Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

November 22, 2007

Finding time to be thankful

If any oil spill can have a silver lining, it’s this: There’s an incredible amount of caring, dedicated people in California trying their best to look after the animals harmed during this tragedy.

Nearly EVERY organization in the 25 member Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) sent staff and volunteers to work on this spill. They joined up with vets from UC Davis to access, wash, fortify, hydrate and care for the hundreds of birds that flowed into the International Bird Rescue and Research Center in Cordelia, CA. Other volunteers stepped up to transport oiled birds to the center and still more have been in the field to directing search and collection crews to more oiled avian victims.

The public has been moved to action with time, money and other donations. A resourceful fourth grader from Berkeley, Haley Gee, pleading for money to help the birds, captured people’s sentiment exactly: “Mother nature is sick. We need to help her. So do something!”

As volunteers and staff continue to work with determination this Thanksgiving Day. They’re readying birds for an upcoming release at Point Reyes. So far, over 120 birds have completed the rehabilitation cycle and have been set free; more are scheduled this week.

This is not easy work. Many oiled birds have died in the field and others have succumbed in treatment. It’s a race against time and circumstance and sometimes the outcome is less than desired. But most wildlife rescue folks don’t give up easily.

Government bureaucracies are not always on the side of helping slow spreading oil slicks or quickly helping endangered animals, but the clear fact is that we work with what we have and learn from mistakes made.

Pontificating politicians don’t provide much solace. But if the people of the Bay Area are any indication, this spill will galvanize spirit, resolve and resources to work on making sure the next time oil darkens these local waters, and it will, the response will be swifter and better thought out.

That’s a silver lining we should work toward and hopefully in the end, find greater thanks.

Listen to Podcast: PBS News Hour report

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6 Responses to “Finding time to be thankful”

  1. Tom Says:

    Jay, Russ, Karen and Ann and Marie, Monty and Mike, OWCN, PRBO and hundreds of caring individuals of all ages… unsung… contributing hundreds of hours have made a world of difference on this Thanksgiving Day. …What a blessing. May the birds be with us! tom

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you Russ for keeping this blog going. Thanks to everyone helping the birds, holidays, weekends, every day. You are the best!

  3. LilyoftheThorns Says:

    This is great! I always love people that give their time to help animals. I always feel so bad for those poor birds and other animals effected by oil spills. I wish I could help them too!

    Thank you to all the heros! 🙂

  4. Alison Says:

    Thank you especially to Rebecca and Sarah of Tri-State who flew 3,000 miles to help with our birds and who now, days and days of exhausting work later, have their own oil spill on Long Island to deal with… Let’s hope it’s not a bad one.

  5. Russ Curtis @ IBRRC Says:

    The good news is that after ten days or so of working in the “Hot Room” with oiled birds, Rebecca and Sarah made it on a bird release Friday morning out at Heart’s Desire Beach in Tomales Bay.

    They successfully released 24 birds…The weather was a beautiful, sunny 65 degrees.

    A nice send off as they leave tomorrow for the east coast oil spill response.

  6. Alison/Pica Says:

    Russ, thanks for this update — glad they got to go to a release! Did Elvira, by any chance? I know she wanted to…

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