Melissa’s Blog – Cool Facts About Birds
Edison International kicks off 2015 by providing a $5,000 grant to SBWR. Edison recognizes the value SBWR brings to the community in providing wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education to the southern California area. CONGRATULATIONS to all involved in this worthwhile organization!!!
Flight Plan: A retired South Bay educator devotes her time to helping rescued native birds take flight.
Written by Diane E. Barber | Photographed by Jeff Berting
The Palos Verdes Peninsula is a wildlife haven and a nature lover’s paradise, so it is not surprising that it is also home to South Bay Wildlife Rehab, a nonprofit corporation with state and federal permits for wildlife rehabilitation and education. Founded in 1993 by Ann Lynch, a retired South Bay schoolteacher, the charity provides rescue and rehabilitation services to California’s native birds.
Ann’s passion for caring for at-risk wildlife began in 1968 when a friend gave her a baby wild bird that needed help. Since then, and during her 40-year teaching career (primarily in science), she has embraced her role as wildlife guardian.
“I love animals, education and talking with people,” she says. “I have raised and rehabilitated raccoons, possums, squirrels, skunks, water birds, songbirds and birds of prey. Though our focus is on land birds now, we still take calls for other birds and mammals, as we have great referrals to help them.”
Today, with approximately 70 volunteers, three “care stations” in private homes and flight enclosures on private property, the out-shelter organization rehabilitates 1,000 to 1,500 sick, injured and orphaned birds per year and reaches more than 30,000 people annually with its educational programs.
There are about 60 birds currently being rehabilitated by South Bay Wildlife Rehab and often as many as 100. “We get them from animal control shelters that are as far north as the San Fernando Valley, south to Orange County, east to Riverside and west to Catalina,” shares Ann. “They also come to us from animal hospitals, by word of mouth, internet searches and from airports.”
Airports? Interestingly, the United States Department of Agriculture has biologists on staff who trap birds for safety reasons at airports, which are also avian feeding grounds laden with insects and rodents. Ann and volunteers work closely with six airports—LAX, Ontario, Van Nuys, Burbank, John Wayne, Long Beach and March Air Reserve Base—and relocate healthy birds far enough away so they do not return. In 2013, 159 birds were airport rescues, and most of them were uninjured.
Many birds also find their way to South Bay Wildlife Rehab as abandoned babies (several must go through “mouse school” for survival training) and often through dire circumstances. Some have been intentionally hurt by humans and often have been shot and poisoned, while others are victims of manmade accidents such as being hit by cars and electrical power line mishaps. Those feathered rescues that require professional medical attention are put in the tender hands of Ann’s veterinarian, Dr. Cassie Jones at Point Vicente Animal Hospital, and Ann’s surgical wingman, Dr. Rob Kaufman at Harbor Animal Hospital.