Disclosure: Through Jen is on a Journey and Dawn Day in the Wildlife Blog Ambassador, I have been behind the scenes at both The Marine Mammal Center and the International Bird Rescue Center to see Dawn in action, and how these organizations make a difference. This is my experience.
It was just a few weeks ago when various contaminated birds began washing ashore around the East Bay. Well over 500, to be exact. Of these 500, 323 were taken into the International Bird Rescue center in Fairfield, CA, where team members there began a thorough rehabilitation of the birds. Unfortunately for the others, the contamination took their lives. No more birds have been admitted to the center since January 22nd, and the International Bird Rescue has been assured that the East Bay shorelines has been cleaned up since then.
A “Mystery Goo” substance is what had contaminated the birds. A substance that is still unknown to the International Bird Rescue center, and has perplexed many. A substance that feels just like Rubber Cement, and very life threatening to the birds coming ashore. The substance gets into their feathers, in which, may cause hypothermia in the birds.
Each bird, upon entrance to the center, would go through an Intake Evaluation, then be given a Dawn Bath. Because the Mystery Goo substance was so thick, just Dawn dish soap was not enough. A mixture of Vinegar and Baking Soda to help take off the rubbery substance in the feathers followed by a Dawn Bath would take place. In more cases, just one bath is needed, but some birds needed 2 baths during this process.
Evaluations take place often at the International Bird Rescue center. From first intake when the birds first arrive on scene, to times throughout their stay, and one final evaluation before they are released back into the wild.
Evaluations help determine the birds Health, and to see how they’re doing in their recovery process. On the day we visited the center, we saw birds receive medicine, being weighed, and having their blood taken by the various volunteers at the center. Each bird being wrapped in a towel during an evaluation. Lots of laundry happens at the center!
Volunteer at International Bird Rescue releasing a bird back into their Pool.
After an evaluation the birds are placed back into the pool area that they were assigned. Often times, upon placing them back into the pool, they test how they fly to see if they have any difficulties. All apart of the rehabilitation process.
Male Surf-Scoters in Recovery
Volunteers have been working non-stop to help these birds recovered. On Wednesday, January 28, the first 24 birds from the Mystery Goo substance were released back into the Wild (we saw this amazing release in person!) followed by another release of 50 birds this past Saturday. This morning, another 81 birds were released back into the East Bay area.
A Male Surf-Scoter being Released into the Wild Wednesday, January 28.
There are still 132 birds in recovery at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center leaving them in emergency mode, caring for hundreds of seabirds covered in a mystery substance. To learn more and to find out how you can help the volunteers and the seabirds they are caring for, visit: http://bird-rescue.org/
Jamie is a contributor to Jen is on a Journey, born and raised a Minnesota Girl she has landed herself in California. She writes over at http://mngirlinla.com where she explores all things food, travel and wine.