Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Bay’

September 12, 2009

Artist spotlight: Karen Nevis; Calendar out this week

If you’re in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area this weekend, we’d a recommend the Capitola Art & Wine Festival on September 12-13. Please check out artist Karen Nevis’s booth #20 to see her wonderful work. The festival is located at the Esplanade in Capitola, CA.

Karen will have a new 2010 Santa Cruz~Aptos-Capitola Calendar available this weekend. The calendar features her watercolors of animals and life along bay. It also has information and photos about IBRRC’s bird rescue efforts and how folks can better treat the environment they share with birds and other critters.

You can also see her work at the Open Studios October 10-11th or October 17-18th from 11-6pm. Open Studios map

If you can’t make these events, the calendars will be available in stores September 15th. Check her website for more information: http://www.karennevis.com/

February 23, 2009

Study: Seabird deaths linked to red-tide foam

An important new study about the 2007 Monterey Bay bird die off is pointing toward a red-tide algae bloom that induced a dangerous sea foam. According to the study, the birds feathers lost their water-repellant nature after being coated with the foam.

The main species in the red tide was a type of dinoflagellate known as Akashiwo sanguinea. The red tide event hit when large numbers of migrating birds had arrived in the area. Also big waves churned up the water creating the sea foam that stripped birds feathers of natural insulating properties.

Birds affected included grebes, loons, northern fulmars, and surf scoters. Stranded birds were found starving and severely hypothermic. Nearly 600 birds were located alive and 207 were found dead during this event.

According to the report, freshly stranded birds had a pungent odor similar to that of linseed oil while still wet, but with time, this material dried, leaving a fine, pale yellow crust with minimal smell.

Raphael Kudela, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, teamed up with scientists from California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML)–all members of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS).

These kinds of red-tide events may occur more often in the future, Kulea said. These changes are probably due in part to the effects of climate change on surface water temperatures.

The study alludes to another interesting fact about other compounds in the bay worth studying:

…Extracts of seawater from four areas in northern Monterey Bay heavily impacted by the red tide were analyzed for polar and non-polar compounds by gas- and liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy and were found to be negative for petroleum compounds, commercial surfactants, pesticides, domoic acid, okadaic acid, and microcystin toxins. However, samples of the co-occurring surface foam present at these same sites contained significant concentrations of an organic compound with a predominant chromatographic peak at 1230 mw, corresponding to a m/z 616 dimer composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen…

Researchers are releasing this study through an online journal called PLoS One: Mass Stranding of Marine Birds Caused by a Surfactant-Producing Red Tide

Read the Press Release on the UC Santa Cruz website

November 30, 2007

Monterey Bay algae bloom sickens 613 birds

Just as the San Francisco Bay spill response winds down, IBRRC is now busy again treating hundreds of oiled and sick birds washing ashore in Monterey Bay affected by an odd oily substance.

About 613 birds have been rescued and at least 300 are being treated at the Cordelia bird center. The incident seems be caused by a naturally occurring red tide or algae bloom in the bay waters from Marina Beach north to Santa Cruz.


Rescue crews search for oiled birds along Monterey Bay
(Video: © Rebecca Dmytryk Titus)

Dead and sick surf scoters, fulmars, grebes, loons and other near-shore birds began appearing on Monterey Bay beaches on Nov. 10. A second die-off hit again on November 24. The birds were initially brought to Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz and also transported to the IBRRC/OWCN’s San Pedro bird center. Now the OWCN center in Solano County is taking all new birds rescued in the spill.

The mysterious oily substance on birds was first thought to be a man-made spill. However, Dave Jessup, a California State Fish and Game senior veterinarian, says birds that turned up sick or dead weren’t killed by the San Francisco Bay oil spill or aerial spraying to eradicate the light brown apple moth.

“At this point we believe it’s related to the algae blooms,” Jessup said.

Red tide is a catchall phrase describing seawater with microscopic organisms that blooms causing it to change colors. What causes this is open to speculation: It could be weather pattern changes, fertilizer runoff after a hard rain, or a higher exposure to sunlight.

The part of the bloom sickening seabirds is a a water-soluble protein called a “surfactant.” It foams when it comes in contact with water, but state officials are still trying to determine the protein’s source.

Because the seabirds were not sickened by an oil spill or other human-caused incident, the Department of Fish and Game halted its bird rescue efforts November 27. Later this week on November 29, Fish and Game reactivated the spill response. Members of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), veterinarians from UC Davis and IBRRC’s experienced wildlife rehabilitation staff are now working on the spill.

The spill was dubbed the “Moss Landing Mystery Spill” because a large number of birds first beached themselves near Moss Landing Harbor in Monterey Bay.

As a non-profit, IBRRC is asking for public donations to offset the high cost of treating these birds. Donate Now

More info:

IBRRC website

About the IBRRC/OWCN partnership:

The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) plays two major roles within the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN). First, IBRRC acts as the lead oiled bird response organization that, under the management of the OWCN, responds to most of the oil spills that affect birds, reptiles and fresh water aquatic mammals in California. Secondly, IBRRC is contracted to develop and teach a series of annual trainings for OWCN participants. These trainings are designed to familiarize members with concepts in oiled wildlife capture and rehabilitation.

Media reports:

San Francisco Chronicle

Santa Cruz Sentinel

KION 46-TV Video report

Monterey Herald, Registration required