One of the biggest rewards of working in wildlife rehabilitation is seeing treated birds released back to the wild. The one thing better is learning that these patients are now thriving back in nature.
This holiday season at International Bird Rescue one particular bird brings us further joy. A Snowy Egret released in 2012 was spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area this month by bird enthusiast Leslie DeFacio of Alameda, CA. She reported the bird as active, wading, walking, pivoting, flying, and overall very healthy looking.
This Egret was treated at our San Francisco wildlife rehabilitation center back in May of 2012, after being rescued after falling from the nest at West 9th Street rookery in Santa Rosa, CA. After providing supportive nutritional care and treatment for a minor elbow wound, it was released in June of 2012 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park in Oakland. Before release it was banded with red band number A09.
DeFacio submitted an online bird banded report that indicated the Egret was seen at Bay Farm Island, Shoreline Park in Alameda – not far from the release location in 2012. It was seen with 4 – 6 other Snowy Egrets foraging/feeding at sunset along the shoreline of the San Leandro Channel. This Egret has also been spotted and reported multiple times in 2015 – most recently in April 2016 by avid birder Cindy Margulis, Executive Director, of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
Tracking rescued and rehabilitated birds after release provides us with valuable information. Before release we secure ID markers-loose, non-obstructive, plastic and/or metal bands-around one or both legs. These enable us to gather data on returning patients, live sightings, breeding success, travel patterns, and life span.
At Bird Rescue we add our own special colored bands to certain bird species: Red bands for Snowy Egrets, white bands for Black-Crowned Night-Herons and the blue bands for Brown Pelicans. You can learn more about the banding program here: https://www.bird-rescue.org/our-work/research-and-education/banding-program.aspx
Since 2009 our citizen science project relies on the public to spot and report these banded aquatic birds that have been banded with special colored bands. If you see a banded bird, please report it here: https://www.bird-rescue.org/contact/found-a-bird/reporting-a-banded-bird.aspx
Thanks again to Leslie DeFacio and Cindy Margulis for submitting this important location data on A09. With the public’s help we expect to see more of these success stories in the future.