Every Bird Matters
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Posts Tagged ‘Jay Holcomb’

May 13, 2010

Day 12: Alabama Center receives first oiled bird

Here’s the daily update of oiled wildlife care during the Gulf Oil Spill:

On Wednesday the Alabama Oiled Bird Rehabilitation center received its first oiled bird, a Royal Tern. It was captured on Horn Island. Continued efforts to search that island and others in that region are ongoing. 

The other centers did not receive any new oiled birds.

Half of our Search & Collection teams in the Louisiana were grounded yesterday due to high winds and unsafe seas. The other half was able to work some areas near the Eastern side of the Mississippi River delta area and spotted a few oiled pelicans but were unable to capture them.

The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, visited us for a tour at the Fort Jackson Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center.

We will keep you updated on any new developments.

Thanks,

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Ft. Jackson, LA Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

Live oiled birds (intaken in LA since beginning of the spill)
2 brown pelicans
2 northern gannet
1 green heron
1 laughing gull

(one of the live gannets died)

Dead on arrival oiled birds
2 northern gannets
1 magnificent frigatebird

Pensacola, FL Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

Live oiled bird
1 northern gannet

Theodore, AL Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

live oiled bird
1 Royal Tern

Total birds Released: 2 (1 brown pelican, 1 northern Gannet)

May 12, 2010

Day 11: Gulf Spill: Oiled bird care update

On day 11 of IBRRC’s Gulf Oil Spill response, Executive Director Jay Holcomb, has his daily update:

On Tuesday we received an oiled northern gannet from the Grande Isle area to the west and an oiled laughing gull from one of the offshore islands. Unfortunately the gannet died overnight but the gull is doing well as it is lightly oiled. 

We continue to send out our search and collection teams in search of oiled birds. They attempted capture on a few oiled brown pelicans yesterday but the birds were flighted and strong.

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Fort Jackson, Louisiana Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

4 live oiled birds in care
(6 intakes in LA since beginning of the spill)
2 Brown Pelicans
2 Northern Gannet
1 Green Heron
1 Laughing Gull

(one of the live gannets died)

Dead on arrival oiled birds (intakes at LA since beginning of the spill)
2 Northern gannets
1 Magnificent Frigatebird

Pensacola, Floria Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

1 live oiled bird: Northern Gannet

Total birds Released: 2 (1 Brown Pelican, 1 Northern Gannet)

Listen to Jay’s radio interview on KGO-810 News Radio
(2:30 mp3 file)

Thanks again for your continued interest in our efforts,
– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

Wildlife response

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

Tri-State Bird Rescue and International Bird Rescue have responded to a combined total of 400 oil spills. The groups worked together in the Venice Louisiana area to care for
over 200 baby pelicans after crude oil from a broken pipeline was strewn over one of the islands in the Breton Island Refuge during a tropical storm in 2005. They also partnered on a South Africa rescue effort in which 20,000 endangered African Penguins were oiled in 2000.

International Bird Rescue Research Center: http://www.ibrrc.org/
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research: http://www.tristatebird.org/

To report:
• Oiled wildlife: 1-866-557-1401 (Leave a message; checked hourly.)
• Oil spill related damage: 1-800-440-0858
• Oiled shoreline: call 1-866-448-5816.

Background on spill

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform 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 perished in the disaster.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers continue to work feverishly to cap the well, the oil slick is now approaching 4,000 square miles. Booms protecting nearby islands and beaches and chemical dispersants have kept much of the oil from reaching gulf shores. Shifting winds are expected to move more oil toward shore this week.

More on the Oil Spill:

The Times-Picayune

CNN

New York Times

May 12, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Situation Map Update for May 12

The Deepwater Horizon oil blow out continues to frustrate responders as as rough seas today hampered the dispatch of crews to new shorelines impacted by oil, the The Times Picayune said this afternoon.

Louisiana state officials say the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has reached Whiskey Island shoreline – one of the barrier islands off the coast of Terrebonne Parish.

Other areas affected by the slick include South Pass and the Chandeleur Islands.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform 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 are missing and presumed dead.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers work feverishly to cap the well, many officials worry the leak could go on for months. The latest idea is to use a newer, smaller containment box called a “top hat.” It arrived in the Gulf well blowout early today. More news

(Click on the Deepwater Horizon Spill Situation map above or go to the DW Website)

May 11, 2010

Day 10: 2 birds released, readiness continues

On day 10 of IBRRC’s continuing Gulf Oil Spill response, 2 cleaned birds were released in Florida. They are only 3 oiled birds now in care, but as the spill continues to move onshore, the potential for more oiled wildlife is still a strong possibility.

