New place to fly, recuperate

The new aviary at Bird Rescue’s Northern California center allows birds to fly from perch to perch. It can handle 75 recuperating pelicans at one time. (IBR photo)

100-foot flight aviary helps pelicans and other birds stretch their wings

Recuperating pelicans in Northern California now have a better place to stretch their wings after the construction of a new 100-foot flight aviary at International Bird Rescue in Cordelia/Fairfield.

In 2007, thanks to a generous grant from the Green Foundation and funding from the California Department of Fish and Game, Bird Rescue designed and built the aviary at the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center in Fairfield, CA. The center is managed by Bird Rescue as part of Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) treating oiled, injured and sick aquatic birds year-round in the Northern California area and beyond.

The critical need for an extra large aviary to care for pelicans and other large birds has always been known. It became even more evident in 2002 when Bird Rescue treated over 200 sick brown pelicans in one month and an annual steady flow of pelicans since then.

As Domoic Acid and increased fishing tackle injuries impacting pelicans and other large seabirds increase, appropriate facilities and aviaries to care for and house these birds are required. The new aviary is a state of the art rehabilitation enclosure specifically designed to encourage exercise and normal behavior. Two high perches installed at each end of each aviary require pelicans to exercise their pectoral muscles to gain height and balance and the pools provide large surface water areas for essential bathing and interaction. The pelican aviary can hold up to 75 pelicans at a time if needed.

Brown Pelican in flight at Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles wildlife center.

This is Bird Rescue’s second aviary on the west coast. In 2001, the first large pelican aviary was built at the Los Angeles Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center in San Pedro, CA where we also operate our own aquatic bird rehabilitation program 365 days a year. The center takes in many pelicans at that center and the aviary has proved invaluable helping seabirds in their rehabilitation process. It allows enough room for pelicans and other large seabirds to fully stretch their wings and fly long distances allowing the rehabilitation staff to evaluate each bird’s flight capabilities and behavior.

In seven years it has housed over a 1,000 Brown and White Pelicans and many other sea bird species including Cormorants, Terns, Gulls, Frigatebirds, Albatross and Boobies. This cage has helped rehabilitate birds sent from as far away as Oregon, Washington, Vancouver, BC and Arizona.

Aviary information:

Length: 100 feet
Width: 20 feet
Height: 30 feet
Fencing: Plastic covered chain link
Pools: Two fiberglass pools 30 feet long by 10 foot wide
Perches: Branches and logs with two high perches.
Flooring: Gravel

Overview of new aviary at the San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center is on the edge of the Suisun Marsh about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco. (IBR photo)