Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘SF bay’

November 12, 2009

2009 – Dubai Star – San Francisco, CA

Ten birds were released by OWCN personnel aand volunteers back into the wild this afternoon after successful treatment following oiling in Dubai Star oil spill in San Francisco Bay.

The birds included five American Coots, two Western/Clark’s Grebes, a Eared Grebe, a Horned Grebe and a Greater Scaup). The healthy birds were set free in Berkeley.

A total of 49 live oiled birds have been captured following the tanker spill on October 30, 2009 about 2 1/2 miles south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. At least 20 birds have been found dead after spill that leaked up to 800 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay.

The birds are being treated in Fairfield at the San Francisco Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center (SFBOCEC) that is co-managed by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network and International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC).

You can see more updates on the OWCN Blog

Photo courtsey: OWCN

April 18, 2009

New Bay Bridge will have "Corm Condos"

The long-delayed San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project might be good for the birds too. New “Corm Condos” are being built to give cormorants a newer place to nest underneath the $6 Billion bridge.

The 2 1/2 foot wide steel perches are being added to the eastern span of the Bay Bridge at a cost of $550,000. Double-Crested Cormorants have been roosting beneath the old span for more than 20 years.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s columnist’s, Matier & Ross, poked fun at the Caltrans project in 2005: “The Bay Bridge boondoggle has something for everyone — even the birds.”

Adding:

If the birds don’t take to the new digs on their own, biologists will try to entice them by painting cormorant silhouettes on the perches, playing recordings of cormorants and putting up mirrors on the platforms.

Then there’s the $750,000 that Caltrans is spending under a four-year contract for a small boat crew of binocular-armed ornithologists. Their job is to scour the old bridge for as much as 10 hours a week, keeping an official count of the cormorants along with a handful of endangered birds that inhabit the structure, including brown pelicans, peregrine falcons and least terns.

In reality, we’re trying to share the fragile bay waters with a lot of wildlife and this cost doesn’t seem to high to help the birds have new nesting areas when the old span – built in 1936 – makes way for a newer bridge in 2013. If we can spend $15 million on adding bike lanes to the bridge, another million and change seems fair.

And hello, it turns out measures to protect the cormorants are because of federal and state regulations to help native and endangered habitats.

The original Bay Bridge has been the subject of concern after since a top deck roadbed section collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989.

Read more on the Corm Condos at SFGate.com

April 9, 2008

NTSB: Pilot’s personal issues affected judgement

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing looking into the Cosco Busan oil spill, shed more light on the personal problems of the pilot captain that may have contributed to the disaster on San Francisco Bay.

The NTSB revealed that Capt. John Cota is an alcoholic who also was using prescription drugs during work hours to treat depression and sleep apnea.

“I wouldn’t want anyone taking those medicines and having to make decisions in a safety-sensitive position,” Dr. Robert Bourgeois told an NTSB panel on Wednesday.

With Cota piloting the 900-foot Cosco Busan, the ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog on November 7, 2007. It spilled toxic fuel oil into the bay that fouled the bay and killed at least 2,500 birds.

Cota through his attorney is refusing to testify at the panel’s hearing in Washington, DC this week. He is citing his 5th amendment right against self incrimination.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle story

November 27, 2007

The top ten of sadness: Oiled bird species list

Species most often found covered in oil
(In order of impact)
1. Surf scoter
2. Western grebe
3. Eared grebe
4. Greater scaup
5. Horned grebe
6. Ruddy duck
7. Common murre
8. Common loon
9. Lesser scaup
10. Clark’s grebe

Dead oiled birds
(In order of impact)
1. Surf scoter
2. Western grebe
3. Common murre
4. Western or Clark’s grebe*
5. Brandt’s cormorant
6. Greater scaup
7. Eared grebe
8. Double-crested cormorant
9. Northern fulmar
10. Western gull
* Hybrid category was created because in some circumstances it is impossible to determine type of grebe

Source: California Department of Fish and Game

November 22, 2007

1,053 birds arrived live; 767 washed

New bird care numbers for the SF spill, now more than two weeks old, have been posted:

Birds arrived live: 1,053
Washed: 767
Died/euthanized: 472
Released: 122
Found dead in field: 1,544

Bird numbers also updated daily on this blog’s right hand column.

