Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

May 8, 2010

Day 8 Gulf Oil Spill Update: 4 oiled birds in care

It’s day eight of IBRRC’s Gulf Oil Spill response and Executive Director Jay Holcomb, has his daily update:

Yesterday we had 5 capture teams in the field working with US Fish & Wildlife. They were able to make it as far east as Gossier Island, the Breton Islands and some of the Chandelier Islands. A few oiled gulls and pelicans were sighted but those birds had only spots of oil on their bellies. They were flighted and looked good. 

The teams did see oil at the shore of the Chandelier Islands and birds in the area. The rest of the team broke up and looked westward at the outer islands of the Pass-A-Loutre Wildlife Management Area and did not discover any oiled wildlife other than a few laughing gulls with small spots of oil on them.

Six teams are out again today looking in different areas for oiled birds.

We received one oiled green heron at Fort Jackson, LA center that had landed on a boat near the oiled area. The bird is in good health and has already been washed.

The other centers in Theodore, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida are still on alert and the staff is continuing to build cages and prepare for the potential impact of birds.

Here are the latest bird numbers:

Fort Jackson, Louisiana Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

3 live oiled birds 

  • 1 brown pelican
  • 1 northern gannet
  • 1 green heron (came in yesterday)

3 dead oiled birds

  • 2 northern gannets
  • 1 magnificent frigatebird (came in yesterday)

Pensacola, Floria Oiled Bird Rehabilitation Center

1 live oiled bird 

  • 1 northern gannet

Thanks for all your support,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC

International Bird Rescue is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has 16 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

There are now four Oiled Bird Rescue Centers in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, Theodore, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida.

Accredited Media are welcome to visit the Fort Jackson, LA rescue center any day from 1 pm to 2 pm. It’s located at MSRC, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, LA.

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11 Responses to “Day 8 Gulf Oil Spill Update: 4 oiled birds in care”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    If they are released in Florida isn't there a good chance the bird are weak and will end up in oil on that side of the gulf?

    Sun Coast Wild Sea Bird Center in Tampa has some already.

    BP and the Response Team do not seem to be on top of the problems. Why did they pick Delaware company to temporarily set up with the Coast Guard? Poor choices

  2. Webcoot Says:

    From Jay Holcomb, Exec Director of IBRRC

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for your note. NO, there is not a chance that these birds are weak. They are required to pass a strict evaluation prior to release and have to meet a number of guidelines before they go. Other than being originally oiled, these birds have remained in excellent health and we are confident that they were releasable.

    There is always the possibility that a bird may go back to the oiled area. The US Fish & Wildlife Service is the federal agency responsible for the wildlife resources in this spill. They make the determination where to release recovered wildlife. Northern Gannets are moving up the eastern seaboard so this release site was perfect to get that bird back on track. The Brown Pelican was a 2 year old male that unlikely has a need to immediately come back to the oiled area. IBRRC and Tri-state agree that this was an acceptable release site and it was for the health of the animals that they were released there.

    Regarding your comment that the “Sun Coast Wild Sea Bird Center in Tampa has some already” we are not sure what you are referring to.

    As far as “picking a Delaware company to rehabilitate the birds” let me inform you that Tri-state Bird Rescue & Research Inc., our esteemed colleagues, are one of the leading oiled wildlife response organizations in the world. Along with our organization, IBRRC, the two organizations have collectively responded to over 400 oil spills including many in this region. We have a wide variety of experiences in many different scenarios. We are both qualified to set up and manage large oiled wildlife response programs and have worked for most of the major oil companies during spills.

    Oiled wildlife response efforts require a combination of proven and effective rehabilitation practices, crisis management skills, an understanding of spill politics and agendas, veterinary oversight, patience and tolerance, to name a few. Both of our organizations are more than qualified to fit that bill and we are pleased to again be working together to provide the best resources available to this situation.

    Thank you. Jay

  3. Anonymous Says:

    How many people from IBRRC are currently at the spill site(s)? Since there are so few birds in care, what are these teams doing? What happens to the day to day bird rehabilitation at the facilities if so many of the staff are responding to the spill?

  4. Webcoot Says:

    We have 16 people at the response. Some are helping with bird care, others working on setup of new facilities in the Gulf region and more are working in Search and Collection.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    So…how many people are left for the rehabilitation facilities in California? Isn't it baby bird season? Would think the centers would be very busy and would need to keep staff local for those birds.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I am close to the oil spill ,although I have neither the rxperience or the training is there something I can go down and help with?I am not afraid of hard work ,getting dirty or animals.I have spent years photographing waterbirds and they hold a special place in my heart

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I live close to the oil spill in La.Although I have neither the training or experience is there something I can do to help.Hard work,long hours or getting dirty are not deterrents

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I read about a week ago where you could collect hair,human,animal dyed,and when you have collected it
    put it in a nylon stocking, tie shut, and box it and then it gave an address to mail it to. This was being used to wash down the birds etc. I can't find that news item
    again and wondered if that was still needed ? I'm a senior citizen
    but I can sure hit the beauty shops
    barbers, animal groomers and do that !! Can someone please answer this ? THANKS

  9. Webcoot Says:

    We don't use human or animal hair n our oiled bird treatment. That idea has been floated with BP and the Coast Guard and the last we heard, they passed on it for various reasons.

    Anybody else hear something new on this use?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    RE: hair
    We have all heard that the hair is being stuffed into mattresses and dumped into spill, gathering spill into hair, which mattresses are then hauled back aboard the vessels and wrung out, thrown back again for further gathering. This was on Channel 9 in Denver, Colo.

  11. Carol Says:

    The hair thing was someone's well-meaning idea that made for a nice human interest story, but it's actually not the best absorbent and nylons don't burn well. Oil removed from the sea is supposed to be treated as hazmat.

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