News and Views from International Bird Rescue. International Bird Rescue (Bird Rescue) has been saving seabirds and other aquatic birds around the world. Its mission is to mitigate human impact on aquatic birds and other wildlife. This is achieved through rehabilitation, emergency response, education, research, planning and training.
A Clark’s Grebe that was found oiled in Goleta and transferred down to our Los Angeles Wildlife Center for care presented an interesting challenge for treatment. Although he was only lightly oiled, due to being stranded, cold, starving, and burned by the oil, he had dead skin on both of his hocks that had adhered to the bones, which was a big cause for concern. After a full day of intensive care, this grebe was able to be washed and begin the drying and waterproofing process. Over the course of his trips out to the pools and back in for waterproofing checks, it became clear that the hock lesions on this grebe were infected and would need further treatment.
For the next several months, our staff invested a lot of time into treating this bird’s injuries. This investment was not only to try hard to save this individual, but also because these injuries and infections are commonly seen in diving birds and present a significant treatment challenge in many species. The clinical care of patients like this helps us to figure out what works and what doesn’t. One important new tool in our success in treating severe infections like this bird had is an antibiotic-impregnated polymer gel designed for use in dental abscesses in dogs. Our vet got the idea after seeing a talk on sea turtle wound care at a conference–sea turtle patients also often need to be housed in the water while their wounds are treated, so have a lot in common with Western Grebes!
After 105 days in our care, all of the hard work and specialized veterinary treatment paid off! This beautiful Clark’s Grebe was finally ready for release on May 8th, he was taken out to Cabrillo Beach and returned to his natural home in the wild!
We want to give our staff a huge thank you for working so hard and applying so many innovative techniques and treatments to this patient’s care, making it possible for him to have a second chance!
After more than three months in care, the Clark’s Grebe was released back to the wild.
On May 29, 2019 International Bird Rescue was activated for spill response by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) after approximately 80-125 gallons of crude were released into the Pacific Ocean on May 28 in Goleta, CA. This type of response is well within Bird Rescue’s wheelhouse, and we know what to expect: Within hours of notification, responders Susan Kaveggia and Jeannette Bates were on site and prepared to capture affected wildlife on May 29 and 30.
Luckily, few animals were impacted by this event, but just as in every drill or spill scenario, it pays to expect the unexpected! Several novel challenges came up during this event to keep everyone in the response thinking, including whether a pelican observed eating an oiled crab moments before capture was considered “contaminated” (ultimately, the bird was indeed considered oiled due to observable oil on its feet), and how to identify and process a deceased oiled sea cucumber (thanks to oceanic biologists!). Because we live in California and have a well-established and practiced Wildlife Response Plan and experienced responders in-state, these unexpected and unforeseen issues were resolved quickly without disrupting the response.
Bird Rescue is always ready to respond to an oil spill, whether it happens locally or abroad. In the same month as the Goleta Spill, our Response Management team traveled to Perth, Australia for SpillCon and Vancouver, BC for the Clean Pacific Conference. These events are sponsored by Industry and OSROs (Oil Spill Response Organizations) for Industry, and are a great opportunity to talk with our colleagues and share how Bird Rescue can help professionally manage and respond to wildlife affected in a spill.
Snowy Egrets Rescued From Fallen Oakland Tree - YouTube
Update July 11 @ 7:18 PM: At least 41 birds including 5 eggs are in care.
Disaster struck a large heron and egret rookery in Oakland, CA this week as it split and partially toppled to the ground on Wednesday, sending dozens of baby birds tumbling to the ground. A concerned citizen saw these birds in crisis and immediately called the our San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center to come to the rescue. Executive Director JD Bergeron and Response Manager Michelle Bellizzi were on the scene right away at Jackson at 13th Streets and began collecting the surviving birds to take into care.
Meanwhile, clinic staff and volunteers worked late into the evening to prepare enclosures for the incoming patients and take care of their immediate needs as they arrived. Sixteen birds were admitted that evening, including Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons, some just days old and in need of intensive care in a warm incubator. These birds will remain in our care until they are grown and ready for life on their own in the wild.
