Volunteer: Why I help birds for free at IBRRC

Dear IBRRC Friend,

My name is Karen Sheldon, and I’m a volunteer at IBRRC’s Northern California bird rescue center. From one bird lover to another, I’d like to tell you a little about my experience caring for injured aquatic birds over the past four years.

If you’ve never visited IBRRC’s rescue centers, they’re like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They are not zoos by any means; they’re hospitals. The birds are there for a variety of reasons. But regardless of whether they are sick, injured or oiled, our ultimate goal is the same: to return these birds to the wild.

That’s why I hope you’ll consider making a year-end gift to IBRRC. No matter how large or small, I can guarantee you that your support makes a difference to these birds.

When a bird is ready to return to the wild, one of the volunteers usually drives it out to a release point. We call it “getting a ride out to the beach.” Watching these little guys who have been in our care for days when we open their cages – there’s nothing quite like that moment. Some of them are very cautious – they don’t want to get out of the enclosed space, and they very carefully get into the water. Others immediately rush up to join a group and fly away.

It’s these experiences that make all the long hours cleaning cages and dodging bird bites worth it.

And I can tell you firsthand that IBRRC wouldn’t exist and these releases would not be possible without the donor support. The Northern California center operates on only five paid staff and about 60 volunteers. And in 2010, we admitted more than 2,650 birds for care and treatment. I can’t stress enough how critical donor contributions are to keeping the centers running – and making these “rides out to the beach” possible.

I hope you will help us make more releases possible with your support.

Thank you so much for all you do to help us rescue birds.


Karen Sheldon
Volunteer, IBRRC Northern California Bird Rescue Center