If you do find an oiled bird, please call (415) 701-2311.

OWCN numbers updated: 11/21/07 @ 8:00 PM

November 17, 2007

A call for volunteers: A personal account


In wake of oil spill, bird rescuers work against clock, the odds:

“…A group of net-wielding bird rescuers in white Tyvek coveralls converged on the scoters from two sides. As the lead netter yelled, “Go, go, go, go, go!” they charged. The ducks, unaware that they were being rescued, fled for the water. Three got away; three were netted and transferred to towel-lined cardboard pet carriers. Then someone asked if we could take the scoters to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia in Solano County for cleaning. Sure!…”

– Excerpt from San Francisco Chronicle’s “Diary of a Dirty Job” column by avid birders and extraordinary volunteers Joe Eaton and Ron Sullivan.

Read the full column

November 16, 2007

Despite worries, Dungeness crab season opens

The Dungeness crab season opened as scheduled Thursday amid health concerns by those who wanted all fishing banned as cleanup continues on last week’s oil spill.

The state announced that only the San Francisco Bay and three miles of Pacific coast, from Point Reyes to San Mateo County, would be off limits to commercial fishing.

It should be noted that a lot of crabbers and fishermen jumped in to help with the oil spill wildlife response: Hear Larry Collins talk about the group’s efforts, he’s a commercial fisherman and president of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners.

In his own words: NPR report

November 16, 2007

More oiled birds washed; 951 now in care

Here’s the latest numbers on the oiled birds:

951 live birds in care
394 washed of oil
197 died/euthanized

884 found dead in the field*

*Birds found dead include:
225 visibly oiled
115 unoiled
544 unassessed

Most of the birds treated include Scoters, Scaups, Grebes, Loons and Cormorants. A complete list of birds affected by the spill will be compiled at the end of the response.

Full story on the spill

All of the birds are being treated at the OWCN’s San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center in Cordelia.

California Fish & Game and IBRRC wildlife rescue teams continue to comb the bay and beaches to collect birds for treatment after the SF Bay spill on Wednesday morning, November 7, 2007.

Updated numbers from OWCN: Thursday 10:00 PM, November 15, 2007.

November 15, 2007

Still out searching for birds

A week has past since the foul stench of bunker crude left its mark on San Francisco Bay. The oil is being cleaned off beaches and the bay. And more importantly from a wildlife standpoint, birds are STILL being rescued.

Crews are working at this very moment trying to locate and catch any oiled bird in distress. They’re searching the rocky shores of Treasure Island, the muddy flats at low tide in Berkeley, the estuaries of Alameda and the Hoffman Marsh area in Richmond that may contain beached oiled birds. They use cat-like tactics, scouting out locations for night time pickups using beacons of light to sneak up on oiled, hyperthermic birds.

It’s not easy work. The birds are spooked easily and wary of anyone carrying a net. But this is the front lines of wildlife rescue and these dedicated crews from IBRRC/OWCN, Fish & Game and others are doing everything in their power to pickup every distressed bird possible.

Please, if you see a birds that need to be rescued, call 311 in San Francisco; outside the SF, please call (415) 701-2311 or if you can’t get through, submit an online sighting report.

Be patient. The crews have a lot of ground to cover. Some areas may be cordoned off in advance to calm skitish birds, allowing crews to capture the unaware avian victims.

Above all, keep unleashed dogs away from beaches and shorelines containing birds. Without your help, good will and continued public bird sightings, the search will surely drag on.

Check our website for more updates: http://www.ibrrc.org

November 14, 2007

Updated bird numbers: 804 in care

An oiled Scaup is cleaned at OWCN/IBRRC bird
rescue center in Cordelia, CA. Click on image to see larger

Here’s the updated numbers on the oiled bird response:

804 live birds in care
244 washed of oil
105 died/euthanized
590 found dead in the field*

* birds found dead include:
112 visibly oiled
62 unoiled
416 unassessed

Full story on the spill

All of the birds are being treated at the OWCN’s San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center in Cordelia.

