Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘pelicans’

August 15, 2011

Your Support Is Helping Hungry Pelicans

Dear Friends,

With the support of friends like you, this summer International Bird Rescue is rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of young Brown Pelicans back into the wild. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and we are deeply grateful to those of you who reached into your pockets and helped us give these birds the care – and incredible amount of food – they need to survive and thrive!

As quickly as we set these birds free, more injured, ill, and starving Pelicans arrive. We will do everything we can to help them, but in the case of natural events like this, there is no responsible party to help defray the expense.

Together, International Bird Rescue’s two Wildlife Centers have been caring for 70-100 Brown Pelicans at a time. Every bird has its own set of needs, things like surgeries and medicines, but they all need to eat. Each one consumes half its bodyweight in food every day – about 6 pounds of fish – at up to $2.05 a pound. See video

If you haven’t made a donation to International Bird Rescue yet, we hope that you will. If you have, our heartfelt thanks. We hope you’ll tell your friends why our work is important to you, and encourage them to join you. It would mean the world to us – and a whole lot more to every bird that arrives on our doorstep. Donate Now

With deepest gratitude,

Paul Kelway
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

July 27, 2011

Hungry Pelicans Need a Helping Hand

Dear Friends,

Brown Pelican at in care at International Bird RescueInternational Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Wildlife Centers are working long hours this summer to care for an influx of young aquatic birds. Most striking are the large numbers of juvenile Brown Pelicans in urgent need of care. As quickly as we can get them back on their feet and released into the wild, more arrive. See Pelican Video

Some have injuries caused by fishing hooks or fishing line, others suffer from various forms of infection, and about half are simply starving, unable to find enough food to survive on their own.

A young Brown Pelican eats an average of 6 pounds of fish a day – half its bodyweight – and each of our two centers is caring for 40-50 Pelicans at a time. International Bird Rescue is purchasing more than 500 lbs. of fish per day at up to $2.05 a pound just to keep these birds fed – and that’s just the Pelicans!

It is only through generous donations from friends like you that we are able to provide all of the birds that pass through our doors with everything they need to survive and thrive. We ask you to please donate what you can to help us save not just these birds, but every bird that needs us. Donate Now

From the largest Brown Pelican to the tiniest Killdeer chick, every bird matters.

With heartfelt thanks,

Paul Kelway
Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

June 4, 2011

Fledgling Pelicans Need a Second Chance

Large numbers of fledgling California Brown Pelicans are flocking to International Bird Rescue. In the last few days we have received over 75 young, weak, and starving pelicans between our Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Centers. These birds are landing in schoolyards, at restaurants and on highways – sometimes even following people – in an attempt to find food. Why is this happening? It is important to understand a few things about Brown Pelicans in California.

Brown Pelicans begin nesting as early as January on the Channel Islands off of Southern California, the northernmost nesting colony for this species. By April, the fledglings begin to leave their nests to join the adult birds in the ongoing quest for food that takes them up the coast of California. Some years produce low numbers of chicks and some produce many, depending on food availability and the number of successful nesting adults. 2011 appears to be a strong year for chick rearing.

Like all species, pelican populations experience natural selection. It is estimated that up to 80% of the annual chick population will die as part of the natural selection process. The birds that find food on their own have a good chance of surviving while the ones that do not will perish relatively quickly after leaving the nest; the pelicans that our Centers are currently receiving are all starving.

In recent years, the government has announced that the California Brown Pelican population has fully recovered from the impact of the DDT that depleted their population over 50 years ago. They were subsequently removed from the endangered species list, and are considered to be a recovered species. That is a conservation success story, but now, the Brown Pelican is facing different obstacles that challenge its survival. Oil spills, ocean pollution, domoic acid poisoning, climate change and fishing tackle entanglements take countless numbers of these birds. These losses are not a part of natural selection, they are all man-made.

International Bird Rescue receives up to 600 Brown Pelicans annually and 40% of those come to us because of fishing line entanglements. These are just the ones who make it to us, not those who, for example, are lost at sea. Man-made impacts do not naturally select the weaker birds from the population, they hit any creature in their path. Many of the birds entangled in fishing tackle are adult breeding-age birds, and the genetic pool that should secure the future of the species.