We want to say a special thank you to the wonderful individual who called attention to this emergency situation and got Bird Rescue involved right away to give these birds the best chance possible. Of the incident, Response Services Director, Barbara Callahan said “The Emergency Spill Line rang this evening and it was a frantic women desperate for help. ‘There are baby birds in trouble everywhere’, she said! Imagine how great it was to find out our expert rescue team had just arrived ON-SCENE!”
Thank you, also, to all of our supporters and generous donors who make it possible for us jump into action whenever birds are in need of rescue. If you would like to contribute to the care of these newly orphaned herons and egrets, please DONATE TODAY!
After the rescue of baby herons and egrets in downtown Oakland, CA, a city crew cleans up a large part of a fallen tree. IBR photo
Rescued Snowy Egrets rescued from downed tree in Oakland, CA.
Celebrating victory at city hall: Kids from Park Day School and supporters after the Black-crowned Night-Heron was named the Official Bird of the City of Oakland!
Many of the Black-crowned Night-Herons that are injured or orphaned come in to care at our San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center from rookeries in Oakland, CA.
One of the best ways to take action to protect birds in crisis is to use your voice! Even the smallest voices can make a big difference, and Bird Rescue was proud to support the efforts of elementary school students from Park Day School earlier this summer as they set an example of how to speak up on behalf of birds.
It all began in 2017 when a group of third-graders learned about Black-crowned Night-Herons and the threats they face in their home town of Oakland. The city holds multiple breeding colonies for these birds, and each spring hundreds of them come into care at Bird Rescue and other wildlife rehabilitation centers when baby herons fall from their nests onto hard pavement or into busy areas. Moved by the plight of these unique birds, the students jumped into action and started a campaign to name the Black-crowned Night-Heron the official city bird of Oakland. Over the following months, they spread the word and gathered thousands of signatures.
Two years later, the hard work of these tenacious kids paid off! Bird Rescue Executive Director, JD Bergeron, had the pleasure of attending a city council meeting to support the students as they made their final presentation before city officials. A vote was held, and the motion to give the Black-crowned Night-Herons the official designation passed unanimously!
Each of us can make a difference, just like the Park Day School students. Keep an eye out for the challenges your local birds and wildlife face and raise awareness of them in your community!
“You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.” – Wangari Maathai
Back in 2017, the students jumped into action and started a campaign to name the Black-crowned Night-Heron the official city bird of Oakland.
What: Port of Los Angeles Wildlife Impact Mitigation Project, a special presentation: Hosted by International Bird Rescue and the Los Angeles Wildlife Center.
When: Monday, June 24, 2019 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Where: The Plaza At Cabrillo Marina, 2965 Via Cabrillo Marina, San Pedro, California 90731 Map
Thanks to a generous grant from the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF), International Bird Rescue has conducted a study on the impacts to wildlife in the Port of Los Angeles. The study will be presented to the public on Monday evening, June 24, 2019 at 7 PM. There will also be a panel discussion with local experts. Refreshments will be served.
The study was conducted to weigh the human-generated impacts on marine wildlife at the Port of Los Angeles operations. Bird Rescue focused on the waterbirds that wade, dive, feed, and reproduce there. There had been port environmental impact reports before, but no review of wildlife incidents stretching back so far historically, or cast a net so wide.
Part of the study’s findings include education and outreach efforts that involve simple, straight-forward, and practical ways to minimize human-animal impacts (aka “Urban Wildlife Conflicts”), correctly identify common and uncommon wildlife behaviors, recognize signs of distress, and provide easy, direct, convenient resources to contact when intervention might be required.
This San Pedro event is free and open to the public.
Bird Rescue and Harbor Community Benefit Foundation have built a strong partnership over the past five years, with HCBF supporting an impactful summer research internship program for several years. This year, HCBF offered Bird Rescue an opportunity to study current and historic issues affecting wildlife in and around the Port of Los Angeles, and to suggest mitigation measures. The Project is also helping to identify opportunities for further improvements to the health and safety of both marine wildlife and people.
