Being grateful for what we have in California

From Jay Holcomb, International Bird Rescue’s Executive Director:

I am resting for a minute so I thought I would write a very short update for the blog. First, thank you all for your well wishes and support. We are so grateful to the people who have contributed their time or money to this effort and to IBRRC’s other programs.

New Video report by Contra Costa Times

Secondly, although this is another horrible oil spill impacting the birds we all love to see in our wonderful bay, I want to say to you that we have something unique in this state that no one else has and that we should all be grateful for. I am and maybe that is because I have been through the horror of trying to care for oiled birds in funky disgusting old buildings that were called “emergency bird treatment facilities”. They never worked!

Since 1990 we now have a state mandated program, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, OWCN, that allows us to provide the “best achievable care” for oiled birds in Califonia. IBRRC is a member participant of the OWCN and we manage two large oiled birds facilities in the state for the network. The center we are working in during this spill is our headquarters based in Cordelia, CA. The other facility is in San Pedro, CA, near Long Beach. We love both facilities and after years of working out of warehouses and horrible make-shift emergency centers that very much limited our ability to care for oiled birds, a day does not go by that I am not grateful for what we have in this state.

IBRRC was one of the first groups in the world to even try to rehabilitate oiled birds way back in 1971 when two oil tankers collided in the fog in San Francisco Bay. And now we’re veterans of over 200 oil spills. Can you believe it?

It is hard to imagine we have been all over the world and managed the oiled bird rescue and rehabilitation programs at the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa where the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and IBRRC jointly worked with local groups to save over 21,000 oiled penguins. Yes, 21,000 penguins and we had remarkable 95% release rate in that spill.

But no where else in all these spills and all these countries do they have a program that coordinates concerned and trained people like our response team and builds and helps maintain state of the art oiled bird rehabilitation facilities. It is only here in California that this is ready and available for use in these tragic spills.

So even though we are ALL fed up with politics and bureaucracy, I just want to point out that at least we have this great program for the birds that live or fly through our state.

That is if for now. We are posting pictures so that you can see the birds we are caring for and we will keep people updated as this spill progresses.

Thanks again for all your support,

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

4 thoughts on “Being grateful for what we have in California”

  1. Nice to see you post. Thank You. Question: If monies are raised and donated to the Davis site, will your organization see those monies? If so, how? If not, why not?

  2. this is an excellent, worthy blog. i really feel for those poor birds affected by the oil slick – keep up the good work.

  3. As a partner in the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) that is headquartered at UC Davis, our organization receives payment from the network for work on any California oil spill.

    Each participating organization in the 25 member network raises funds on its own to help pay for other year round bird rehabilitation programs.

    When monies are donated to OWCN during a spill, it’s my understanding that each of the wildlife groups working on the response split the funds equally.

  4. Hello! My name is Mike Ziccardi, and I am the Director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, based in Davis. I wanted to thank you for following this story via Russ’ excellent blog on the incident. I wanted to clarify our donation policy for this spill. When we receive an e-mail from the public interested in making a donation, we provide the interested person information on all of the 25 participant organizations making up the Network (including IBRRC, WildCare, The Marine Mammal Center, and Lindsay Wildlife Museum in the immediate area) and urge them to donate to any (or all!) of the organizations they choose. While the staff at this spill are compensated for their time by the responsible party, each of these groups need funds to continue their excellent work during non-spill periods.

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