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July 4, 2003

Quacking up in 2003

Record-setting year for raising orphaned ducklings; volunteers needed

Cordelia, CA

As Solano County residents celebrate July 4th with picnics and fireworks, eight lucky ducks raised at International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) will experience true freedom for the first time. Mallard ducklings, number 845-851, will be released into the fresh water of the Suisun Marsh and act like kids who hit the beach for the first time.
Photo of ducklings

The center, whch relocated from Berkeley to Cordelia in January 2001, has raised almost nine hundred orphaned ducklings so far this year. “We have doubled the total number of ducklings we released in 2001 and we still have a couple more months to go,” said Michelle Bellizi, rehabilitation manager for the center. Depending on weather, the majority of ducklings are born around Mother’s Day, but female mallards nest from February to September, so orphans can come in as late as October. Mallards make up the majority of rescued orphans, but the center also raises gadwalls, green wing teals, wood ducks and blue wing teals, some from eggs.

The increase in orphan ducks at IBRRC doesn’t indicate that mallard populations are rebounding from historic lows. Ducks everywhere face increasing challenges to survival including continuing loss of habitat, water diversion, and pollution. The ducklings at the 12,000 square foot center, officially known as the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center, have come from 30 different rescue centers, from Humboldt to San Luis Obispo. As word spread through the wildlife rehabilitation community that IBRRC had a facility that was designed exclusively for waterfowl and aquatic birds, more and more centers felt the best thing to do for the orphans they received was to send them to IBRRC.

With hundreds of ducklings being raised at one time, staff relies on volunteers to help feed and care for the ducklings and the many other species of waterfowl and aquatic birds in the hospital. The center has forty regular volunteers but needs over a hundred. Many volunteer positions are open, both in the hospital and office. Volunteers are also needed for the Wings on Wheels program, to transport birds from other centers.

Anyone at least 18 years of age interested in helping should come to the volunteer orientation that will be held on July 19th from 10 AM to 2 PM. Please call 707-207-0380, extension 109, to sign up for the orientation. To donate, become a member or for more information about IBRRC’s work around the world, visit their website at www.ibrrc.org.

Media contact:

Karen Benzel

Office: (831) 622-7588

E-mail: karen@ibrrc.org


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