Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

May 4, 2010

Day 5: Weather still hampering search for oiled birds

It’s the fifth day of Gulf oil spill response and International Bird Rescue is working quickly with Tri-State Bird Rescue, to staff and set up and wildlife care centers in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.

IBRRC’s Executive Director, Jay Holcomb, is writing daily updates from the epicenter of the wildlife rescue. Here’s his day five oil spill update:

Hello everyone. I have been in Venice Louisiana for five days and finally have email access. I wanted to write a brief note to all the people who have wished us well, supported IBRRC and are watching the news as the spill in the gulf of Mexico progresses.

The weather has really hampered attempts to initiate a search and collection effort for oiled birds. As soon as the storm subsides and the safety officers decide that it is safe to go out looking for oiled birds then we will commence with that program.

IBRRC and Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research Inc. are not in charge of the wildlife collection program. It’s being managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). However, IBRRC and Tri-State are providing trained and experienced personnel to help with this effort. Six of our capture teams are currently on site and more are coming in the next few days. We hope to start going out in the field tomorrow.

On Monday, May 3, we received the second oiled bird. It was a Brown Pelican that was picked up in one of the remote islands in Southern Louisiana by the USFWS. The bird is in good condition. (See photo ^above^)

Many people have asked how we organize and manage a spill of this magnitude. It is impossible for one organization to attempt to manage the oiled wildlife rehabilitation program that incorporates four states, large quantities of oil and vast areas of shoreline. Because of this, Tri-state and IBRRC have once again joined forces and combined our individual oiled wildlife response teams into one larger team capable of handling a large spill such as this one.

Between both the organizations we have responded to about 400 oil spills. In this case Tri-State is taking the lead role and IBRRC is working in tandem with them to help provide oversight for the rehabilitation program.

In 2005 we worked together in the same area in Venice, Louisiana and cared for over 200 baby oiled pelicans that were oiled after a pipeline broke and crude oil was strewn over one of the islands in the Breton Island National Refuge during Tropical Storm Arlene. We have also partnered on many other spills in the U.S. and in other countries.

I will keep you all updated as we move ahead in this oil spill.

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

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6 Responses to “Day 5: Weather still hampering search for oiled birds”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for keeping us birders informed. The NG and BP probably represent a small sample of what's actually out there … unless a miracle has occured. Here's hoping the weather clears and collection can begin.

  2. A New England Life Says:

    I'll be following your blog for more updates. Nice to see the first bird doing so well! My best to all who are volunteering their time.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Are the people who worked on the Breton Island incident involved in this response as well? Would be great to have some of the same folks who have worked in that environment previously.

  4. Webcoot Says:

    Yes the key folks for IBRRC and Tri-State worked together on the Breton Island response in 2005. They know the area pretty well. Thanks for your support.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Glad to hear that there are people experienced in working in that area back on the job. Would you mind acknowledging some of them? We don't get to hear much about the responders other than the director, and they are probably doing most of the real work.

  6. Webcoot Says:

    Jay is the main spokesperson for IBRRC as well as Paul Kelway. When additional staff is deployed, you'll hear more from them.

    We're listing most if not all the IBRRC Response Team Members on our website:

    Response Team Bios

    There's also the IBRRC Facebook Fan Page where some staff area adding their voices:

    IBRRC Facebook Fan Page

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