Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘pelican’

March 6, 2011

Coming in April: HBO’s "Saving Pelican 895"

Next month HBO’s documentary Saving Pelican 895 will debut on cable. Its directed by Oscar nominee and Peabody winner Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO’s “The Final Inch” and “Hear and Now”).

The movie tells the gripping story of the rescue of a Brown Pelican “LA 895,” one of the many oiled bird victims of the 2010 BP Gulf oil spill, cared by International Bird Rescue and Tri-State Bird Rescue response members at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Venice, Louisiana.

The film features interviews with IBRRC staff and follows the pelican from capture to treatment to its relase back to the wild.

We’ll keep you updated on exact April 2011 viewing times.

May 9, 2010

Birds we care about: The Brown Pelican

Brown-Pelican-Tom-Grey-Photo- copy

Brown Pelican: Photo by Tom Grey

Here at IBRRC we love the Brown Pelican. It’s part of our logo and we pride ourselves in treating this bird with the respect and care it deserves.

Since its beginning in 1971, IBRRC has worked hard to become the premier brown pelican rehabilitation organization on the west coast of the United States.

At both our centers in California, with the help of our individual and foundation supporters, we constructed 100-foot flight aviaries to help pelicans recuperate from sickness and injury. We’ve had remarkable success in treating and then releasing them back to the wild.

Earlier this year, both of our centers were inundated with these majestic birds. In three months we treated almost 600 of the pelicans after severe storms walloped California. The wet, sick and dying pelicans flooded into IBRRC centers after heavy rains and pollution from run-off that hit the California coast in early January 2010.

And we always liked this famous poem about one our favorite birds:

A rare old bird is the pelican;
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week;
I’m darned if I know how the helican.
                               – Dixon Merritt

As we respond to the Gulf oil spill we hope the pelicans stay out of harms way. If they don’t, we will be there in force to help them in a speedy recovery.

Photo of Brown Pelican courtesy Tom Grey

February 11, 2010

Giving thanks to all our supporters

There’s been a outpouring of support this past month from all our supporters as we respond to the pelican crisis that has hit Central and Southern California.

Many of you have responded with cash donations, a pelican adoption or an offer to volunteer. Some have purchased t-shirts or delivered coffee and food. For all of this, IBRRC is so very grateful.

A number of organizations and businesses have stepped up to help us, too. One of our long-time corporate sponsors, Pelican Products of Torrance, CA donated $2,000 to help us cover the costs of caring for these hungry Brown Pelicans. See the Press Release

In the past Pelican Products has also donated flashlights, searchlights and water-proof cases for our spill responses.

We also want to thank Procter & Gamble for its donation of two transport vans, a continuing supply of DAWN dishwashing liquid and TIDE soap. In 2009 P&G also helped raise awareness and donations with its Dawn Saves Wildlife program that donated money for each bottle of DAWN purchased and activated online.

Thanks again for sharing our goal of caring for sick, injured and oiled pelicans and other aquatic birds.

January 9, 2009

Pelican off course: Los Alamos, New Mexico snow

Interesting picture from Chris Lutes who discovered this pelican in the New Mexico snow:

I saw this pelican on 12/15/08 in Los Alamos, New Mexico – elevation 7200′. We had approx 50 mph winds the day before associated with a winter storm that came in from California.

Pelicans are built for cold temperatures and weakened by freezing weather they will surely die. Chris says this pelican flew off before local wildlife rescuers could help.


View Larger Map

September 13, 2008

Golden Gate Bridge pelican returns to freedom


The brown pelican named “Gigi” that landed and halted traffic in August on the Golden Gate Bridge was released released back to the wild on Friday, September 12. The young bird was rescued and transferred to International Bird Rescue Research Center where it has been recuperating for the past several weeks.