Here’s International Bird Rescue’s Jay Holcomb, with his daily update on our efforts:

Yesterday, May 10, we sent the northern gannet (bird number 1) and the first pelican with a US Fish & Wildlife Service representative to be released in Florida. The release was successful. We are down to 2 live oiled birds in LA (one brown pelican and one green heron). One live gannet remains in care in Florida. 

We are still receiving visits from many facets of the media. We are expecting a visit from the governor of Louisiana today and tomorrow we are hosting Peachy Melancon, wife of Senator Melancon.

Our field teams are still working the outer islands in Louisiana with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and have yet to capture or see any severely oiled wildlife. They have only seen spotty oiled birds that are flighted and appear healthy.

We are still getting many requests for volunteering. As you can see my these blog postings, we are very quiet and are spending our time searching for oiled birds and continuing to set up rehabilitation centers in 4 states in expectation of the worse case scenario which would be if strong winds or storms pushed the oil onto bird breeding islands or in the coastal marshes. The volunteer hotline remains open for people to leave their information on and they will be activated if and when those resources are needed. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Call the volunteer hotline: 1-866-448-5816. More info

This is a very unusual spill as the potential is great but the impact to date has been minimal at least on bird species. So, its a bit of a waiting game but that has given us the time to prepare for a large scale event. I will keep everyone updates as things happen.

In the mean time, we worked on a spill in this area a few months before hurricane Katrina. Read our article about how we cared for over 200 oiled baby pelicans in 2005. That will give you an idea of how we work in this region.

Thanks,
– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform 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 perished in the disaster.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers continue to work feverishly to cap the well, the oil slick is now approaching 4,000 square miles. Booms protecting nearby islands and beaches and chemical dispersants have kept much of the oil from reaching gulf shores. Shifting winds are expected to move more oil toward shore this week.

To report:
• Oiled wildlife: 1-866-557-1401 (Leave a message; checked hourly.)
• Oil spill related damage: 1-800-440-0858
• Oiled shoreline: call 1-866-448-5816.

More on the Oil Spill:

The Times-Picayune

CNN

New York Times

May 9, 2010

Day Nine: Gulf spill wildlife update: 5 oiled birds

On the ninth day of the Gulf Oil Spill wildlife response, International Bird Rescue continues to work with Tri-State Bird Rescue, the lead oiled wildlife organization, to staff rehabilitation centers in Louisiana, Alabama Mississippi and Florida. IBRRC’s Jay Holcomb checks in with his daily update on the wildlife response:

On May 8 we sent out 6 field teams, under the direction of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, to continue to look for oiled birds. Only some spotty oiled gulls have been sighted so far. No new oiled birds have been recovered. The 4 live birds in care at Ft. Jackson, LA and the one live bird in Pensacola, FL are all doing well. 

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Fort Jackson, Louisiana Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

4 live oiled birds

* 2 brown pelicans
* 1 northern gannet
* 1 green heron

3 dead oiled birds

* 2 northern gannets
* 1 magnificent frigatebird

Pensacola, Floria Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

1 live oiled bird

* 1 northern gannet

Thanks again for your continued interest in our efforts,

– Jay Holcomb, Executive Director, International IBRRC

The bird rescue group has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

There are now four Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida.

Accredited media staff can visit the Fort Jackson, LA rescue center any day from 1 pm to 2 pm. It’s located at MSRC:, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, LA 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, Louisiana.

The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform 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 are missing and presumed dead.

The ocean floor crude rupture is now gushing at least 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — of oil a day. While engineers work feverishly to cap the well, many officials worry the leak could go on for months.

(Photos above: Top: Oiled Brown Pelican is stabilized before washing at the Fort Jackson; interior shot of inside of the Louisiana Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center, middle, wash area and bird pens in background)

May 8, 2010

Day 8 Gulf Oil Spill Update: 4 oiled birds in care

It’s day eight of IBRRC’s Gulf Oil Spill response and Executive Director Jay Holcomb, has his daily update:

Yesterday we had 5 capture teams in the field working with US Fish & Wildlife. They were able to make it as far east as Gossier Island, the Breton Islands and some of the Chandelier Islands. A few oiled gulls and pelicans were sighted but those birds had only spots of oil on their bellies. They were flighted and looked good. 

