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49 Little Blue Penguins oiled in the spill from the grounded cargo ship Rena were released today in New Zealand, after rescue and rehabilitation by emergency response teams, including International Bird Rescue, organized through Massey University’s New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre. In preparation for the release we set up three aviaries with a salt water system and gradually raised the salinity to that of seawater. It’s a bit hard to get into the Christmas spirit for those of us not used to worrying about sunburn in November, but it is starting to look like we may make it home with some time left to do our Christmas shopping. There has been a catastrophic oil spill on a remote island in the mid-South Atlantic Ocean that is threatening an entire colony of endangered Northern Rockhopper Penguins.
The MS Oliva ran aground on Nightingale Island, one of three islands of the Tristan da Cunha group, on March 16, 2011.
Nightingale Island is regarded as one of the world’s most important wildlife habitats. IBRRC’s colleagues at The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) are leading bird rescue and rehabilitation efforts and will soon be en-route. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the current Northern Rockhopper Penguin population in the Tristan da Cunha island group is estimated 18-27,000 at Inaccessible Island, 3,200-4,500 at Tristan. IBRRC has been in touch with SANCCOB and, along with other leading international wildlife groups, is providing support by phone as their team prepares to mobilize. This is a truly grave situation for the Rockhopper Penguin colony and the ultimate challenge for wildlife rehabilitators. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Oregon Standard Oil Spill, the massive 800,000 gallon spill that occurred in San Francisco Bay in 1971.
IBRRC’s Founder Alice Berkner, and a handful of others, came up with the concept of IBRRC while trying to help the more than 7,000 birds that filled warehouses around the Bay Area. This year we proudly celebrate IBRRC’s 40th anniversary, and throughout the year we will provide more information, interviews and celebrate our accomplishments.
Since then, tens of thousands of animals have been recovered and given a second chance thanks to IBRRC and because of one person’s vision and focus. After nearly five months working at the Gulf Oil Spill I just returned to California and want to give you an update on IBRRC’s efforts at the largest oil spill in U.S.
The demobilization of all four rehabilitation centers and the remaining two stabilization centers should be completed in the next few weeks as they are no longer receiving oiled birds. In terms of the rehabilitation of impacted birds, many of them did well considering the logistical and political challenges that were a part of this spill. During this large-scale effort, while up to our elbows in oiled pelicans and chaos, we received an outpouring of good will and encouragement from our supporters, members and others who repeatedly relayed to us that our efforts gave them hope during what seemed like a hopeless situation. The specific details and stories, as well as more pictures and video of our spill response and experiences will be forthcoming in the next few months. On behalf of all of our staff, volunteers and response team, I want to thank you for your support during the spill. Since the beginning of the BP Gulf oil spill in April, the main animal rehabilitation center has been located in Buras, LA. Initially, the Hammond Bird Rehabilitation Facility will be capable of handling approximately 1,000 birds, and capacity could be increased to house as many as 2,000 to 3,000 birds. It’s situated on the grounds of what was once a very large lumber yard with multiple empty warehouses and plenty of room for large outdoor enclosures. With this in mind, oiled animals that continue to come in through Venice and Port Sulphur will receive first aid at a stabilization site nearby before being transferred to us in Hammond. A new report released by the prestigious American Bird Conservancy this week is asking serious questions about BP’s oil spill cleanup efforts and how they may be causing more harm than good to birds and to their habitats. According to the press release, observations are based on a just-completed week-long field assessment by ABC staff, who observed oil impacts and cleaning operations from Louisiana through Mississippi to Dauphin Island, Alabama.
The the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a nicely done video report (above) capturing the sights and sounds of the capture of oiled Brown Pelicans and oil-cleaning process at the Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center in Buras, Louisiana.
The iconic brown pelican have been swamped by oil from the BP well blow out in the Gulf of Mexico that started on April 20, 2010. At least 250 cleaned birds have been released to coastal areas in Florida, Texas and now Georgia. Duane Titus talks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on his visit today to see the ongoing oiled bird care at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Center in Buras, Louisiana.
