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Veterinarian Dave Scott, DVM, performs surgery on a brown pelican assisted by Megan Prelinger. IBRRC photo by Karen Benzel

The International Bird Rescue Research Center is known throughout the world as one of the leading authorities on the care and rehabilitation of aquatic birds that are victims of oil spills. However, many people are not aware that IBRRC also operates year-round rehabilitation clinics and research facilities in both northern and southern California.

In Northern California, our home office and wildlife rehabilitation center is housed at the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center located in Solano County at Cordelia, California. The Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care & Education Center, located in San Pedro, California (near LA Harbor) is home to our southern California rehabilitation clinic.

IBRRC's rehabilitation program concentrates on aquatic species, as these are the animals most commonly affected in oil spills. Taking advantage of the large numbers and variety of water birds admitted for care at the rehabilitation centers, IBRRC continues to develop new and better methods of animal husbandry and medical treatment. This not only helps those birds but also makes us better prepared to treat aquatic species during an oil spill event. Current areas of interest include developing appropriate doses of antifungal medications in seabirds, exploring improvements in nutritional supplementation, and refining the use of warm water therapy pools for debilitated water birds.

Over 140 species have been treated in the California rehabilitation program, from albatross and swans to tiny sandpipers and rails. This ongoing program has allowed IBRRC to gain extensive experience and expertise in seabird bird care. In addition, outdoor housing space is dedicated to pools and aviaries designed to meet the specialized needs of aquatic birds. As a result, the program receives birds from rehabilitation centers throughout the state (Wings on Wheels), and consults on both a national and an international basis on this subject.

The San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center is located just south of Fairfield in the town of Cordelia. This facility is one of a series being constructed throughout the state of California by OWCN to provide best achievable care to oiled wildlife. This newly built facility is over 12,000 square feet and capable of housing and treating over a thousand animals in the event of a major oil spill off the Northern California coast. The building contains rooms devoted to intake, food preparation, surgery, necropsy, a wash and rinse room with 12 stations, and walk in freezers capable of storing up to a ton and a half of fish. A separate 2,000 square foot building is devoted to office space for IBRRC staff, a research library, training and education.
Built on three acres of land bordering the Suisun Marsh, the outdoor areas have cold pools and warm therapy pools. Aviaries of different sizes will allow recuperating birds to be in natural light.

IBRRC and the California Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) are pleased to also open a new Southern California center. Located in San Pedro, this facility is one of series being constructed throughout the state by the OWCN to provide best achievable care to oiled wildlife. Like the San Francisco Bay area facility, this center is capable of handling up to 1000 birds in the event of an oil spill in southern California. IBRRC will occupy and operate the facility and, in addition to spill response, will conduct a year-round aquatic bird rehabilitation program, caring for injured, diseased, and orphaned water birds.

This building is approximately 10,000 square feet of which 1/3 is dedicated to public reception, education and administration. The remaining 2/3 is devoted to animal care and includes intake, hospital, animal holding, food preparation, necropsy, and wash and rinse rooms. Pools and aviaries are outdoors. The facility includes two classrooms one of which is furnished as a science lab and the other for lectures. These will be used by the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide curriculum in marine studies to students grades K though 12. Because birds under going rehabilitation may not be on exhibit, the public reception area is equipped with TV monitors where guests can watch, in real time, what is happening in the hospital and in the pool areas without causing undue stress to the animals.

IBRRC looks forward to being able to provide care for water birds in this facility that is designed to do just that. We are excited to be able to provide more extensive educational opportunities to both the general public and students. Through these efforts we think the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care an Education Center will prove to be an asset to the community and we look forward to activating these programs. IBRRC would like to thank Long Beach Natural Resources Trust and Chevron Products Corporation for their generous support.

More helpful information:

Making Net Bottom Caging Inserts (PDF 58 KB)

Instructions for Sewing Reusable Foot Wraps (PDF 129 KB)

Making Donuts for Birds' Keels to prevent lesions (PDF 321 KB)


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