The teams did see oil at the shore of the Chandelier Islands and birds in the area. The rest of the team broke up and looked westward at the outer islands of the Pass-A-Loutre Wildlife Management Area and did not discover any oiled wildlife other than a few laughing gulls with small spots of oil on them.

Six teams are out again today looking in different areas for oiled birds.

We received one oiled green heron at Fort Jackson, LA center that had landed on a boat near the oiled area. The bird is in good health and has already been washed.

The other centers in Theodore, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida are still on alert and the staff is continuing to build cages and prepare for the potential impact of birds.

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Fort Jackson, Louisiana Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

3 live oiled birds 

  • 1 brown pelican
  • 1 northern gannet
  • 1 green heron (came in yesterday)

3 dead oiled birds

  • 2 northern gannets
  • 1 magnificent frigatebird (came in yesterday)

Pensacola, Floria Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

1 live oiled bird 

  • 1 northern gannet

Thanks for all your support,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

There are now four Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida.

Accredited Media are welcome to visit the Fort Jackson, LA rescue center any day from 1 pm to 2 pm. It’s located at MSRC, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, LA.

May 7, 2010

Day 7 Gulf OIl Spill Response Update

On day seven of our Gulf Oil Spill response, Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s executive director checks in with an update:

On May 6th we did not receive any new oiled birds. We sent out four teams of search and collection people who searched the outer island reaches of the Mississippi delta area. The region is known as the Pass-A-Loutre Wildlife Management Refuge. The teams saw hundreds of clean brown pelicans, terns, cormorants, gulls and shorebirds and only one pelican with a spot of oil on its belly and one tern with a spot of oil on it. 

Today there are 5 capture teams made up of IBRRC/Tri-State people, plus government wildlife officials. We are pushing to look more to the east where the oil is coming to shore but we are under the direction of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and they call the shots. I will keep everyone informed as we receive other information and birds.

As many of you know, I have been put in charge of media here in Fort Jackson. I am fine with that but its a full time job. We have had press from all over the world and they have been great.

Yesterday we also filmed with Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin who is doing some reporting on the Gulf Oil Spill

With that I will sign off. More tomorrow.

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

IBRRC now has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

There are now four Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida.

Accredited media and press are welcome to visit the Fort Jackson rescue center daily from 1 PM to 2 PM: MSRC, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, Louisiana.

See map below:

View Larger Map

May 5, 2010

Day 6: Pelican washed; Response team grows

On the sixth day of the Gulf Oil Spill response, additional International Bird Rescue response team members has been activated, a brown pelican was successfully washed and we continue to assist Tri-State Bird Rescue in the set up of three more wildlife care centers.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director, is writing a daily update from Louisiana. Here’s the day six update:

On Monday we washed the brown pelican that was captured yesterday. It was caught on Storm Island, on a small remote island in the outer barrier islands of the Mississippi Delta. I was told that there were other oiled pelicans seen but were not catchable at this point. We have still not been allowed to go out to these islands to look for birds. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is heading up the retrieval of oiled birds and there have been delays. However, we were able to get our search and capture teams activated for the first time today and are now out in the field looking for birds.

The brown pelican that was washed did great and took about 40 minutes to complete. We washed the bird during our 1 to 2 pm daily press conference and this allowed them to get some visuals on the bird. The press was cooperative and supportive of our work.

The other three centers are coming on line and they do not have any birds at this time. Tri-State and IBRRC staff continue to work diligently to bring these centers on line. DAWN has sent many cases of detergent to these three facilities and these will be shared with the turtle and mammal response groups as needed. The sea turtle and mammal response effort is being organized and managed by Dr. Mike Ziccardi of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network whom IBRRC works closely with in California.

IBRRC now has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

As many of you know, IBRRC has responded to many oil spills over the years but have never experienced something like this where the spill seems to mostly be sitting in one large area and slowly moving back and forth at the mercy of the tides and weather. Although we know it is close to some shorelines it still has not hit the shore heavily in any area. Pelicans, terns and other plunge feeding birds are the most at risk as they will plunge into water to catch prey.