California Fish & Game and IBRRC wildlife rescue teams continue to comb the bay and beaches to collect birds for treatment after the SF Bay spill on Wednesday morning, November 7, 2007.

Updated numbers from OWCN: Tuesday 10:20 PM, November 13, 2007.

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Volunteers wash birds at the Cordelia wildlife center.

November 14, 2007

David Helvarg: It smells like a gas station

David Helvarg: Death by the Bay, Opinion page, Los Angeles Times:

“…I’m sitting by the dock of the Bay — that’s what Otis Redding called the Berkeley Municipal Pier in his famous song. Only now it smells like a gas station. On the rock pile below me, a surf scoter — a diving duck — is using the bottom of its red bill to preen its oil-blackened feathers. It shakes its head and carefully repeats the process for the half an hour I’m there. When I make too sudden a move, it flaps its wings like it’s going to flee into the water, where it would likely die of hypothermia, its natural insulation ruined by the oil. I’ll see dozens more oiled birds this day: scoters, grebes, gulls, a rudy duck and cormorants.

The Berkeley marina behind me is one big, oily sheen. “Rainbows of oil” is a misnomer. Gasoline leaves rainbow sheens. Bunker fuel leaves green-and-brown streaks and smudges like marbled meat gone bad. It leaves floating tar balls and disks and globular curly-cue pieces, and concentrations of hard, asphalt-like toxic chips…”


See the full piece from the November 13, 2007 issue

November 14, 2007

What others are saying and seeing

Contra Costa Times video report

Gary Bogue’s blog on IBRRC’s efforts

Green clean: SF Chronicle

Accidents happen: CW Nevius

November 11, 2007

Map of SF Bay oil spill

Google has a helpful map that shows areas and beaches affected by the 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel that spilled into the bay after a container ship side swiped the Bay Bridge on Wednesday morning, November 7, 2007.
See the map

November 10, 2007

Sea of good will

From all over California the offers to help keep rolling in:

“If this is as big as they say, every person in the Bay Area that wants to help, should be used to help. Please give the Bay Area community the opportunity & instructions to help resolve this disaster in our own backyard. I have 2 good hands, 2 good feet & 2 days off work. Please don’t let that go to waste…” – J.C.

“If there is anything I can do to help with this horrendous tragedy, please contact me, thank you.” – L.B.

“I live in Santa Barbara and I am willing to travel to the Bay Area to volunteer, or to bring supplies from San Pedro to San Francisco.” – E.C.

“I’m available this week and maybe longer to help with the current oil spill. I understand that you might not be ready to accept volunteers. If so, just ignore this message. I’ll keep on checking the website. Thanks for your work.” – C.C.

“…Please find a use for me!” – T.O.

“I have no training, but am willing to learn, I am 55 years old with free time, thank you.” – G.H.

“Hello, I read through your web site and realized they are not many opportunities to help without training. However if there are any ways I can help with my time, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I take directions well and am a true nature and animal lover. I’d rather do something than feel powerless…” – C.P.

Note: I gathered some of these comments from hundreds of volunteer application submissions off IBRRC’s website. We’ve forwarded all these offers of help to the state’s volunteer coordinator. The OWCN site gives more updated info.

Please know, your good words and deeds will somehow be utilized. Thank you!

November 9, 2007

Dark day on San Francisco Bay

The staff here at International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) has been working non-stop for the three days rescuing as many oiled birds as possible. So far, the center in Cordelia has more than 70 birds in care.

Check out the disturbing photos on SF Chronicle’s website

The culprit of this spill is the Cosco Busan. It’s a container ship that struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 causing 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil to dump into the bay. It was heading out to sea when the accident happened.

IBRRC was quickly alerted by mid day on Wednesday to the potential of oiled animals. As a major partner in the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), we had staff members on the water and shoreline surveying the damage to wildlife.

As spill is coating birds and other wildlife. Unless these birds are rescued soon, the oil spill potentially will endanger the lives of thousands of birds that live in and migrate through these coastal waters.

Check our website is http://www.ibrrc.org