As of noon today, 634 oiled birds have been captured, 783 dead birds collected and 42 have been released – mainly in Florida.
As you can see we have had a significant spike in the number of birds that we are receiving in the Ft. We have been busy here working with the birds and putting in long hours so I do not always get the time to write on the blog but there are a few things I wanted to share with our readers. Another thing in the birds favor is that it is very warm this time of year and the birds are able to survive longer than birds in colder climates.
We have been allowing the media into the center every day from 1 to 2pm, usually longer, in the afternoon to do interviews, see the birds and get the stories. Our amazing founder, Alice Berkner, always said to me that the reason that she got involved in this work was because she felt somewhat responsible as a credit card holder of the company who was responsible for the spill in 1971 that initiate the founding of IBRRC. So, here we are, almost 40 years on with a lot of experience and expertise under our belts and something we can offer to once again help in the clean up of the spill by helping these animals that really are our collective responsibility to care for. International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware.
The oil spill involves a ruptured drilling platform approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. At least 40 million gallons of crude has been dumped into the Gulf of Mexico and harmed fragile breeding grounds for Brown Pelicans and other shorebirds. Well, I am sure by now you have all seen the pictures of the oiled birds that were captured in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Please know that we are all doing well here, unhappy like you that this is happening, but we have a great master plan to offset as much damage to the birds as we can. If you would like to send donations then please keep in mind that your local wildlife rehabilitation organization really needs your help also.
Yesterday we received 3 more oiled birds at the Fort Jackson oiled bird rehabilitation facility. On Wednesday of this week we received another three oiled Northern Gannets in Fort Jackson and we continued washing and rehabilitating birds in Louisiana.
Our search and collection teams, working under the direction of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, continued patrolling impacted and other areas in the outer regions of the Mississippi River Delta region. One oiled Brown Pelican came into the Pensacola, Florida bird rehabilitation center and one oiled Gannet came into the Theodore, Alabama rehabilitation center. The complete list of birds received and under care are listed on our website A total of 27 live oiled birds have received in to Gulf wildlife care centers.
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. Tuesday was a good day for the capture teams on the water as the weather allowed our teams, who are working as part of the U.S. One oiled brown pelican was captured and brought into the Alabama facility on Tuesday also. Search and collection efforts and the rehabilitation of the birds at these facilities are continuing. The leak continues to spill oil into Gulf waters and BP has made some progress in plugging the gush of crude from the ocean floor.
Yesterday was a hot but clear day in the Gulf of Mexico and it was a good day for the teams to get out in the field in all areas.
In Louisiana we received another Northern Gannet that workmen plucked out of the water in one of the oiled areas.
I have been asked to compare this spill with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill many times by the media.
For the last two days our capture teams in Louisiana were mostly grounded due to intense thunderstorms and lightning strikes on the water. The reports we are getting now are about birds out in the deep water oiled areas and on some of the islands but you have to have safe access to those areas.
Yesterday afternoon we did receive an oiled Gannet that was luckily plucked out of the water by a fishing boat that was coming back to the harbor. Alabama - Our oiled bird rehabilitation center in Alabama received 7 sick non-oiled, lethargic brown pelicans and 1 laughing gull from that area. Mississippi – Our center in Gulfport received an oiled Gannet on Saturday and it is doing well. Florida – Our center in Pensacola received an oiled gannet on Saturday also and it is doing well.
Back at Home at our California Bird Rescue centers- It has taken a few weeks for us to get the wildlife centers on line here in the Gulf states and get a handle on this program and to understand and infiltrate ourselves into how its all working in this spill.
In order to support our staff and volunteers back at home in Cordelia (Northern California) and San Pedro (Southern California) we are hiring on extra summer help at both centers to make sure that the clinics are supported and run as smoothly as possible.