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

There are now Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida.

Accredited media and press are welcome to visit the Fort Jackson rescue center daily from 1 PM to 2 PM: MSRC, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, Louisiana.

See map below:


View Larger Map

May 4, 2010

Day 5: Weather still hampering search for oiled birds

It’s the fifth day of Gulf oil spill response and International Bird Rescue is working quickly with Tri-State Bird Rescue, to staff and set up and wildlife care centers in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.

IBRRC’s Executive Director, Jay Holcomb, is writing daily updates from the epicenter of the wildlife rescue. Here’s his day five oil spill update:

Hello everyone. I have been in Venice Louisiana for five days and finally have email access. I wanted to write a brief note to all the people who have wished us well, supported IBRRC and are watching the news as the spill in the gulf of Mexico progresses.

The weather has really hampered attempts to initiate a search and collection effort for oiled birds. As soon as the storm subsides and the safety officers decide that it is safe to go out looking for oiled birds then we will commence with that program.

IBRRC and Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research Inc. are not in charge of the wildlife collection program. It’s being managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). However, IBRRC and Tri-State are providing trained and experienced personnel to help with this effort. Six of our capture teams are currently on site and more are coming in the next few days. We hope to start going out in the field tomorrow.

On Monday, May 3, we received the second oiled bird. It was a Brown Pelican that was picked up in one of the remote islands in Southern Louisiana by the USFWS. The bird is in good condition. (See photo ^above^)

Many people have asked how we organize and manage a spill of this magnitude. It is impossible for one organization to attempt to manage the oiled wildlife rehabilitation program that incorporates four states, large quantities of oil and vast areas of shoreline. Because of this, Tri-state and IBRRC have once again joined forces and combined our individual oiled wildlife response teams into one larger team capable of handling a large spill such as this one.

Between both the organizations we have responded to about 400 oil spills. In this case Tri-State is taking the lead role and IBRRC is working in tandem with them to help provide oversight for the rehabilitation program.

In 2005 we worked together in the same area in Venice, Louisiana and cared for over 200 baby oiled pelicans that were oiled after a pipeline broke and crude oil was strewn over one of the islands in the Breton Island National Refuge during Tropical Storm Arlene. We have also partnered on many other spills in the U.S. and in other countries.

I will keep you all updated as we move ahead in this oil spill.

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

May 1, 2010

Gulf spill update: From oiled bird rescue center

A Team of California bird rescue specialists from International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) are on site in Louisiana and Alabama preparing bird rescue centers to clean up seabirds caught in the Gulf coast oil spill.

International Bird Rescue is working in partnership with Tri-state Bird Rescue & Research to prepare rehabilitation facilities in Fort Jackson, Louisiana (just northof Venice) and Theodore, Alabama, near Mobile.

Media are welcome to visit the Fort Jackson rescue center any day from 1pm to 2pm: MSRC, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, LA.

To date, rescue teams have recovered just one bird, a Northern Gannet, which is being treated in Venice and expected to recover fully. To learn more about oiled bird treatment, see Treatment of Oiled Birds and How oil affects birds.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Exceutive Director and oil spill veteran says preparation of rescue centers is key to the wildlife response.

“International Bird Rescue’s focus now is on preparing for the influx of oiled birds once the slick moves closer to the Gulf coast, where pelicans, egrets and terns nest and feed,” said Holcomb.

“Even after my 25 years responding to oil spills, it’s impossible to predict the kinds of impacts we might see to birds—it all depends on the tides, weather, and other factors beyond our control,” Holcomb said.

“Rather than waste time with conjecture, we are spending our days preparing for any eventuality, and it’s great to have such an outpouring of support from all over the country. This truly is an all hands on deck effort, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside Tri-State Bird Rescue and other groups,” said Holcomb.

“So far, we have only rescued one oiled bird, a Northern Gannet that is being treated at the Venice facility.” said Holcomb. “The bird is in a stable condition.”

IBRRC’s Holcomb is heading the organization’s Gulf spill response team. Holcomb has responded to over 200 oil spills around the world, including Exxon Valdez and the 1979 Gulf spill. With him are a veterinarian, rehabilitation manager and capture specialist.

International Bird Rescue will be hosting a daily teleconference once the rehabilitation center set-up is complete. For up to the minute updates on bird rescue efforts in the Gulf, follow @IBRRC on Twitter.

