Western Grebes Need Your Help

Young birds, tossed by big seas, struggle on area beaches. Over 50 Grebes rescued so far! Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center needs your help providing these birds a second chance.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 11
Western Grebes, elegant and graceful, recover in our seabird pool

During the second week of October a period of rough ocean conditions began on the North coast with breakers higher than 16 feet. Immediately Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/BAX began admitting immature Western Grebes who had been tossed on the beach by the big waves.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 17
A young Grebe in a transport carrier. Eye protection is a good idea when handling these birds!

To date, we have admitted 50 of these elegant black and white birds for care. All of them are young birds. Western grebes raise their families all over the west on freshwater lakes. Once their young can fly and hunt for fish on their own, they depart the lakes to spend the winter along the coast on bays, inlets, river mouths and on the open ocean, often seen just beyond the break in large groups called rafts.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 16
Checking body condition: many of our patients are emaciated.

Young birds who are unfamiliar with the ocean can struggle with storms and high seas, leaving them vulnerable. A few days of not being able to eat and they may find themselves too weak to recover on their own. Add to this mix the modern challenges of unpredictable ocean health due to a disrupted climate, overfishing and the pollution stream that comes from all sides, and the near-shore environment can now be seen as a much less hospitable place for young seabirds.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 22
Blood is drawn for simple tests that can help us determine the overall health of each bird.

Once in care, all oceanic birds require resource-intensive treatment. Each bird eats a pound of fish a day! Rehydrating fluids, anti-parasite medicine and nutritional supplements also are needed.

After millions of years of evolution, Grebes are unable to tolerate being on land, or any hard surface, and must quickly be housed in pools. Clean water is absolutely necessary for their recovery. We conserve our resources as much as we can, but we still need your help providing these fundamental necessities for our patients.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 15
A slightly warmed pool helps weakened Grebes get back on water – a must if they are to survive.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 13
Each bird eats about a pound of fish a day.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 08
Some tossed fish encourage our patients’ appetite while in the stressful captive environment.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 09
Fortunately Western grebes are highly social and prefer to be with others.

Once healthy, the young birds are released into Humboldt Bay, where many species of prey-fish are abundant.

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 20

Grebes Autumn 2014 story - 21

Thanks to community support we have released 18 of these birds back into the wild. We still have 14 Western Grebes in care who need you to help cover the costs of their ongoing treatment. A few more are admitted each day. Please give what you can.

Our mission to help individual animals survive against the challenges modern society has placed on the natural world is only possible with your support. As you scroll through the photographs of our patients, you can enjoy knowing that your contribution provides the best care available for struggling wild animals here on the beautiful Redwood Coast. Any amount helps. Besides financial support you can also help spread our work by sharing this page. Invite us to present at your club or organization. We love to talk to our community about wildlife and how we can all help. Contact us at info@birdallyx.net!

all photographs Laura Corsiglia/BAX


4 thoughts on “Western Grebes Need Your Help

Comments are closed.