Alien Duck X-Ray Fetches $9,600 for Bird Rescue Group

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An x-ray taken on May 21, 2006 created world wide attention becasue what appeared to be the face of an alien appeared in the duck's stomach. The x-ray was auctioned on eBay and sold for $9,600.

The International Bird Rescue Research Center, a 35 year old bird rescue organization that put their x-ray of a mallard on eBay hit the mother lode. After a roller coaster week of ups and downs, a story in itself, the winning bid; $9,600. The winner:, an on-line casino known for snapping up unusual items for their charity division. The x-ray will now go into a collection that includes the Grilled Cheese Madonna and William Shatner’s kidney stone.

The bird rescue center continually struggles to get enough donations to help fund their rehabilitation programs, and the money from the sale was desperately needed. IBRRC, which manages two centers in California, helps 4,000 injured and orphaned native waterfowl and aquatic birds ever year. This year they have already received 150 Endangered Brown Pelicans. IBRRC’s staff is considered experts in the care and rehabilitation of this species.

The cost of maintaining the rehabilitation programs for the two centers is approximately $600,000 a year. Partnerships with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, UC Davis and the California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network, which IBRRC manages the two centers for, help with the cost of caring for birds impacted by oil spills. IBRRC maintains their rehabilitation programs for non-oiled birds, injured and orphaned native waterfowl mainly through donations from the public. IBRRC’s Director, Jay Holcomb, hopes the attention the x-ray received will result in more memberships, donations and sponsors for the hundreds of orphan baby birds awaiting adoption through their unique program. Last year, IBRRC’s staff and volunteers raised and released a record 1,400 ducks of various species back to the wild and 500 herons and egrets, some of whom hatched at the center.

Jay Holcomb, Director of the center for the past 20 years and 35 year veteran of hundreds of oil spills around the world said the hoopla around the x-ray was a fun and welcome change for the staff, who has to deal with the grave reality of cruelty cases, fish hooks, disease outbreaks and other human caused impacts to wildlife attempting to survive in ever shrinking habitat.

Holcomb said, “We had a lot of fun this past week. Stories about the x-ray went around the world and our 15 minutes of fame is still going. The eBay auction helped create tremendous interest in IBRRC. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all the good will, support, the hundreds of e-mails wishing us well and to say we are extremely grateful for all of this.

I want to add that in the midst of all the humor exists a great and destructive surge that is building momentum; that is the effects humans are having on their, our, environment. The animals that we see every day in our clinics, whether damaged intentionally or as the result of human pollution, are clear evidence of that and their numbers are growing. This is all a result of our attitudes towards nature and our planet. Attitudes are powerful as they carry information, apathy and greed, to name a few, resulting in the environment being a nuisance, or unimportant.

We need to become stewards of our planet and create a healthy future for humanity through a change in attitudes. IBRRC’s contribution towards this change is by holding each animal in high esteem, valuable in their own way and worthy of our time and expense.

We hope the x-ray causes some laughs, but also some serious thought and discussion.”

To learn more about IBRRC, their work, adoption programs or to make a donation, please visit their website .                                                                


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Karen Benzel
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