Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘oil spill update’

August 5, 2010

Day 109 update: Gulf oiled bird rescue continues

As we enter into the fourth month of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, we wanted to bring you up to date on our continuing oiled bird rehabilitation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The BP well has been capped but we are still receiving hundreds of oiled birds each week. These are primarily the orphans of the spill: Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Terns, Herons and Skimmers who are attempting to fledge from their protective islands. In doing so they are becoming oiled as residual pools of oil and oiled grasses still exist on some of the islands.

On July 23rd we successfully moved 400+ bird patients from the Fort Jackson rescue center in Buras, Louisiana to Hammond, which is 80 miles further north. Primarily, this move was to ensure the safety of people and animals in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane. We currently have over 500 birds at the Hammond center.

To-date, 657 birds — mainly Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls and small shorebirds — have been successfully rehabilitated and released back to the wild in Texas, SW Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.

IBRRC has had 75 responders help in the gulf spill and we still have 40 response team members in four Gulf states working alongside our colleagues from Tri-State Bird Rescue to give the best possible care to these oiled birds. Many of us have been here since early May and we will be here to assist for many more months to come.

An amazing amount of people, including many children from around the country, have been moved to respond to the ongoing aquatic bird rescue efforts in the Gulf.

Please know that we appreciate all your words of encouragement and your continuing support.


– Jay Holcomb, Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)

More information

When oil stops, the hard work can begin:
The Cornell Blog of Ornithology

Audubon Magazine Blog: The Gulf Oil Spill

May 1, 2010

Gulf spill update: From oiled bird rescue center

A Team of California bird rescue specialists from International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) are on site in Louisiana and Alabama preparing bird rescue centers to clean up seabirds caught in the Gulf coast oil spill.

International Bird Rescue is working in partnership with Tri-state Bird Rescue & Research to prepare rehabilitation facilities in Fort Jackson, Louisiana (just northof Venice) and Theodore, Alabama, near Mobile.

Media are welcome to visit the Fort Jackson rescue center any day from 1pm to 2pm: MSRC, 100 Herbert Harvey Drive, Buras, LA.

To date, rescue teams have recovered just one bird, a Northern Gannet, which is being treated in Venice and expected to recover fully. To learn more about oiled bird treatment, see Treatment of Oiled Birds and How oil affects birds.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Exceutive Director and oil spill veteran says preparation of rescue centers is key to the wildlife response.

“International Bird Rescue’s focus now is on preparing for the influx of oiled birds once the slick moves closer to the Gulf coast, where pelicans, egrets and terns nest and feed,” said Holcomb.

“Even after my 25 years responding to oil spills, it’s impossible to predict the kinds of impacts we might see to birds—it all depends on the tides, weather, and other factors beyond our control,” Holcomb said.

“Rather than waste time with conjecture, we are spending our days preparing for any eventuality, and it’s great to have such an outpouring of support from all over the country. This truly is an all hands on deck effort, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside Tri-State Bird Rescue and other groups,” said Holcomb.

“So far, we have only rescued one oiled bird, a Northern Gannet that is being treated at the Venice facility.” said Holcomb. “The bird is in a stable condition.”

IBRRC’s Holcomb is heading the organization’s Gulf spill response team. Holcomb has responded to over 200 oil spills around the world, including Exxon Valdez and the 1979 Gulf spill. With him are a veterinarian, rehabilitation manager and capture specialist.

International Bird Rescue will be hosting a daily teleconference once the rehabilitation center set-up is complete. For up to the minute updates on bird rescue efforts in the Gulf, follow @IBRRC on Twitter.

April 29, 2010

New update: Spill to hit Louisiana coast today

In a new urgent update, officials now are predicting oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill will reach parts of the Louisiana coast today – not Friday as previously reported.

In the declaration of an emergency he issued a short time ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal states that:

“National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration models show the oil spill could reach parts of the Louisiana coastline Thursday, April 29, 2010, and proceed into the Breton Sound and Chandeleur Sound by Saturday, May 1, 2010. At this time, the Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area is expected to see the first impact of the oil spill.”

The oil spill involves a deepwater drilling platform approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. An explosion and subsequent fire damaged the rig, which capsized and sank on April 22, after burning for hours. It is unclear how much of the estimated 700,000 gallons (approximately 16,700 barrels) of #2 fuel onboard burned before it sank. The rig is owned by Transocean and under contract to BP.

Today the Coast Guard changed the amount of oil spewing from the uncapped rig to over 200,000 gallons a day.

See: Oil Likely To Reach Louisiana Coast Today: NPR Blog

Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico: NOAA website