The Weekly Bittern #3: Counting Birds

Dear Friends of Bird Rescue–

As I become more familiar with the work and challenges of Bird Rescue, I am aiming to give you more insider’s views of how things work at this amazing organization. The graphic above shows a snapshot of all the birds in our care in both the LA and SF Bay Wildlife Centers–that’s 292 feathery heartbeats that we need to feed, medicate, waterproof, watch over, and ultimately hope to release back into the wild.

At this time of year–breeding season–the vast majority of these numbers are orphaned and/or injured babies. The remainder consist of adult and juvenile birds that have come into care sick, broken, dehydrated, or otherwise compromised by fishing line, contaminants, animal attack, or the like.


The team has been working furiously all summer to stay on top of the high numbers of gull, heron and egret chicks–higher numbers than we have ever seen in a season!

Photo Credit: Cheryl Reynolds
Photo Credit: Cheryl Reynolds

Today, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a few interesting treatments here in the SF Bay center. The first was the arrival of a hatchling Black Oystercatcher (see photo), a species which we have never raised in-house and have only seen rarely as a patient in our history. The chick was put in a heated intensive care unit along with a surrogate parent (feather duster) and we began the effort to find a suitable food. Fortunately, the chick has a taste for mussels and we have been able to get her to feed directly on tiny bits of mollusk. We have reached out to some of our peers who may have more experience with this species for guidance on the best possible care.

Yesterday, I was able to watch a delicate surgery on a new patient, a White-faced Ibis (see slideshow) with a double fracture in one wing. This bird will be featured on our BirdCam soon. Our Staff Veterinarian Rebecca Duerr and SF Center Manager Michelle Bellizzi worked tirelessly on this gentle bird’s wing, setting the affected bones and stabilizing the wing for the healing period. [slideshow_deploy id=’14320′]

Our work never ends at Bird Rescue — in a few days’ time we will likely receive another intake of birds. Until then, we’ll be busy caring for those in our centers and providing the needed support to get them closer to release.

Thank you as always for your support of Bird Rescue. We are only as strong as our base of supporters. Please keep spreading the word!

There are many ways to support International Bird Rescue:

adopt a bird

become a recurring donor


• follow us and share our posts on Facebook and Twitter

Best regards,





JD Bergeron