Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

May 22, 2010

New Gulf update: Oiled bird numbers increase


On the one month anniversary of the Gulf Oil Leak here’s the latest wildlife update from IBRRC’s Jay Holcomb:

Yesterday we received 3 more oiled birds at the Fort Jackson oiled bird rehabilitation facility. The included: One Brown Pelican, one Ruddy Turnstone and Semipalmated Sandpiper. No other birds were received at any of the other facilities. (Photo above, oiled Brown Pelican intake in Louisiana)

On Wednesday of this week we received another three oiled Northern Gannets in Fort Jackson and we continued washing and rehabilitating birds in Louisiana.

Our search and collection teams, working under the direction of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, continued patrolling impacted and other areas in the outer regions of the Mississippi River Delta region. Many healthy looking clean birds were sighted in the areas they covered and a few partially oiled birds were sighted here and there but were unable to be captured.

One oiled Brown Pelican came into the Pensacola, Florida bird rehabilitation center and one oiled Gannet came into the Theodore, Alabama rehabilitation center.

The complete list of birds received and under care are listed on our website A total of 27 live oiled birds have received in to Gulf wildlife care centers.

As always, we appreciate your concern,

– Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Executive Director

International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) is working with the main responder, Tri-State Bird Rescue of Delaware. IBRRC has about 20 response team members on the ground including veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation managers and facilities and capture specialists.

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25 Responses to “New Gulf update: Oiled bird numbers increase”

  1. Kaya Eschete Says:

    I am a wildlife rehabilitator in Houma and I picked up the Frigate bird that had to be euthanized, and delivered it to Fort Jackson.

    I have been keeping up with your blog and I have been in touch with Audubon Society and National Wildlife and Fisheries.

    I am available on weekends to help with any oiled or injured wildlife and have many years of training and experience. I have also completed the BP course, which is mandatory to become an "official" volunteer. I am also in the database of volunteers.

    Your blog is excellent and I have been referring people to this web site. People from all over the country are reading your blog.

    This is a great service you are doing, but we need BP to contract hot shot (oilfield service) transports and helicopters to ferry injured and oiled wildlife to Fort Jackson. This would also employ humans who are experiencing work shortages. For volunteers like myself, it is a 7 to 8 hour round trip from Houma to Grand Isle to Venice and back. We could put hot shot drivers to work and people like myself could arrange capture and assessment of oiled wildlife without spending a whole day with transport.

    My skills would be better suited in capture, assessment and containment prior to transport.

    My husband and I own about 125 acres of pristine marsh in Chauvin, Louisiana. We want to assist in any way we can.

    Thank you again for the information you are posting and please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

  2. Andrew Says:

    Hey Jay, can you comment on how many casualties there have been, or is that Fish and Wildlife juristiction?? Your crew on Grand Isle is doing great, but I still fear that they will be dealing with many more birds soon, and I think that their effectiveness could be much greater if there were more than two in the field. Thanks for you hard work.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Can you comment on the number of avian casualties you have collected, or is that Fish and Wildlife juristiction? Your team here on Grand Isle is doing a great job, though I am fearful that they may be dealing with many more oiled birds shortly, and that their effectiveness would be greater if they had more than two people in the field.

  4. Elaine Says:

    I live in New Orleans and am trying to start a Dawn drive. Is there anywhere locally I could drop off bottles of Dawn soap w/o having to drive all the way to your center?

    Also, once you are inundated with large amounts of wild life, will you be accepting volunteers who have no training. Or is there a way to get training? I'm a Registered Nurse but probably doesn't mean much when for caring for wild life.

    I also have friends from other areas of the country willing and wanting to volunteer. I did sign up for clean up.

    Thank you.

    Elaine Langley
    Plenty International

    elaineml@bellsouth.net

  5. Webcoot Says:

    Thanks for your gracious offer of the DAWN drive. It's our good fortune, and the oiled birds, that we have enough DAWN dishwashing soap for the foreseeable future.

    DAWN's maker, Procter & Gamble, shipped us 1000 bottles in early May.

    We don't lose your energy to help and we're definitely open to other ideas.

    With appreciation

  6. A New England Life Says:

    Have you seen this blog? http://birding.typepad.com/gulf/

    The most recent post is fairly graffic.

  7. Cathy, ER Vet in Austin, TX Says:

    When you do the bird washings, what happens to the soap/oil/water mixture afterward?

  8. Webcoot Says:

    Great question. In all spill responses, the water/soap/oil mixture by-product of cleaning an oiled bird is collected as hazardous waste. The waste is transported off-site for proper disposal.

