oiled grasses still exist on some of the islands.

On July 23rd we successfully moved 400+ bird patients from the Fort Jackson rescue center in Buras, Louisiana to Hammond, which is 80 miles further north. Primarily, this move was to ensure the safety of people and animals in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane. We currently have over 500 birds at the Hammond center.

To-date, 657 birds — mainly Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls and small shorebirds — have been successfully rehabilitated and released back to the wild in Texas, SW Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.

IBRRC has had 75 responders help in the gulf spill and we still have 40 response team members in four Gulf states working alongside our colleagues from Tri-State Bird Rescue to give the best possible care to these oiled birds. Many of us have been here since early May and we will be here to assist for many more months to come.

An amazing amount of people, including many children from around the country, have been moved to respond to the ongoing aquatic bird rescue efforts in the Gulf.

Please know that we appreciate all your words of encouragement and your continuing support.


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

More information

When oil stops, the hard work can begin:
The Cornell Blog of Ornithology

Audubon Magazine Blog: The Gulf Oil Spill

July 28, 2010

Big hearts, youthful passion to help oiled birds

The Gulf oil spill catastrophe and the plight of the wildlife has touched many around the country. We continue to receive numerous e-mails, phone calls, and contributions in support of our organization’s effort.

One of the great joys is to see children who have been inspired to get involved. Lemonade has been a big seller. Some kids do art. Others a bake sale. In each example, big hearts and young minds come together to give us all hope. Some of these stories follow:

In Martinez, California, 3 year-old Zachary Bigelow wanted to help so bad he was ready to hop a flight down to the Gulf States to lend a hand. He settled on a local lemonade stand. His mom, Allie, explains:

Zachary first learned about the oil spill on the news radio and then saw photos of the birds that were affected by it in the New York Times and online and they really upset him. His initial “plan” was that he thought he should head on down to the Gulf Coast on his own to clean the birds, but I had to squash that idea (we will do that when he is a little bit older). He settled for the idea of donating some money for them and decided he wanted to have a lemonade stand since he didn’t have much in his piggy bank at the time. 

He wrote a letter to the Trader Joe’s store in Concord (Concord Avenue) and asked them to donate lemonade; they generously provided him with 2 cases of organic lemonade. He then asked the manager of the Sports Basement store in Walnut Creek if he could sell his lemonade in front of their store; they were very helpful in finding a good weekend that would guarantee lots of traffic. He asked friends to bake goodies to sell to improve his profits; our friends Adam Welcome and Erica Kain provided some really delicious baked goods for him to sell. He made all of his signs himself and did all of the selling unassisted…mom and dad were just there to pour! When all was said and done he sold lemonade for 6 hours, selling every single drop of lemonade donated by T.J.’s and every last cookie and brownie and raised $355.

Over the Fourth of July, kids in Evanston, Illinois raised money for rescuers by selling lemonade.

And from New York we got this note and photo from Alicia Salzer:

“I just want to thank you for the work that you do. My daughter Piper, age 5 was so upset by the idea that birds were being hurt by the oil spill that she decided to make special painted sea shells and sell them out of her red wagon on Fire Island here in New York. Everyone who passed stopped to look and when Piper told them about the cause she was supporting of course they bought up those shells and in a few minutes we had totally depleted her “stock”.” 

“I recently sent in her donation of $26 via your website. But I wanted to also send you a little picture of her hard at work in the hopes it warms your heart as it did mine and inspires you to keep up the great work that you do caring for creatures caught in the crossfire.”

Another young fellow, Jonathan, who is only 4 years old, helped his mom sell Pelican Aid Lemonade near his home in New Orleans instead of selling off his treasured toys.

“I want to help the pelicans,” Jonathan said, realizing he couldn’t help save oiled wildlife directly. “Because (the oil will) get in my eyes and ears and nose and mouth.”

Read the full article

July 28, 2010

Photos of Hammond OIled Wildlife Center

The Hammond Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation facility is functioning beautifully and all birds in care are doing very well. Over the weekend, as Bonnie moved over the area we experienced some good downpours but nothing major. All’s good!

Here’s what the inside of one of the warehouses looks like where all the indoor rehabilitation takes place.

Initially, the Hammond Bird Rehabilitation Facility will be capable of handling approximately 1,000 birds, and capacity could be increased to house as many as 2,000 to 3,000 birds.

It’s situated on the grounds of what was once a very large lumber yard with multiple empty warehouses and plenty of room for large outdoor enclosures. BP paid a local contractor to convert the vacant buildings to a oiled wildlife hospital.