Also, we will probably be shifting our main clinic rehabilitation staff out to give each of them opportunities to work in the Gulf. Response Team members, including IBRRC’s Heather Nevill, clean an oiled Brown Pelican Saturday at Fort Jackson, Louisiana Oiled Wildlife Center after being rescued at the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Note: Our Executive Director Jay Holcomb provides background narration in this AP Video Report. In addition to responding to oil spills around the world, International Bird Rescue staff work to care for birds impacted by lesser known threats like natural oil seeps under the ocean, algal blooms, marine debris, and extreme weather.
Because that day will mark 40 years since the United States’ government finally stopped redeeming its dollars for gold.


Indeed, refusing to redeem foreign governments’ Dollars for US gold bars should have played well to the crowd.
Freed from gold’s seemingly arbitrary limits, money bred so fast – everywhere – that wholesale and consumer-price inflation reached untold peace-time levels, crushing savers in both the equity and bond markets pretty much worldwide. Hike interest rates so high that cash-on-deposit actually starts paying a positive real return, post-inflation.
Over the first-half of the 1980s, real interest rates – paid over and above inflation – averaged nearly 5% per year. Peaking at almost 15% in 1980, the pace of US inflation then fell by more than two-thirds in the following half-decade. Here in early 2011, cash savers and central bankers alike stand so far removed from gold-backed currency, let alone from gold-as-money itself, the idea of returning to redeemable notes seems ridiculous. At The Present Time the economy is so off the wall and a lot of us definitely really don\’t comprehend what the heck is Seriously taking place!
As well as being an Irish Austrian, Professor Gerard Casey is a member of the School of Philosophy in University College, Dublin.
We sorted the penguins into “tribes” according to their location of capture, their state of waterproofing and their estimated time until molt. Since New Zealanders don’t celebrate Thanksgiving there is nothing to stop Christmas creep.
The island is home to 40% of the world’s population of Northern Rockhopper Penguins (photo, above), and about 20,000 have already been confirmed oiled. You may remember that IBRRC has worked with SANCCOB in four different oil spills in Cape Town, South Africa.
Nightingale and Middle Islands were estimated to support 125,000 pairs in the 1970s, but recent observations suggest that the main colony on Nightingale has decreased in size. SANCCOB’s team will be arriving at the islands on Sunday, March 27th, and has asked IBRRC’s trained and experienced team to be prepared to offer support. SANCCOB is the most experienced penguin rehabilitation organization in the world and we have full confidence in their ability to set up the best possible program for these birds. The concept of International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) was born in the midst of the spill because it was clear way back in 1971 that oil spills were becoming a part of our reality, and after a quick review it was evident that no organization had developed effective techniques to care for oiled birds. In the meantime, let’s take a moment of silence to remember the animals that lost their lives 40 years ago. On behalf of all of us who have followed in your path, thank you Alice for your passion and vision, and for creating IBRRC. We still have five IBRRC response team members in the gulf helping Tri-State Bird Rescue get the last of the birds released. Approximately 2,000 live oiled birds have been admitted to the rescue centers since late April..
Our organization mobilized over 88 response team members, and completed well over 400 media interviews from CNN to documentary film crews.
This was an unexpected surprise and meant a great deal to all of us who worked long hours to ensure that each bird received expert care. To commemorate this historic event, we have also created a limited edition t-shirt that honors and displays the birds that were the true stars of the oil spill and deserve the most recognition.
It’s located in the town of Hammond which is about 60 miles north of New Orleans above Lake Pontchartrain. While we are busily organizing and planning for the big move we are still receiving small numbers of oiled birds daily. It reminded us of how the weather here, especially this time of year, can change so rapidly.
As part of the overview, ABC staff toured affected areas by boat with local and federal officials and charter boat captains.
Numerous instances were observed where boom was in complete disarray, including being washed up on shore. Clean-up crews were clearly unaware in several instances of the negative impacts they were causing to birds and their habitat. ABC observed an instance of a substantial heavy oil slick about half a mile offshore while cleanup vessels were operating in very mildly oiled waters about one mile away – apparently unaware.