  9. Lori Stevens Says:

    My husband and I, here in California, are dying daily as we hear the news of this spill. We have the time and wherewithal to help. Can you find a use for us?
    Lori Stevens

  10. Alison Says:

    Jay, everyone — thanks for your hard work, and thanks so much for the updates.

  11. Samantha Says:

    The numbers of casualties seems low so far and I was wondering if you foresee a need for volunteers to help with that. I've been looking for ways to help the wildlife that are more than sending money – which is all I've found online.

    I recently graduated with my bachelor's in conservation bio and ecology, I think I'm going to pursue a hazwoper certification, and I have some experience handling birds.

    Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

  12. Oliver Says:

    I'm wondering why donations are being requested. Its my understanding that the wildlife response is completely funded by the clean-up effort including facilities, supplies, personnel, room, board, etc. Could you comment on this please?

  13. Webcoot Says:

    Thank you for your inquiry Oliver, the IBRRC cares for between 3,000-4,000 injured and orphaned water birds throughout the year at it’s two California rescue facilities.

    This work is done at a huge expense as water birds especially sea birds require specialized care and facilities. These facilities are also used to develop techniques and procedures that will assist with the care of these species in the event of a spill.

    We run intern programs from both centers that strive to train people who may work with oiled birds in other countries or regions of the US, so they can be prepared for potential oil spills as well. We also are able to train prospective and current spill team members at these facilities so their skill levels are kept current.

    The IBRRC does all of this work based on donations only, we do not have funding for operation costs to cover these programs. Please check out our website to learn more about these programs that are paid for by donations.

  14. Beloved Parrot Says:

    Why isn't BP providing funding????? Is wildlife not a "legitimate" expense?

  15. Oliver Says:

    Thank you, Webcoot. I'm concerned that some media outlets are implying that donations made to IBRRC will be used directly to help the current wildlife response in the Gulf. From what you have stated, this is not the case.
    I'm just wanting to make sure that people know where their donations are going and that the response in the gulf is completely funded by the responsible party, BP.

  16. Beloved Parrot Says:

    Could you please clarify this — is IBRRC receiving money from BP for the Gulf rescue efforts? Or is IBRRC having to use its own money and donations for this?

    If IBRRC is NOT receiving money from BP, has a request been made? BP stated over and over they'd pay for "legitimate" expenses — I don't know how much more legitimate your work could be.

    Please let us know.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Where are you located and can you use volunteers to help with the birds? I have no experience, but I am from Louisiana – now live in Milwaukee, but would be willing to to help.

  18. Jan Says:

    I lived in Louisiana for years and have family there. I am wondering if you can use volunteers to help wash oiled wildlife. I have no experience, but would be willing to learn or do other things. Where are you located now?

  19. Webcoot Says:

    Our fees expenses are being paid by the responsible party in this oil spill.

  20. Beloved Parrot Says:

    Excellent. Thanks.

  21. Jared Says:

    Is anyone color-marking released birds to study their future success post-rehab? I am at LSU coordinating a volunteer-based coastal monitoring effort Gulf-wide (with help from National Audubon). We have hundreds of eyes on the grounds looking for oiled birds and we could be looking for color-marked birds as well.

  22. Webcoot Says:

    Jared, good question:

    Any bird we release gets a silver Federal Band # but I'm not sure if they are also doing a specific colored spill band for the benefit of study/tracking.

    E-mail me directly at russ@ibrrc.org and I'll get an answer to you directly.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    I just read the coment from the German biologist about euthanizing the birds instead of cleaning them , what shock that would be his outlook

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Please, please continue to clean the birds. That stupid scientist and the jerk from Cornell who doesn't want to help them should be covered in oil without help and see how they like it.

    Even if some of them don't survive, I'm sure they appreciate your cleaning them. Who says they aren't aware what is going on? I wouldn't want the bird covered in oil and then to see people standing around and not helping.

    They seem very docile for wild animals, as if they know you are trying to help clean them. And they surely look pretty happy bouncing around in the water after they are cleaned.

    Thank you for all you are doing.

  25. Debora Says:

    The question is how are they going to stop this? This thing could go on a very long time. I think the USN needs to take over and get all University specialists down there. This seems very serious and I just feel it is out of control. Feelings from Jay please. Losing sleep in Costa Rica. Now concerned if this reaches the keys for the manatees. There has never been a situation like this for the manatee and how will they do that? Too much wildlife and too many people being affected. The spill needs to be shut down…….

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