We have had sightings of some of the birds rehabilitated at our centers years later, identified by their leg bands. These sightings are significant, as they imply that giving birds a second chance really works. The way we look at it is that we lose many pelicans to the threats like fishing tackle and ocean pollution, but the young birds that are rehabilitated help to fill in the vacant slots of those lost to modern-day threats.

Rehabilitating fledgling pelicans is not difficult, but it is costly. They come to us dehydrated and weak from starvation, but if we can give them a healthy and plentiful diet of fish (from 5 to 10 pounds a day per pelican), and aviaries where they can exercise, bathe and feed, then they thrive. Once they have gained weight back, they are released into a pelican feeding or roosting area where they can continue to learn to hunt for food on their own.

They are then on their own once more – to make it or not.

Jay Holcomb
Director Emeritus
International Bird Rescue

January 26, 2010

IBRRC takes stock of pelican storm casualties

As of today, IBRRC’s Los Angeles Center has now received a total of 130 non-oiled birds since the beginning of last week’s storms. 107 of these birds were pelicans. In addition, 9 oiled birds from natural seep and 6 oiled birds from the spill in Huntington Beach have been received.

The center is shutting its doors to pelicans and other birds being transferred from other wildlife centers for the next 48 hours to help cope with the influx of wildlife casualties.

IBRRC’s San Francisco Bay Center has now received 50 pelicans and expect another 20 in the coming days. A number of ducks (including buffleheads and canvasbacks) have also arrived, some that have been shot and others downed by the storms.

We will be trying our best to keep updating these numbers.

Media report:

KTLA-TV: Hundreds of Pelicans Rescued After Latest Storms

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.”

January 8, 2009

Media steps up reports on Brown Pelican crisis

More news reports are coming out, some with humourous images (right) about the current brown pelican crisis in California. Currently there are 75 pelicans in care at IBRRC’s two bird centers:

PELICANS suffering from a mysterious malady are crashing into cars and boats, wandering along roadways and turning up dead by the hundreds across the West Coast, from southern Oregon to Baja California, Mexico, bird rescue workers say.

Weak, disoriented birds are huddling in people’s yards or being struck by cars. More than 100 have been rescued along the California coast, according to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro.

Hundreds of birds, disoriented or dead, have been observed across the West Coast.

“One pelican actually hit a car in Los Angeles,” said Rebecca Dmytryk of Wildrescue, a bird rescue operation. “One pelican hit a boat in Monterey.”

From the Daily Telegraph in Australia: See Full story



Others

Scientific American: Mystery: Why are California Brown pelicans dying in droves?

National Geographic: VIDEO: Mystery Pelican Die-Off in California

Fox-35 TV: Brown Pelican Mystery Intensifies As Deaths Increase

KSBW-TV: Rash Of Sick Pelicans Found Along Coast

AP: Increase of sick brown pelicans baffles experts

How to help

Adopt-a-Pelican

Donate to IBRRC


Volunteer at IBRRC

Your help and words of encouragement are always appreciated!

January 6, 2009

What’s causing fatigued pelicans to drop from sky?

The ongoing discovery of scores of fatigued and disoriented California Brown Pelicans is causing concern among biologists and bird lovers, but yielding few concrete answers to what’s causing their condition.

Since late in December, the giant seabirds have been found in frail condition along highways and backyards, miles from their coastal homes. At both IBRRC bird centers, but especially at the San Pedro center, we’ve had our hands full treating these remarkable birds. There are almost 50 pelicans in care this week alone.

Writer Louis Sahagun and photographer Mark Boster of the Los Angeles Times collaborated to capture the concern for these pelicans:

Wildlife rescuers from San Diego to San Francisco suddenly are facing a distressing biological mystery: Disoriented and bruised California brown pelicans are landing on highways and airport runways and in farm fields, alleys and backyards miles from their normal coastal haunts.

In the last week, the big brown birds known for flying in formation over beaches have been reported wobbling across Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey and on a Los Angeles International Airport runway. Two dead pelicans were found on the 110 Freeway. Elsewhere, one smacked into a car.

See: California brown pelicans found frail and far from home

View: The LA Times photo gallery

Learn how you can help us care for these birds: Adopt-a-Pelican

January 4, 2009

They don’t come with credit cards: Birds in need

Aquatic bird specialists, International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) is noticing a trend in California Brown Pelicans along the coastline from Monterey to San Diego and they need your help.