With the moving of the existing facility to a location about 70 miles away, some sort of near-shore facility is needed. Breton Island, for example, is a fraction of its original size, is an important bird habitat and is in desperate need of rebuilding.
Fish and Wildlife Service officials, our vessel captured a clearly sick and oiled juvenile Roseate Spoonbill, and had it sent to the Center for treatment. So far, nearly 50,000 square miles of the fragile Gulf waters have been stained by the largest oil disaster in United States history. I tell the media that they look like they are fondued – more or less dipped in the oil. Now that we are getting very busy we are changing that to 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 3pm just so we can focus on the birds as giving the media their fair time takes a lot of attention away from our work.
One of the questions I get every day from reporters is, “How does this spill compare to the Exxon Valdez oil spill?” well, there are many similarities and differences. IBRRC more than 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists. The drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, exploded on April 20, 2010 and sank in 5,000 feet of water. Six weeks after the blow out, BP has yet to significantly stem the flow in the nation’s worst oil disaster. We are busy today with those birds and I have been delinquent in writing current blog postings. For those of you who are asking about ways that you can either support us or donate to us, I thank you for your generosity. Many healthy looking clean birds were sighted in the areas they covered and a few partially oiled birds were sighted here and there but were unable to be captured.
IBRRC has about 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.
So far, experts believe the amount of oil in the water has surpassed the 11 million gallons spilled during the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.
In Louisiana the teams spotted many oiled terns and gulls that are still able to fly and will be working with teams from the USDA and U.S.
The obvious similarities are that large amounts of oil have leaked into a marine environment and therefore the ecosystem is as risk. Alaska has hundreds of thousands of surface rafting (resting), diving and feeding birds, (Puffins, Murres, Auklets, Cormorants, Loons etc.) The Gulf of Mexico has fewer surface rafting birds but more plunge feeding birds (pelicans, gannets, terns) but the pelicans and terns spend a lot of time roosting on the outer islands and not on the water. The warm weather here allows oiled birds that are still flighted to stay warm for longer periods of time whereas even the smallest amounts of oil that penetrate to the skin of birds in cold climates puts them at immediate vulnerability to hypothermia and therefore death. In Alaska there were many predators such as bald eagles and bears who took many of the oiled birds before we could get to them. We are wading through politics and weather to get to those places to assess and capture oiled birds.
In the mean time our centers at the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas are in spring mode and getting busier by the day. We will be evaluating and are developing this plan daily as things progress here in the Gulf and we gain a better idea as to how long we may be staying.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (baackground in video) visited the center over the weekend to see first hand how one of four rescue centers are setup to handle oiled wildlife. The effect on gold – and so on any thought of returning to gold-backed money – was signal, as you can see. Major-currency savers hadn’t seen anything like it since Great Britain fought to defend (and lost) its own Sterling Gold Standard half-a-century before. The Dollar gold price did the same, sliding from its (then) record peak of $850 per ounce to less than $285 five years later.
Mining supplies rose, and the peak prices of 1979 and 1980 unleashed a torrent of scrap-metal supply back to market, too.
But those killer rates of 1980-85 remain the only sure lesson of how confidence in unbacked money can be won back once it’s begun to dissolve. This is mind blowing just how many sheepel go along with the herd and even really don\’t think for their selves. There is already talk of our Facilities Manager Bill Dwyer’s annual staff Christmas party and we are even seeing a number of posters for New Year’s events.
The likely reason for this is that many of the flighted bird species fly out to sea before landing on water, thereby avoiding the oil along the coastline. Most notably, in the Apollo Sea oil spill in 1995 we helped care for 10,000 oiled African Penguins, and during the 2000 Treasure oil spill we helped manage the rehabilitation of another 20,000.
