Be an intern for the birds

by Carolyn Kraft on 03/22/2014

International Bird Rescue (IBR) is looking for a few good interns! This is a great opportunity for students interested in biology, wildlife preservation, environmental conservation and of course…birds.

Being a bird isn’t so easy these days. Despite possessing the gift of flight, birds still have to spend many hours on land resting, foraging, nesting, preening and other essential life activities. In the process, they end up crossing paths with humans (directly or indirectly) and often times have trouble waddling, swimming or flying away.

IBR  specializes in caring for sick, injured, abused and orphaned aquatic birds by helping them get back on their feet and wings again to lead productive lives in the wild. Common human-caused problems that keep IBR’s rescue centers busy include habitat destruction, plastic pollution, fishing hooks and fishing line.

Thanks to a grant from the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation, the new Academic Internship Program is designed specifically for young people ages 18 and over from the harbor communities of San Pedro and Wilmington, where the impact of human activity on wildlife is especially apparent. The internship includes a stipend, plus the feel-good opportunity to help our feathered friends.

Interns will have the chance to learn how to care for injured birds at IBR’s Los Angeles center in San Pedro. Two courses of study and training will be offered: One focused on wildlife care and rehabilitation methods; and another on data analysis and clinical research.

IBR’s Los Angeles Center is a busy, bustling place. As of March 18, 2014, the center had 32 birds in various stages of help and healing including seven western gulls, six western grebes, five California gulls, three eared grebes, two common murres and one red-throated loon. (I couldn’t stop myself from singing that list to 12 Days of Christmas.)

If you or anyone you know living in San Pedro or Wilmington is interested in becoming an IBR intern, find out more details on the Harbor Community Academic Internship page of their website.

Be an intern, be a bird caretaker, be a good person.

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Hawaii humpback heaven

by Carolyn Kraft on 02/25/2014

Humpback whale breaching off Maui

I was in Hawaii humpback heaven and it was amazing!

One of the best places to access humpback whale heaven is off the island of Maui from the city of Lahaina. This is where you can find tons of whale watching boats to take you out to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary where you get to enjoy the magic of these magnificent animals.

During the trip, I went whale watching almost every day with Ultimate Whale Watch and it was the best whale watching experience of my life because no matter how rocky it was, I did not get seasick! Normally, I have to load up on Bonine or Dramamine to get through a trip, but since Ultimate Whale Watch uses zodiacs, I was low to the water and able to enjoy the animals I love drug free.

Even better, I saw tons of humpback whales! They were everywhere doing every whale behavior imaginable. During the first whale watching trip on the first day just as we were leaving the harbor, a humpback whale greeted us with a fantastic breach. I remember thinking…wow, this is really going to be awesome. And it was!

I’m still going through my photos, but to start I’m sharing the first breach I caught on camera (not the first breach I saw). I like this shot (see above) because the whale is aligned with the building in the background. Is the whale imitating architecture or is architecture imitating in the whale?

More on humpback heaven coming soon…

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Look at the size of that gray whale penis!

February 1, 2014

On Sunday, January 26, 2014, a lucky group of whale watchers got to witness gray whales mating just off the backside of Catalina Island. This exciting encounter included a great flash of a gray whale’s penis. Suddenly a male’s privates were not so private if you know what I mean. It’s not super common to [...]

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Final California king tides event for 2013-2014 season

January 27, 2014

It’s that time of year again for king tides! January 29th – 31st are the last days for California king tides during the 2013-2014 season. The California King Tides Initiative is asking members of the public to take photos of the highest tides of the year to help document and visualize the potential impacts of [...]

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Walking along the tidepools

January 22, 2014

You never know what you might see walking along the tidepools. On a recent excursion I got lucky and spotted a California brown sea hare (Aplysia californica) in a little pool of water tucked amongst the rocks. My first sighting of one in the wild! I watched it eat for several minutes. It was easy [...]

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Gray whale inspiration for New Year’s resolutions

January 18, 2014

Gray whales migrate past Southern California every year and of course 2014 is no exception. In fact, gray whale sightings recorded by the ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project during December were the highest in 30 years! On January 14th they spotted 37 gray whales in one day. If one of your New Year’s [...]

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