See the YouTube video of the capture on Golden Gate Bridge

This female brown pelican also had the unique fortune of capturing the attention of filmmaker Judy Irving of Pelican Media, who successfully documented “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” Irving has decided to include this special bird in her latest project on the life of
pelicans. She also filmed the release of Gigi (as in “Golden Gate”) along with a handful of other pelicans nursed back to health at IBRRC’s Farifield bird center.

Laurie Pyne, IBRRC’s Development Director, reports:

The Golden Gate pelican (aka P193) and company was released Friday and all went beautifully! Nancy and Jerry Mix and myself were happily surprised when we pulled up and saw a crowd of people from the Discovery Museum, the two folks that have the little red firetruck and do SF tours, the SF police, the staff from the Golden Gate bridge, and others at the release site at Fort Baker. Everybody was really jazzed to see these truly incredible birds leave their carriers (“GG” was last, of her own accord!), swim en masse in front of everyone before flying in a large circle in front of us and then off into the sunset.

The kids cheered and the folks that rescued her actively participated and they couldn’t stop smiling. Two of them drove in SPECIAL to be there. It was a really wonderful experience for all of us.

Judy Irving filmed every aspect of the release, as she has been filming all of “GG’s” journey for her new short film on pelicans. Some of you have likely seen her hanging around the center with her camera and gear. She is the filmmaker who made “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”. This was a great opportunity to do some community outreach and the feedback has been really positive and wonderful.

Media story: Golden Gate wayward pelican healed and at home

August 7, 2008

Crisis continues for Brown Pelicans along coast

In the last few days our Northern California rehabilitation center, located in Fairfield, received another 25 brown pelicans from the Santa Cruz area. That makes a total of 137 pelicans this year in Northern California alone and 115 of those pelicans have come in since June 15th! Until recently they have been mostly young birds that are learning to fish and are feeding on large schools of anchovies and sardines that are moving along the California coastline. As of today, more than 30 of the birds that have come to our center are suffering from injuries due to fishing hooks and monofilament line entanglement.

Overview of the Current Crisis Situation

For those of you that don’t remember, in 2002 IBRRC received 200 injured pelicans from Santa Cruz within a month because large numbers of brown pelicans were feeding on anchovies under the Santa Cruz piers. Fisherman fishing from the piers can catch up to five small fish at a time by basically creating a long line system where each line has up to five leads with hooks on the ends of them. The lines are dropped from very high piers and are often pulled up with up to 5 wiggling fish on them. Pelicans see this as a free meal and grab them, becoming entangled. The fishermen get annoyed, cut the lines and then the pelicans are found on the wharf and local beaches with injuries and entanglements. This is happening right now!

In 2002 IBRRC worked with local government and California Fish & Game to temporarily close the Santa Cruz wharf to fishing until the bait fish moved out of the area. This tactic was successful and ended the fishing tackle entanglements. We are again asking the regulatory agencies to temporarily close these areas to fishing. This year the problem is much worse as three different piers are being used for fishing and literally thousands of brown pelicans are feeding on the fish. Two of the piers are now closed but one remains open to fishing. One fisherman complained to reporters that he is catching a pelican every 20 minutes and cutting the line.

Media report: ABC-TV: Pelicans getting fatally snared in Capitola

IBRRC as the Hub for west coast pelican rehabilitation

IBRRC has the largest facilities and most advanced program for pelican and sea bird rehabilitation along the west coast of the US. Each of our rehabilitation centers is equipped with a one hundred foot long pelican flight aviary. These aviaries are specifically built for pelicans and provide them flight rehabilitation. Each aviary can hold up to 75 birds at a time and both are in full use right now.

Your support is desperately needed

As I write this appeal there are 70 brown pelicans at our Northern California center, in Fairfield, receiving treatment for fishing tackle injuries and other problems and an equal amount at our Southern California facility in San Pedro. Each pelican eats up to 5 pounds of fish a day. The low estimate of a single pelican’s cost to rehabilitate is $20.00 per day. In truth, the cost is much more for those that require antibiotics and further care. I am asking for your financial support again to help us in this crisis situation.