About International Bird Rescue: In 1971 after 800,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the bay, concerned individuals led by a registered nurse named Alice Berkner jumped into action, bringing International Bird Rescue to life. We have always had to pave a road where there is none. Staff and volunteers work with tenacity alongside clients, partners, and the public to find solutions. Today, we research best practices at our crisis response hospitals in California and Alaska and share them worldwide. Our mission is to inspire people to act toward balance with the natural world by rescuing waterbirds in crisis. We dream of a world in which every person, every day, takes action to protect the natural home of wildlife and ourselves.
Celebrating Baby Herons and Egrets – Modern-Day Dinosaurs!
The connection between the today’s birds and their ancient dinosaur ancestors was first suggested in 1860 with the discovery of the feathered dinosaur, Archaeopteryx, in Germany. Today, when we look at the baby herons and egrets in care at our wildlife centers, that relationship couldn’t be more obvious. From their shape and appearance to the sounds they make, there is no question that these birds are modern-day dinosaurs!
The week of May 27-31, 2019 we will be highlighting the baby dinosaurs that come into care each year and the challenges they face in the modern world. Whether it’s nesting in busy, urban areas or conflicts with people, vehicles, or domestic animals, these birds need our help!
As part of Dinosaur Week, we have two special ways that YOU can take action today to help us raise the hundreds of baby “dinosaurs” that will come to us this year!
Adopt one of these Dino Birds
Each year our wildlife centers take in hundreds of orphaned baby herons and egrets. All of this work is funded through generous donations from supporters like you! To help, you can symbolically adopt one of baby birds: Adopt a Baby Black-crowned Night-Heron!
Buy a limited edition Dino Bird Rescue t-shirt
In celebration of Baby Dinosaur Week at Bird Rescue, we are releasing a limited edition International Dinosaur Rescue T-Shirt! This design will only be available to order between now and June 2nd– order yours today!
Also, to help celebrate this Dino week we are giving away special dinosaur bird rescue t-shirts. Three lucky winners will chosen this week. Enter to win here
Duckling with feathers contaminated with super glue. Photo by International Bird Rescue
Each spring, hundreds of baby birds come into care at Bird Rescue. Human-wildlife conflicts are the primary causes of these admissions. As urban development continues, suitable nesting habitat decreases, bringing people and baby birds into contact.
Between our two California wildlife centers, this May we have over 200 ducklings already in care, including the little one pictured here that came in contaminated with super glue! Our team was able to remove enough of the glue to give the duckling full range of movement. To avoid putting the duckling through the stress of a rigorous wash process, we will wait for this patient to molt the contaminated down fluff naturally as its new feathers grow in over the coming weeks.
You can help protect baby birds in a variety of ways this season! Here are a few of our top suggestions:
Wait to trim your trees until nesting season is over (October – November)
If you see baby birds, give them space! Sometimes parents are nearby but are frightened of humans
Keep natural areas free from litter
Know when to rescue a baby bird, and when not to – Read some great tips from Audubon here.
Support your local wildlife rehabilitation organizations
If you would like to support Bird Rescue during baby bird season this year, consider symbolically adopting a duckling! Your donation will go a long way towards helping our orphaned patients grow up strong and healthy, and eventually return to the wild. Duckling adoptions can make a great birthday present or Mother’s Day gift too!
Your Duckling adoption comes with a downloadable certificate to honor that special loved one.
Predator proofing had recently become a key issue at our L.A. wildlife center in San Pedro. As development has continued in the surrounding community, the presence of predatory species such as raccoons and rats in and around the center has increased significantly. In the spirit of being good stewards of our local ecosystem, our staff researched the best methods for preventing the mounting predator concerns. To protect both our patients and local wildlife, we opted to use exclusion methods that would prevent the need for trapping or extermination. Upgrades to the outdoor animal enclosures were designed to create a hard, protective barrier against predators on the outside while maintaining a soft, safe interior for our patients on the inside.
With the help of a generous grant from the Marathon Petroleum Foundation, these designs were finally able to come to fruition! Hardware cloth was applied to the exterior of our outdoor aviaries and enclosures to keep out any would-be intruders. In addition, aluminum flashing was attached to the top of the structures to prevent any animals from climbing on top of the aviaries. To keep our recovering patients protected from the heavy-duty surfaces of the aviaries, we applied new netting to provide a soft cushion for the birds inside.
