Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Saving the Birds at International Bird Rescue

This is a sponsored post by Dawn and the third post of a four-series posts on my experiences with #DawnDayintheWildlife.  To read the series posts please click HERE.

My first memories of Dawn were the commercials with the adorable ducklings being washed with Dawn dish soap, and I would be lying if I said I hadn't shed a tear or two watching those commercials!  Now thanks to Dawn I met Andrew Harmon, Director of Marketing and Communications of  the International Bird Rescue (IBR).  Andrew spoke to the group of us #DawnDayintheWildlife bloggers at The Marine Mammal Center about Dawn's partnership with the IBR.

The California Brown Pelican and Gulls
The IBR is in Fairfield, California, only about an hour from our Bay Area home, so I was invited to extend my #DawnDayintheWildlife experience by visiting a great rescue center for birds.  I was really excited that I was able to take the rest of my family because my children really love wildlife, and particularly birds, but I explained to my children that we were visiting a "Bird Hospital" and we might see some birds with injuries.

Indeed that is exactly what it looked like a "Bird Hospital"!

The Examination

We quietly observed a Gull being examined, this particular Gull had a wing injury.  A fisherman found him with a fishing hook puncturing his wing, so he captured and took it to a local animal shelter.  This Gull had already been patched up by the animal shelter but the IBR volunteers had to examine the injury and redress the injury.

Body, Injured Wing and Head Examination
During the examination, the volunteers want to have the least "human interaction" with the bird, since it is a wild bird and they want the bird to stay wild.  Andrew explained the reason the bird's head is covered with the towel is to have the least amount of eye contact and only during the head examination is the head uncovered.  Some more aggressive birds might even lunge to peck a person's eyes, so the least amount of eye contact the better!

As for my children, I had to explain to them that we had to be VERY quiet so the bird wouldn't get scared.  I think because the bird had an "owie" the children were very quiet and concerned for the gull.  They understood that the bird "doctors" were making the gull feel better!  I am very thankful to the IBR for allowing my children to experience a little bit of #DawnDayintheWildlife.

The Cleaning Process and Facilities

We were able to visit the IBR's cleaning and rehabilitation rooms and of course the donated Dawn dish soap was on display everywhere!

When birds come covered in oils, the volunteers need to clean the birds.  The oils are very dangerous to the birds because the unnatural oils allow the birds to get wet as well as possibly chemically burning their skin or eyes.  There is a process in how the birds are taken care of which usually follows the routine of washing, rinsing, drying, waterproofing and release.  We did not observe the whole process since there were no other birds than the gull being currently attended but below you can experience a "Real Wildlife Release with Dawn" and see the the process from beginning to end!

From the washing rooms bird are transferred to drying cages.  The cages are for all sizes of aquatic bird, some even large enough to hold a California Brown Pelican.  The IBR works hard to save all these beautiful birds by partnering with volunteers, other organizations and companies including oil companies. These volunteers spend countless hours washing, feeding, constructing drying racks so these birds can have a chance for survival once they are returned to their natural habitats.

On the outside of the IBR facilities, we were able to see the warming tanks (as explained in the video) as well as some birds in the last stage of their "stay" at the IBR.  The whole family was excited to get a sneak peak on the birds and we silently cheered when we saw the birds swimming in their pools.

We even saw the resident Egret who was treated at the IBR and release in the nearby marshes but it loved it's stay so much that it returns to visit regularly!

Chasqui Mom's Last Thoughts...

My absolute favorite part of our visit was the aviary cage for more reasons than one.  Earlier during our visit I saw a Gull being treated for an injury and to be completely honest, I wasn't too found of gulls.  Why? Well because I viewed them as annoying birds who would always try to steal my chips at the beach or attack dumpsters scavenging for food.

Just like many things in life, until I educated myself about the "thing" I didn't like I viewed it as an annoyance.  I saw all birds, and in particular the Gull, in a different light after visiting the IBR because they are wild birds.  Sadly our human actions have affected their "wildness" and these formerly "annoying" birds are as beautifully wild as the California Brown Pelican.

Now when I'm hiking with my children along the San Francisco Bay, it brings a smile to my face to think that maybe one of the birds flying along was a bird saved by the International Bird Rescue.

Nature applauds the efforts of the International Bird Rescue and Dawn.  I applaud them for giving nature a boost so my children can enjoy it for future generations to come.

A few facts about the IBR:
Photo Courtesy of the International Bird Rescue
  •  There are two centers (bird hospitals) in California: The San Francisco Bay Area and another in the Southern California.
  • The IBR saves seabirds and aquatic birds affected by man-made and natural disasters such as oil-spills and marine trash from around the world since 1971.
  • From Alaska to Argentina to South Africa, the IBR can send emergency response teams to help when disasters hit these beautiful birds.
  • In 1978, IBR founder Alice Berkner discover that Dawn worked best cutting the oil off of birds and since 1988 Dawn began its partnership with IBR.
  • The IBR has about 200 volunteers!

I would like to thank Dawn who provided this sponsored trip.  As always these are my true and honest opinions.

Related Posts and Links:
  1. Dawn's Day in the Wildlife on the California Coast
  2. Dawn Day in the Wildlife: The Marine Mammal Center Volunteers & Family Outdoor Education
  3. International Bird Rescue: Every Bird Matters (Official Web Page)

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