tagged w/ Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers
Buras, Louisiana (CNN) -- The sign out front points the way: birds, please enter to the right; humans, enter on the left.
Huddled in a pen and covered in brown streaks of oil, a dozen pelicans await treatment after exposure to the pools of crude on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
Increasing numbers of birds are arriving at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in this coastal Louisiana town as the environmental disaster in the Gulf stretches on. At least 50 birds were treated on Tuesday alone.
Wildlife workers say the birds get oiled when diving for fish. Their efforts at preening sometimes worsen the coating of crude on their feathers.
The lucky ones are found by state workers and volunteers in time to save their lives.
"The animals that are coming in are covered in oil," the center's Rebecca Dunne says. "But they are pretty healthy animals. So that makes us feel like like we have a chance to save them. We have been pretty successful so far."
While around 200 birds have been dead on arrival at the center, so far none of the 400 birds brought in alive have died.
But not all of them express their gratitude.
"If you let 'em loose, they'll bite ya," says one volunteer holding shut the bill of a brown bird tucked under his arm.
New arrivals get a physical, and a day to "de-stress." Next, it's time for a scrubbing. They're washed with Dawn soap, rinsed and dried.
Finally, it's out to the aviary pens out back -- labeled "pelican island" -- where they are kept for observation and recovery.
On Tuesday, top football stars from the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints came out to thank the center's volunteers.
"It's all about doing whatever we can down here in south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, to help these people come back," quarterback Drew Brees told CNN's John King.
After rehab, the birds are scheduled for release in Florida, where they are less likely to repeat their run-in with the spilled oil.
But not all birds are so lucky.
"For every bird they rescue, there are other birds that are oiled, but that they couldn't rescue," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says. "That is what is so heartbreaking to the people of Louisiana."
The latest Consolidated Fish and Wildlife Collection report says 380 oiled birds and 50 sea turtles have been rescued; 594 birds and 250 sea turtles have been found dead.
For better or for worse, more birds are being found and brought in each day. Workers are planning to build eight more receiving pens in the coming days to handle the increasing influx of winged guests.Buras, Louisiana (CNN) -- The sign out front points the way: birds, please enter to... more
2 years ago
"A BP gas station in Ohio wants you to know you're responsible for small spills made when you leave the pump unattended. What about gigantic spills made when ignoring safety warnings? Oh, they're just happy, ignorable accidents. [Flickr via @BigBoxCar]""A BP gas station in Ohio wants you to know you're responsible for small... more
Day 15: From the center of Gulf oiled bird care
After a very small break this weekend in Louisiana, Jay Holcomb is back with his daily updates from the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill response:
Louisiana - On Saturday we had a visit from Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Rebecca Dunne from Tri-State Bird Rescue and I gave him a tour through the Fort Jackson Center and allowed him to get a close up view of our team washing the latest oiled Brown Pelican that we received. The female pelican is a two year old that is a very sweet bird found in Grand Isle to the west of us. She is now outside with the other pelican and doing well, both are eating a lot of fish. Media report: AP video: Cleaning Oiled Pelican in Louisiana
For the last two days our capture teams in Louisiana were mostly grounded due to intense thunderstorms and lightning strikes on the water. Not safe! We took this time to check out land based pelican and tern roosting areas but no oiled birds were spotted.
The reports we are getting now are about birds out in the deep water oiled areas and on some of the islands but you have to have safe access to those areas. We are wading through politics and weather to get to those places to assess and capture oiled birds.
Yesterday afternoon we did receive an oiled Gannet that was luckily plucked out of the water by a fishing boat that was coming back to the harbor. Its an adult Northern Gannet, heavily oiled and will be washed today. (Photo, above, oiled Northern Gannet)
Alabama - Our oiled bird rehabilitation center in Alabama received 7 sick non-oiled, lethargic brown pelicans and 1 laughing gull from that area. They were discovered soon after a fish die off in the area and there are concerns that they may have botulism and it may be connected to the fish die off. 5 pelicans and the gull are still alive and they are temporarily being cared for at that facility until plans for their transfer to a rehab facility are completed.
Mississippi – Our center in Gulfport received an oiled Gannet on Saturday and it is doing well. The bird will be washed soon. The center development and problem solving is coming along well.
Florida - Our center in Pensacola received an oiled gannet on Saturday also and it is doing well. The bird will also be washed soon.
Back at Home at our California Bird Rescue centers- It has taken a few weeks for us to get the wildlife centers on line here in the Gulf states and get a handle on this program and to understand and infiltrate ourselves into how its all working in this spill. In the mean time our centers at the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas are in spring mode and getting busier by the day. In that sense this spill could not have come at a worse time.
In order to support our staff and volunteers back at home in Cordelia (Northern California) and San Pedro (Southern California) we are hiring on extra summer help at both centers to make sure that the clinics are supported and run as smoothly as possible.
Also, we will probably be shifting our main clinic rehabilitation staff out to give each of them opportunities to work in the Gulf. We will be evaluating and are developing this plan daily as things progress here in the Gulf and we gain a better idea as to how long we may be staying. I will post more on how we are managing the spill, the centers back home as I have something to more to report.
Thanks for your continued support and words of encouragement,
– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director
3 years ago