An unusual number of birds are coming in thin and disoriented – being found on roads and in fields. What is remarkable is that many are adult pelicans. Often this behavior is associated with domoic acid from a marine algae but so far the birds exhibit no other typical neurological disorders. The center now has 40 in care; ten pelicans came in in the last few days.

IBRRC is asking for your help in reporting ailing pelicans to your local rescue organization or by calling the toll-free California Wildlife Hotline 866-WILD-911. You are encouraged to leave information on dead pelicans there as well by pressing option 2.

How to help

Both of IBRRC’s facilities are in need of assistance in transporting pelicans from other centers and with the care of the high number of birds in treatment. There’s dire need for funds to offset the cost of caring for these huge birds – their adopt a pelican program is a unique way to help while being personally involved in a pelican’s care and release. Adopt-a-pelican

To help, please send inquiries to info@ibrrc.org or call the Fairfield facility at (707) 207-0380 Ext 110 or the San Pedro center at (310) 514-2573.

Kudos to the Daily Breeze newspaper in Southern California for the pelican story Swooping in for birds in need: Pelicans overload rescue center in San Pedro. The article captures perfectly the increase in sick and hungry brown pelicans coming into the San Pedro bird center.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director was quoted in the article:

“We don’t usually get that many that come in at this time of year. We’ve been getting them regularly, and we’ve been concerned about it,” Holcomb said. “They’re expensive animals – they eat tons of fish and require a lot of medicine. We’ll never shut the door to them, but they don’t come in with credit cards.”

More Adopt a bird info and Donate online info.

October 10, 2008

Busch Conservation grant helps pelicans in distress

Thanks to a generous grant from SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, brown pelicans in distress will get more help in California. The Fund recently issued a grant to IBRRC totaling $5,000 in emergency funding to help the organization purchase food and medical supplies.

Since June 2008, hundreds of injured brown pelicans with hook, tackle and line injuries have come into the International Bird Rescue Rehabilitation Center’s (IBRRC) two California facilities.

The birds, migrating north from Mexico through Southern California, are becoming entangled in fishing gear as they feed on sardines and anchovies near the same piers and wharfs as local anglers in Santa Cruz, CA. When anglers reel in a catch, the birds try to eat the fish off the long lines. The lines are either cut or broken, leaving the birds injured and in need of care.

A non-profit foundation, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and education in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to annual grants that have exceeded $5 million over the past five years, the Fund also issues animal crisis grants to provide rapid, much-needed funding to aid animals and habitats in peril due to either natural or human-caused events.

October 8, 2008

Good news: Disney grant helps with pelican crisis

A big thanks to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) for its $5,000 emergency grant to IBRRC to help pay for rehabilitating the injured pelicans found along the coast of California.

IBRRC was overwhelmed with hundreds of injured Brown Pelicans this summer at both California bird centers. Most were brought in for hook and fishing line entanglement injuries as they competed with local fishermen in the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay areas.

The cost of feeding the pelicans will cost more than $35,000. The public also stepped up to help. If you have a couple of extra bucks, please help as you can: Donate or Adopt-a-Pelican

The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF) was established in 1995 as a global awards program for the study and protection of the world’s wildlife and ecosystems. It provides annual awards to US nonprofit conservation organizations working alongside their peers in other countries. Many of the recipient organizations concentrate their activities on “biological hotspots” — areas rich in plant and animal life at risk of imminent destruction. Read more

September 20, 2008

11 pelicans found with intentionally broken wings

What is it that causes so much anger against Brown Pelicans?

This week 11 young pelicans were found with their wings intentionally broken along an Orange County beach in Southern California. Only one pelican has survived. There’s now a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Local wildlife officials say the attacks appear to be intentional. Lisa Birkle, assistant wildlife director at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, said the injuries were consistent: “Someone is snapping the wings backward.” She said local residents noticed fishing boats close to shore where pelicans also feed.

Pelicans have been a target of cruel and unusual acts. Each year IBRRC bird center wildlife clinics treat pelicans with slashed pouches and other injuries that appear to be intentional. In 2003, IBRRC received mutilated pelicans that showed up at Cabrillo Beach near San Pedro.

