Rescue Center Helping Windblown Birds

Days of heavy gusts throughout the Bay Area didn't just mess up your hair and force a 70-foot fishing boat into the San Mateo Bridge. It turns out, birds might have suffered too.

The International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield has received an unusually high number of injured cormorants in the past two days and researchers believe the recent strong, gusting winds could be partially to blame.

The organization has received 13 stranded birds, mostly Brandt's cormorants, over the past two days and is expecting 11 more to arrive this afternoon from San Jose, according to the group.

Most of the birds were found in parking lots and on roads throughout the Bay Area when they should be on beaches and jetties, rescuers said.

The birds are being treated for superficial wounds and are doing well, but rescuers are concerned that cormorants and other sea bird populations could be showing the impacts of climate change.

According to the rescue group, researchers on the Farallon Islands have reported that the Brant's cormorants should have started nesting, but have not.

Researchers there have speculated that atypical winds, choppy seas and sparse zooplankton may be the reason, according to the Rescue Center.

Last year, Farallon researchers reported the smallest breeding population of Brandt's cormorants with the lowest reproductive success in 20 years, which has researchers concerned that they could be looking at the beginning of another colony failure, according to the rescue group.

The Bird Rescue Research Center is asking for help from the public in reporting birds that appear to be injured or stranded and donations to help cover the cost of caring for the injured birds.

Anyone who sees an injured or stranded bird can call the California Wildlife hotline at 866-WILD-911 to find the nearest bird  rescuer.

Donations can be made through the group's Web site at

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