There is limited water, and no airport, so supplies are either air-dropped there or are brought by ship every few months or so. There are 300 people living on Tristan Island, and 100 of them are available to help with the penguins. IBRRC’s team is coming together, and will send help when asked, and continue to support the SANCCOB team as needed. IBRRC was created to do just that – develop techniques and protocols to humanely treat and rehabilitate oiled birds.
The demise of these birds only encouraged people to try harder, and by April of 1971 IBRRC was incorporated as a non-profit organization. While we will miss living where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, in the end, the move will make it safer for the birds and the people that care for them.


With Coast Guard officials, they also undertook an aerial over-flight of the spill area and points northwest of that location. The staff of the International Bird Rescue Research Center seemed totally committed, but most importantly, birds are being saved,” said Parr. Many of the birds have been pelicans, but also Gannets, Gulls, Herons, Dunlins and other shorebirds. That is because the fish they eat often swim and hide below floating surface oil and when the pelicans plunge into the water to catch them, they become oiled. I request that everyone understand that this has been put into place for the sake of the animals and respect our new schedule.
Most notably the environment, weather and species impacted are vastly different but what is similar are the politics. Her bottom line was that we all use oil products but are quick to pass the buck when oil is spilled and that seemed irresponsible. I also want you all to understand that this entire oiled bird rehabilitation effort is being paid for by BP.
Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to see if it is possible to capture them with net guns.
Although all the centers are receiving rehab birds, birds with other injuries but not oiled, no other oiled birds from this spill were captured.
Rebecca Dunne from Tri-State Bird Rescue and I gave him a tour through the Fort Jackson Center and allowed him to get a close up view of our team washing the latest oiled Brown Pelican that we received. We took this time to check out land based pelican and tern roosting areas but no oiled birds were spotted. I will post more on how we are managing the spill, the centers back home as I have something to more to report. It also took the entire world off precious-metal money for the first time in 5,000 years of civilization.
Long banished to central-bank vaults, the ageless metal was represented instead by paper notes – the medium of exchange – in purses, wallets and tills. The public grew so discouraged that, within a decade of Nixon’s decision, his Republican successor, Ronald Reagan, ordered a commission to consider reversing it.
And together with those desperate Gold Standard-style interest rates, the Dollar recovered something like a Gold Standard poise. But negative real rates had forced a growing number of otherwise cautious savers to abandon money for gold throughout the 1970s, just as they have again since 2001.
Gold then rose 8-fold as rates fell again, finally forcing those very same hard-money rates which confidence in unbacked money demanded. For me personally I invest in silver because it is REAL money and not simply a piece of paper that might get printed whenever someone bats an eye. Ecologist and Dotterel expert John Dowding also performed a final evaluation of habitat to start releasing some of the Dotterels who were captured to the south. Since the penguins are not flighted, they have to swim through it to get to the islands, making them the most vulnerable and highly impacted.
All people must arrive by ship, and it takes 4 days to get there from Cape Town, South Africa. Many of the birds that you have seen on the news are birds that are currently here at the center. A few of our field teams have witnessed this and actually seen fish jumping onto the oil and then watch as a gull or pelican goes after it and then becomes oiled. The LSART helps us by bringing in people from all backgrounds including wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians that are all based in Louisiana. First, I provide oversight for the rehabilitation program as I have had many years of experience in managing large scale oiled wildlife rehabilitation efforts and can use that experience to our advantage. This a big spill with a large oil company, a lot of scrutiny and a lot of people blaming each other. They also saw a lot of oil impacting the shore in the South Pass area of the Mississippi River basin.
It’s more a case of individual birds plunging into oily water which is why we are getting gannets and pelicans.
The female pelican is a two year old that is a very sweet bird found in Grand Isle to the west of us. Nor did gold bullion bars back more than $1 in every four in circulation, gradually slipping from the 40% cover-ratio set during the Great Depression. Whereas strongly positive rates, in contrast – and positive like nothing since the scramble for gold of five decades earlier…when global bullion flows determined (and were thus targeted to maintain) international currency values – worked the opposite way. Thank you so much Abhinandan Mallick for the wonderful blog post, a lot more men and women must be intelligent in finances! Hopefully by the time Dr Brett Gartrell, the Wildlife Centre Manager, returns in a week, we will be down to 225-250 birds in care. In addition, we cared for many new species of birds and provided invaluable experience to new and existing staff and response team members.