The California Brown Pelican is still protected by the Endangered Species Act. Anyone with information relating to these incidents is encouraged to contact Special Agent Ed Newcomer of U.S. Fish and Wildlife at (310) 328-1516.

If you can make a donation to help all pelicans that come into the rescue center, go to the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center’s website. To add to the reward money, please call IBRRC at (310) 514-2573.

Read more: Pelicans in Peril

See the Los Angeles Times article:

11 pelicans found with wings broken at Bolsa Chica beach

August 27, 2008

Discarded fishing tackle a monumental mess

At IBRRC we’ve been witnessing first hand the mess that discarded fishing tackle causes on the lives of aquatic birds. Our recent response to brown pelicans in Santa Cruz and Monterey showed a high percentage of birds injured after being caught up in hooks and fishing line that are so much a part of the marine environment.

Not surprising there’s some disturbing statistics coming from the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project:

Since May 2006, the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project has retrieved nearly 11 tons of gear from around the California Channel Islands (Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Catalina). As well, the project has cleaned more than 1400 pounds of recreational fishing gear off public fishing piers from Santa Cruz to Imperial Beach including more than 1 million feet of fishing line. Several of these piers now have fishing line recycling bins, to encourage proper disposal of unwanted hooks and microfilament. See the full report

And don’t even get us started on the mess that discarded plastics – including toys and cigarette lighters – leaves on the ocean. Read: Birds suffer as world’s oceans become a big garbage can

All is not lost: 10 Things You Can Do To Save the Oceans

August 22, 2008

Pelican response update: Current numbers

The influx of pelicans from Santa Cruz and Monterey areas has slowed down at IBRRC’s two bird rescue centers. The most recent birds are mostly fishing tackle injuries from the Santa Cruz/Monterey area and have problems as we assume many have been injured for days or weeks and coming into the center in poor condition. At the San Pedro center, we’re still getting a more regular flow of pelicans, about ten a week.

And there’s more good news, dedicated staff and volunteers have worked hard to rehabilitate these remarkable birds. Many have been released back into the wild. (See photo above)

Since June 15th IBRRC has taken in more than 150 endangered brown pelicans. Between the two California bird centers, 339 birds have been cared for since the beginning of 2008.

Here’s the current numbers:

Current totals in house: 87

Cordelia: 50
San Pedro: 37

Total Fishing tackle injuries: 125

Cordelia: 75
San Pedro: 50

Total Released: 140

Cordelia: 66
San Pedro: 74

Total intakes in 2008: 339

Cordelia: 164
San Pedro: 175

As always, IBRRC is appealing for public support to help us pay the ENORMOUS fish bill for this response. It will easily hit $40,000 by the month’s end.

Thanks to all who already supported our efforts!

Media reports:

Santa Cruz Sentinel: Pelican injuries take a toll

Also see the video

San Jose Mercury News story

August 11, 2008

Video: Pelicans feeding at Capitola Wharf


Here’s another awesome video of young pelicans feeding at Capitola Wharf in Santa Cruz County from videographer extraordinaire, Rebecca Dymytryk Titus. The wharf is now closed to fisherman. Earlier in the week officials finally had the gumption to shut the pier to prevent further injury to pelicans becoming entangled in fishing line and hooks.

IBRRC is still treating 60 injured pelicans caught in fishing line in a standoff with local fishermen.

Read the earlier posting

August 8, 2008

Pelican update: Video of thousands of birds


From Rebecca Dmytryk Titus, who is helping coordinate the Pelican response in Santa Cruz County:

We arrived at the Cement Ship fishing pier on Seacliff Beach to find thousands of birds near shore feeding on bait fish (see video above). We did see three pelicans with line, none we could approach for a successful capture. It was good to see the ship was closed to fishing and people, for the most part, we’re letting the birds be.

Found a tangled or weak bird that needs immediate care? Please call the wildlife hotline at 866-WILD-911.

IBRRC is treating a high number of young pelicans caught in fishing line and long-line hooks. Both of our centers are overwhelmed with birds in car. The fish bill alone for this crisis will cost us $20,000. If you can help us with a donation, please do so. Donate now or adopt-a-pelican. Thanks!