Duo spends Christmas helping injured birds

December 25, 2010 12:51:23 PM PST
While some Bay Area residents are huddled around the fire opening presents, one local couple is spending Christmas Day trudging around on rainy beaches looking for birds in distress.

Rebecca Dmytryk, who runs the Moss Beach-based WildRescue organization with her husband, said the pair headed up the coast this morning in their "wildlife ambulance" to lend help where needed.

They have already rescued one bird, an oil-soaked murre they found at Pomponio State Beach in San Mateo County, Dmytryk said.

"Nobody was on the beach," she said. "With nobody on the beach, a lot of these poor animals will come ashore."

She guessed that the oil found on the bird was likely naturally occurring rather than from a spill.

As of about 11 a.m., bird was resting on a heated pad inside their vehicle, an old ambulance the couple had bought and converted to a wildlife rescue van, she said.

They were taking the bird to the Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA for eventual transport to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Dmytryk said.

Later today, the couple plans to head to San Francisco State University, where a seagull with a fishing line wrapped around its legs has been spotted.

"We saw it when we rescued the second Budweiser gull," Dmytryk said.

She was referring to one of several seagulls spotted with cut beer cans around their necks. They captured the bird near SFSU and removed the jagged can on Dec. 11.

The plan after that is to head back down the coast "stopping at all the hot spots," she said.

Dmytryk said WildRescue, which is funded by private donations, is offering classes in wildlife search and rescue with the aim of putting together rescue teams throughout the region.

She said she and her husband are the only ones who perform rescues for the organization now, which means a lot of driving all over the San Francisco and Monterey bay areas.

For more information on WildRescue and its classes, visit www.wildrescue.org.


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