April 28, 2010

Pledge/vote on World Oceans Day at Oceana!

We’re pleased to announce that on World Oceans Day, Oceana is honoring those who have made a significant, ongoing contribution to ocean conservation.

This year, our very own Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s executive director, has been nominated as an “ocean hero”. The group had hundreds of heroes nominated, and a panel of experts selected a handful of adult and junior finalists. Vote here

Also, for every pledge made, Oceana will receive a $1 donation.

Oceana, founded in 2001, is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation. They have offices in North America, Central America, South America and Europe. The group campaigns to help return the world’s oceans to former levels of abundance. It uses a science, law and celebrities to help get its message across to the general public. Read more

Oceana Video 2009 from Oceana on Vimeo.

April 10, 2009

"Penguins, Pelicans, and People" talk in Sonoma

Jay Holcomb of IBRRC will share his stories and experiences in a lecture this month that spotlights how humans are affecting two beloved species of birds: Pelicans and Penguins.

The talk will be held on Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 PM in Sonoma and is called “Penguins, Pelicans, and People.” The suggested donation for the event is $5.

It will be held at Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center: 276 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476. Map

Holcomb is Executive Director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC). Under his leadership the organization has responded to over 200 oil spills including the Cosco Busan spill in San Francisco Bay in 2007. The group was born out of the 1971 oil spill at the Golden Gate when volunteers cared for hundreds of oiled animals. Read Jay Holcomb’s full bio


View Larger Map

This lecture is a joint effort with the Sonoma Community Center and Sonomabirding.org. The monthly lectures focused on birding topics. This spring, the lectures will be the foundation for a larger set of nature-related curricula including classes, outdoor adventures and a sub-series of short seminars called “The 110 Series.”

March 19, 2009

New Podcast: Remembering Exxon Valdez spill

Finally had some time to do a podcast interview with IBRRC’s Executive Director, Jay Holcomb, reflecting on the response to monumental Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Jay pioneered the search and rescue program at the spill. Additionally, he managed the entire rehabilitation program that cared for over 1,600 birds. He spent six straight months in Alaska during the spill.

For the past 23 years, Jay Holcomb has led IBRRC as it has responded to more than 200 domestic and international oil spills.

At least 11 million gallons of crude oil leaked out of the tanker just after midnight on March 24, 1989. The spill affected 1200 miles of coastline through the Prince William Sound and out toward Kodiak Island, Alaska. It ultimately killed more than 300,000 seabirds.

This podcast interview was conducted on March 16, 2009.

Listen to the 24 minute interview here

Also see: IBRRC Exxon Valdez response

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

January 15, 2009

Pelican crisis: "It will take some detective work"

In 35 years of studying pelicans, Dan Anderson, an avian specialist at UC Davis, says “it will take some detective work” to find out why scores of pelicans are showing thin, disoriented or even dead (photo, right) from Oregon to Baja California.

In a story from the Chicago Sun-Times, Anderson, says he’s only seen this kind if event “once or twice” in his professional life.

Others are feeling the same way: “We’ve seen enough to imply that something is odd, and right now it is a big question mark what it is,” said Jay Holcomb, Executive Director of IBRRC said in the same media report.

So far, many theories have surfaced about what might be happening. It could be a toxin, such as fire retardant, running off the land from recent fires. Or the domoic acid, a nuero-toxin that causes brain damage. Or even the cold weather that hit the Pacific Northwest in December that triggered another disease. Maybe all three contributed to this confluence of events.

Note: Recent tests of six pelicans did show levels of domoic acid in three of the birds. Read the press release

Since mid-December, IBRRC has taken in 160 pelicans for treatment in two California bird centers. IBRRC has also reported at least 300 dead brown pelicans in this same time period.

They been found in the oddest places: freeways, backyards and in store parking lots. We even had one report of one found at 7200 feet in New Mexico. They are disoriented, malnourished and badly in need of care. [ Note: Photo, right, from Albertson’s parking lot in Southern California – Photo courtesy: Peter Wallerstein/Marine Animal Rescue ]

In meantime, if you see a pelican in need, please call this toll free number: 866-WILD-911. You can submit unusual photos of pelican sighting to webcoot@ibrrc.org)

How to help the pelicans:

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