A stretch of North Richmond wetlands saved from development through grassroots community efforts will soon be home to a large group of orphaned herons rescued in East Bay neighborhoods. International Bird Rescue, a leading wildlife nonprofit organization that cares for thousands of injured birds annually in the Bay Area, partnered with the East Bay Regional Park District and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. to release an estimated 12-15 juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons found orphaned and injured in urban rookeries, where wild birds are often killed by tree-trimming, car strikes and feral cat predation.
The bird release took place on Wednesday, July 23 at Breuner Marsh, a 238-acre marsh on the Richmond shoreline that is home to the endangered California Clapper Rail and countless migratory birds each year. The marsh was acquired by the East Bay Regional Park District to permanently preserve critical marsh habitat after years of attempts to develop the area. The Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) youth group released the birds in celebration of the $10 million marsh restoration plan, which broke ground in April.
Known for their boisterous broods in ficus trees and nocturnal hunting at water’s edge, the East Bay’s Black-crowned Night Heron population made international headlines earlier this summer when tree-trimmers disturbed an Oakland heron rookery, causing baby birds to fall from their nests. After many weeks of veterinary and rehabilitative care, five young birds saved from the incident were successfully released at the East Bay Regional Parks District’s Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland. The landscaping business proprietor, Ernesto Pulido, was on-hand for the release and is working with International Bird Rescue and other local wildlife groups to raise awareness on tree-trimming issues during nesting season.
“Due in part to the increased public awareness of these animals resulting from recent news coverage, our San Francisco Bay center has been inundated with orphaned Black-crowned Night Herons,” said International Bird Rescue spokesman Andrew Harmon. “We cannot think of a better way to celebrate the local community’s hard-fought victory in preserving Breuner Marsh than to give these young herons a second chance by releasing them into this wonderful habitat.”
This summer, a record number of Black-crowned Night Heron chicks are being cared for at International Bird Rescue. The organization’s wildlife center in Fairfield has raised over 450 baby Black-crowned herons during spring and summer — birds often brought to the wildlife hospital after being found by the general public on sidewalks, busy streets and landscaped traffic medians.
Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is a longtime supporter of International Bird Rescue’s local and global efforts to save seabirds, and will sponsor the community release of these herons. “We are honored to be a part of the release of these herons and provide RPAL youth with the opportunity to learn more about our environment,” said Kory Judd, Refinery General Manager. “Partnerships with organizations such as the International Bird Rescue are an integral part of our commitment to protecting and preserving the environment.”
Preservation plans for Breuner Marsh, located within Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, include restoring wetlands and coastline prairie, as well as providing improved public access to the shoreline and a 1.5-mile extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail.
About International Bird Rescue: International Bird Rescue is one of the world’s leading avian rescue and conservation organizations, saving thousands of injured and oiled aquatic birds every year. Founded in Berkeley, Calif. in 1971, the nonprofit group has led efforts to save wildlife from environmental disasters such as the 2010 Gulf oil spill and the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. International Bird Rescue operates two year-round rehabilitation and research centers in Los Angeles and Fairfield, Calif., as well as an emergency response facility in Anchorage, Alaska. Its team of oil spill response professionals is routinely deployed to direct response efforts in wildlife emergencies throughout the world. For more information, visit birdrescue.org .
About East Bay Regional Park District: The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 114,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.
About Chevron: Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation which is one of the world\'s leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company\'s success is driven by the ingenuity and commitment of its employees and their application of the most innovative technologies in the world. Chevron is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. The company explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and other energy products; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at chevron.com.
Contact: Andrew Harmon, International Bird Rescue
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Photos below: International Bird Rescue
Photos 1 - 2 Children from the RPAL program assist in releasing birds. Photos 3 - 4 Snowy Egret Photo 5 Black-crowned Night Heron