The new wildlife center is 60 miles north of New Orleans above Lake Pontchartrain. The previous Louisiana center was located at Fort Jackson in Buras for the first three months of the Gulf oil spill. The new site is out of the hurricane ‘evacuation zone’.

See a Map

July 22, 2010

Louisiana Bird Rescue moving up to Hammond

The new Louisiana bird rescue center is coming along nicely. It’s located in the town of Hammond which is about 60 miles north of New Orleans above Lake Pontchartrain. The new site is out of the hurricane ‘evacuation zone’.

Since the beginning of the BP Gulf oil spill in April, the main animal rehabilitation center has been located in Buras, LA. It is only several feet above sea level.

Initially, the Hammond Bird Rehabilitation Facility will be capable of handling approximately 1,000 birds, and capacity could be increased to house as many as 2,000 to 3,000 birds.

It’s situated on the grounds of what was once a very large lumber yard with multiple empty warehouses and plenty of room for large outdoor enclosures. We will be posting pictures soon.

View Larger Map

We are all looking forward to the move, which may be as soon as this weekend. While we are busily organizing and planning for the big move we are still receiving small numbers of oiled birds daily.

With this in mind, oiled animals that continue to come in through Venice and Port Sulphur will receive first aid at a stabilization site nearby before being transferred to us in Hammond. Since we do not wash oiled birds right away this will not delay their treatment.

Over the weekend a small water spout developed nearby. It reminded us of how the weather here, especially this time of year, can change so rapidly. While we will miss living where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, in the end, the move will make it safer for the birds and the people that care for them.

More information

Louisiana Bird Rehabilitation Facility’s Move to Hammond

July 7, 2010

The eye of the storm: Oiled bird care Gulf update

Nearly 80 days into the BP Gulf oil spill, IBRRC’s Executive Director Jay Holcomb has an update from the center of oiled avian treatment in Louisiana:

Hello from Fort Jackson! We had a very busy few weeks, treating hundreds of oiled brown pelicans. Mostly adults, but some nestlings too. 

It has quieted down enough to write a quick update. The lull we’ve been experiencing in the last couple of days may be due to the weather, which has been stormy. Storms and high seas prevent rescue teams from getting out to the islands and shoreline to look for oiled wildlife. As the weather improves, we expect an influx in new patients of varying species in various stages of development.

In the past week, we have had a few interesting new arrivals, like this juvenile Roseate Spoonbill that received its wash yesterday. (See video above)

Additional news: We will be moving our main oiled bird facility in Louisiana from Fort Jackson to Hammond in the coming weeks. With hurricane season upon us, it’s imperative and required by the Office of Homeland Security we be located outside the ‘evacuation’ zone.
View Larger Map

Tomorrow, we will be releasing some of the few remaining adult brown pelicans. Each one is ringed with a metal federal band and a colored plastic leg band to identify it from afar. The birds are being released as far from the spill as possible, hoping they will stay away, but there is no guarantee they will not try to fly home.

As for our operations throughout the Gulf, we have Tri-State Bird Rescue and International Bird Rescue team members staffing facilities in Pensacola, Florida, Theodore, Alabama, and Gulfport, Mississippi tending to wildlife casualties in these respective states. At each center, the mornings begin with rounds, checking on patients and providing them with fresh meals. By mid-morning, washes have begun. Throughout the day, washed birds are evaluated for release.


– Jay, from Fort Jackson, Louisiana

IBRRC has more than 40 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

This oil gusher involves a ruptured well 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.

The spill has not slowed in the Gulf of Mexico and in its wake it has harmed the fragile breeding grounds for Brown Pelicans and other shorebirds. 10 weeks after the blow out, BP is drilling two relief wells to stem the tide of crude in the nation’s worst oil disaster.

July 1, 2010

Oiled Pelicans still fighting for survival in Gulf

The the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a nicely done video report (above) capturing the sights and sounds of the capture of oiled Brown Pelicans and oil-cleaning process at the Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center in Buras, Louisiana.

The iconic brown pelican have been swamped by oil from the BP well blow out in the Gulf of Mexico that started on April 20, 2010. So far, nearly 50,000 square miles of the fragile Gulf waters have been stained by the largest oil disaster in United States history.

As of June 29th, officially more than 2,000 birds have been affected by the spill. 858 have been captured alive. Many of the birds have been pelicans, but also Gannets, Gulls, Herons, Dunlins and other shorebirds.

At least 250 cleaned birds have been released to coastal areas in Florida, Texas and now Georgia.

More info on NRDC’s website: OnEarth: Gulf Coast Pelicans Fight for Survival