The Release Files: Partnership Helps Egrets and Herons Fly Free

Snowy Egret released at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline Park in Oakland, CA. Photo by Ilana DeBare, Golden Gate Audubon Society

This week we celebrate the partnership that helped rescue and release 20 Egrets and Herons in Oakland, CA. Among the bunch, a Black-crowned Night-Heron that came into International Bird Rescue with a broken leg after a tree split in two June 19th in downtown Oakland.

The Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons were set free at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park with the help of our partners from the Golden Gate Audubon Society and the Oakland Zoo.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons peek out of transport cage before taking flight. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue

“Today, I saw the culmination of a near-perfect partnership! Last year, our friends at Golden Gate Audubon and Oakland Zoo came together to monitor the downtown Oakland rookery and provide urgent stabilizing care,” said JD Bergeron, Executive Director of Bird Rescue. “This resulted in quicker response times for fallen chicks and better outcomes once they arrived at our wildlife center for rehabilitation.”

“Building on the success of last year, our three organizations rescued even more birds this year. It feels great to see off this many young herons and egrets back into the wild,” added Bergeron. “It’s quite a moving experience for everyone involved. And all this in front of volunteers, new and old, and the media — it’s so encouraging to see everyone coming together to do the right thing for the environment and our fellow inhabitants of this little blue planet.”

Many of the rescued birds were residents of the Bay Area’s largest heron rookery. It’s located near busy streets in a downtown Oakland. It has been the scene of several rescues of baby herons falling to the ground during the nesting season. The young birds were transported to Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center where they are treated for stress and injuries.

“Baby herons and egrets are among our neediest patients,” said Bergeron. “They eat expensive feeder fish and require a variety of cages and specialized care over the course of six or seven weeks. At a cost of about $18 per day for a healthy baby and twice that for an injured one, this can really add up!”

Media Reports

East Bay Times:  Herons and egrets, rescued in downtown Oakland, take flight

ABC-TV: Egrets, Herons nest in wetlands in Oakland 

Snowy Egrets after being set free in Oakland, CA. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds, International Bird Rescue