We have set up many ways for our supporters to contribute. Donations in any amount you wish are always welcome. You may Adopt a Pelican or become a Pelican Partner. Becoming a Pelican Partner provides you with the opportunity to receive a private tour of one of our facilities and join our staff or volunteers at the release of the pelican that you have adopted and helped. I urge you to help us rehabilitate these pelicans. Share this information with friends and encourage their involvement. Help us: Adopt-a-Pelican or Donate

Thank you from all the staff and volunteers at IBRRC for your help.

Jay Holcomb

Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center, IBRRC

August 6, 2008

Record numbers of Pelicans on Farallon Islands

There’s tell tale research from scientists studying Brown Pelicans on the Farallon Islands: The numbers are way up.

Researchers at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) counted a new peak of 5,856 pelicans on the the islands. The low was in 1968 when only 363 pelicans were counted.

“Only in 1984 were there counts over 5,000 on the island,” said PRBO biologist Russ Bradley. “The birds have now covered the marine terrace and are roosting in huge numbers in many other areas of the island as well. This number may increase, as pelican abundance usually peaks in the fall.”

This may explain the huge numbers of pelicans spotted foraging for fish in Northern California. The pelicans have been colliding and competing with fishermen especially along the Santa Cruz County coast where they’ve congregating near fishing piers. IBRRC has been treating hundreds of injured, starving and sick pelicans since mid-year.

Pelicans have made a major comeback after facing extinction from exposure to DDT other man-made factors in California 40 years ago. This year the U.S. government is leaning on removing the majestic bird from the endangered species list.

Read the full story in the Marin IJ or see the PRBO website

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

January 22, 2008

Reward now $6,000 for pelican w/arrow in bill

The reward was raised today to $6,000 for information on the culprits that shot this American White Pelican with an arrow earlier this month in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.

Others stepped forward to add another $3,500 to the reward started by the The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS. The reward is for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person (s) responsible for shooting this American White Pelican near Lake Balboa in the Van Nuys/Sepulveda Dam area.

There has been reports that the arrow might be a hobby or kid’s arrow and not from a professional archery set.

If you have any information, please call Rebecca at: 831-869-6241 or the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro at: 310-514-2573.

More information on the IBRRC website

January 21, 2008

Daily Breeze editorial: Pelican shot by arrow

Under the ‘we couldn’t have said it much better’ column:

“Few things highlight the capacity for pointless cruelty by humans more than the injured pelican at Encino’s Lake Balboa. Someone shot the poor thing in the beak with an arrow, and now it can’t even eat.

Why someone would torture an elegant creature that beautifies the park is simply unfathomable. But with the bad comes the good. This creature’s suffering has also highlighted the awesome capacity for compassion by humans: Many people are trying to help the pelican survive. The caring people include officials at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro, who have been attempting to track down the ailing bird.

We can only hope that they reach the bird before it succumbs to its injuries – and that the perpetrator is caught before going on to other senseless brutality toward any of God’s creatures.”

– From the Daily Breeze newspaper January 20, 2008 editorial on the blight of an American White Pelican shot in the bill by an arrow. More info on the IBRRC website

January 19, 2008

Searching for pelican with arrow shot in bill

Wildlife capture specialists from International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro are joining forces in attempts to rescue a juvenile American White Pelican near Lake Balboa, shot in the bill by an arrow. The archery arrow pierced the upper and lower portions of the bill, sealing the bird’s mouth shut. It has been this way for over one week. A $2,500 reward is being offered to catch the culprits.

The pelican has been spotted several times over the past week in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, especially at Lake Balboa in Woodley Park in Van Nuys.

A hotline to report the bird’s whereabouts has been created. Please call: 831-869-6241

The Humane Society Of The United States is also offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who shot this federally protected bird.

More info:

Full IBRRC report

Download reward poster

Media reports:

Injured pelican’s time may be running out, Los Angeles Daily News

Pelican With Arrow Through Beak Sought, CBS-TV 2 video report