The grant also included funding for the installation of a new washer and two dryers to help us keep up with constant flow of laundry through our facility. We are so grateful to the Marathon Petroleum Foundation for their support which has made these critical upgrades possible!
A Western Gull in the newly predator-proofed aviary.
Highlighted aviary improvements include inner netting and aluminum flashing on the outside caging to keep predators out of bird area.
The Bird Rescue family welcomes our newest San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center clinic staff, Sylvia Bauer. For as long as she can remember, Sylvia has been keenly interested in animals and has taken measures to make the world a better place through studying and caring for them. Her passion became activated during her high school years in Elk Grove, CA, when she joined Future Farmers of America (FFA), specializing in hands-on work with poultry. She eventually earned an American Degree, the highest distinction for FFA members.
Sylvia then attended California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo where she graduated in 2015 with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Poultry Management. As with many college-bound students interested in animals, at first, she thought she was aiming for a vet degree. Through other opportunities at Cal Poly, she discovered that she could interface with wildlife (and not just domestic or farm species). As Sylvia explains now, “My journey led me other places and now I am completely content not being a vet!”.
After college Sylvia took on several internships, including the San Diego Zoo Safari Park where she recalls falling in love with three animals in particular: an old Meerkat going grey around the muzzle, and a tiny African deer called a Dik-dik who gave her a little snort when she saw her coming. The most exciting opportunity for Sylvia though was working with the zoo’s new baby rhino named Chutti, whom she fed oversized bottles of food that the baby guzzled at an astounding rate. She also interned for a time at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, building research enclosures. She even had the opportunity to give reindeer vaccinations and study herd health.
Sylvia had never even heard of International Bird Rescue until 2018 when her aunt, a long-time donor to Bird Rescue, offered to bring Sylvia along to one of our public events. She was impressed by what she saw, but it wasn’t until she browsed the internet one day looking for a new full-time position that Bird Rescue came up again, this time with a job opening. She interviewed, and the rest is history and Sylvia has now been on-board with us for two months!
So far, her favorite part about coming to work is “when you show up for work and learn that a bird patient is NOT there – and you know it got released back to its wild home!” She also found that the most surprising thing about working with seabirds is, “the size of the birds when you’re actually handling them as opposed to when you’re out birding. For example, a Bufflehead is more compact than you think it might be. It’s a humbling moment when you’re getting to know birds on an intimate level, and it’s awesome to experience wildlife up close.”
Sylvia looks forward to becoming more deeply connected to the community of like-minded people who care about helping the environment and who are as passionate as she is about helping wildlife. Welcome Sylvia, we are thrilled and honored to have you in our Bird Rescue family!
You are invited to help International Bird Rescue celebrate 2019 Bird L.A. Day on May 4th at our Los Angeles Wildlife Center. We will have crafts, special presentations, a gift shop, and educational booths where you can learn more about the waterbirds that we care for and how you can take action to protect them. The event runs form 10 AM to 2 PM.
Starting at 11 AM, Bird Rescue will welcome our Executive Director JD Bergeron and local partners for presentations at the center. JD will share information about our programs including wildlife rehabilitation and oil spill response. Also the Marine Biology and Environmental Club from Amino High School will discuss plastic pollution’s impact on wildlife, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy will share their bird focused programs including the cactus wren citizen science project.
We will also have art activities led by artists from the Angels Gate Cultural Center and a DIY activity and presentation on the Zero Waste Lifestyle with Chi Le and Maciej Lisiak.
A special wildlife watching evening sail is being offered by our friends at Lami Topsail from 5:00 – 7:30 PM with special discounts for Bird LA Day guests. Find more information and book tickets at https://www.lamitopsail.org/community-calendar/ or by calling 310-833-6055.
The History of Bird LA Day
Held every May, Bird LA Day celebrates the birds of Southern California and LA’s amazing biodiversity. Bird and nature-themed events are held throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The 6th Annual Bird LA Day shines the spotlight on nature, and reminds the world that Los Angeles is a lot more than just film, fashion and celebrities. The majority of events are family-friendly and free-of-charge.