I know that it is heartbreaking to see these pictures, but they are an accurate and true depiction of what is going on here. Secondly, I took on the role of External Affairs person because I knew that this would be an explosive and political situation when I first heard of this incident and therefore I felt that I was best suited to act as the voice for our efforts to rehabilitate these birds. That is what it is but it was just a matter of time until the wildlife rehabilitators got blamed also. Alice wanted to help the birds with protocols based in sound science and manage oiled wildlife rehab programs with proven crisis management systems, so she created IBRRC to do just that. The crews witnessed a large fish kill and unusual floating blobs of oil below the surface of the water. Because no one needs an inflation hedge, a defense against devaluation, when cash-in-the-bank pays 5% more. The birds cannot be removed from the islands and brought to the mainland due to disease transmission concerns.
The things that are working in our favor are that these are healthy and strong birds and the oil is aged enough so that it does not have much smell to it or volatile aromatics. I need to mention that it is very important to give these people the opportunity to contribute first to helping offset the impact of the spill by helping us.
Instead of attacking the oil industry for the spills, which everyone else was doing, she gave them a solution and that was to use IBRRC to help offset some of the damage that oil spills do to the environment as no one was doing that back then.
You can also support IBRRC and Tri-State’s ongoing bird rehabilitation efforts if you like and that information is available on our web sites. And that victory was so hard-won, the stability it brought to unbacked money continued even as real rates eased back…pretty much until they neared zero a decade ago. That is the better part of this but what is a problem for the birds and us is that the oil is very gooey and thick. I like the media and I can speak to them from a historical perspective, a wildlife rehabilitation perspective and from a place of transparency as I agree that the world needs to see what is happening in this situation here in the gulf. IBRRC and Tri-State are contracted by BP to manage the rehabilitation of the birds that are oiled in this spill so some think that we have signed over our rights as independent organizations.
That began a steep learning curve that is still going on today and we have managed to improve the care we give to the birds immensely over the years. So, for the blamers out there please keep in mind that as you drive your car or are reading this on your computer that your life was made a hell of a lot easier because of oil and we all have benefited greatly from it. It is taking about 45 minutes to an hour to wash each bird as we have to pre-treat the birds with a warmer light oil to loosen the crude oil up and then wash the bird using DAWN dishwashing liquid. So, in that sense it’s appropriate that we use local resources first to fill in the ranks of our expanded rehab teams. As I have mentioned before, there are literally thousands of people who have been wait-listed who want to help.
We have worked with the oil industry or whoever is the responsible party since 1971 to provide our unique, proven and qualified services of rehabilitating oiled birds and other wildlife.
Collectively our organizations have responded to about 400 oil spills ranging from tens of thousands of birds to just a few and may I humbly state that we are the most qualified groups in the world to manage a program such as this one.
BP is accountable for their accident here in the gulf and they are being held accountable, as they should be.
We work very well together and become one large team in large-scale events such as this oil spill. But we the people are also accountable as consumers of the products the petroleum industry provides us and maybe the silver lining in this horrific and catastrophic event is that people will wake up and ask themselves this question. If you can live with that, drive your car, discard your plastic water bottles and tell your kids that it is all OK then go for it. If not then change the future through taking some level of responsibility about what has happened, use your brain, your intent and your desire to change the future of how we fuel our world.
It’s just about the choices we make, individually and collectively, and maybe its time to evaluate those choices. Everything is an opportunity and maybe that is the opportunity that this spill is providing for us.– a chance to reevaluate how we move into the future and protect our earth while enjoying our lives.



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29.12.2014, author: admin


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