First Brown Pelicans Released At Goleta Beach Following Refugio Oil Spill


Dear Bird Rescue Supporter,

There’s nothing quite like a bird release to stir your soul.

Photo of released Brown Pelicans Goleta, CA
Brown Pelicans released at Goleta Beach head back to the wild. Photo by Valerie Kushnerov, City of Goleta

On Friday we happily helped release the first 10 clean, rehabilitated Pelicans back to the wild at Goleta Beach. All of these majestic seabirds were oiled in the May 19th Refugio oil spill in Santa Barbara.

Satellite tracking device between the Pelican's wings.  Photo: Justin Cox, UC Davis
Satellite tracking device between the Pelican’s wings. Photo: Justin Cox, UC Davis

The awe inspiring sight of these Brown Pelicans returning home gave us all renewed hope that humans can and will work to help heal oiled wildlife. More than 50 oiled birds have come to the San Pedro center – mainly Pelicans rescued in the Pacific Ocean from Refugio south to Ventura County.

As a proud member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) the center near the Los Angeles Harbor was at ground zero for this oiled seabird response. International Bird Rescue staff and volunteers, along with other OWCN members, worked tirelessly to help care for the effected birds.

As part of the research aspect of the spill response, five Pelicans were outfitted with solar-powered satellite tracking devices. This will help OWCN scientists track and study the rescued birds.

As always, we appreciate all the kind words and notes of encouragement for our role in helping to make sure “Every Bird Matters”.


Barbara Signature



Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director
International Bird Rescue

Photo of special green Z banded released Brown Pelican from Refugio Oil Spill

P.S. – If you spot a banded Brown Pelican with a special “Z” leg numbered band, please report it to the OWCN tip line: 1-877-UCD-OWCN.