The 164-acre Breuner Marsh – a coastal area just south of Point Pinole Regional Shoreline that is undergoing a major restoration – just got some new residents.
On Wednesday, youths from the Richmond Police Athletic League released eight black-crowned night herons and snowy egrets into their natural habitat. The birds had been found injured or orphaned in urban areas in the East Bay and were rehabilitated by International Bird Rescue, a Bay Area nonprofit.
International Bird Rescue, located in Fairfield, partnered with the East Bay Regional Parks District and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. to introduce the birds to their new home. The center received a record number of herons and egrets this year, about 450, or nearly double the amount from previous years, which was attributed to an increase of public awareness of the birds and how to report injured or abandoned ones, said Andrew Harmon, a spokesperson for International Bird Rescue.
Earlier this summer, the night heron population made headlines when tree-trimmers disturbed an Oakland heron rookery, causing baby birds to fall from their nests. Five of the young birds that were saved were released at the East Bay Regional Parks District’s MLK Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland.
“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,” Harmon said in a statement.
The birds brought to the center are often being found on sidewalks, busy streets and landscaped traffic medians.
“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,” Harmon added.
“Partnerships with organizations such as the International Bird Rescue are an integral part of our commitment to protecting and preserving the environment,” said Kory Judd, refinery general manager.
A groundbreaking for the restoration of Breuner Marsh occurred in April after community members spent decades resisting commercial development of the site. Part of the waterfront property will be restored to tidal marsh, and endangered species will be protected and sustained. Also, a 1.5-mile-long path for pedestrians and cyclists that will be part of the San Francisco Bay Trail.