The first batch of washed birds oiled in San Francisco Bay spill 10 days ago successfully returned to the wild Friday afternoon.
Great SF Chronicle video (QuickTime required)
38 birds were released into the Pillar Point Harbor just north of Half Moon Bay. The harbor is 25 miles south of San Francisco.
About of dozen volunteers brought the colorful boxes down to the shoreline. One by one the birds were gently carried into the the calm harbor waters. As on most of these releases, the media nearly outnumbered the birds, staff and volunteers.
Released birds included 25 Eared and Horned Grebes, seven Western and Clark’s Grebes, five Scaups and one Common Murre. The majority of the birds oiled in this spill appear to be Grebes, Scoters and Scaups.
As of Friday evening, November 16, nearly 500 birds have been cleaned of oil at the IBRRC/OWCN facility located in the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center at 4369 Cordelia Road in Cordelia, CA.
A total of 970 birds are in care; 1,113 have been found dead in the field by wildlife rescue teams. Search teams ares still working to recover live and dead animals oiled in the spill.
The spill was caused by the Cosco Busan container ship striking the SF Bay Bridge on Nov 7, 2007. A gash on the side of the ship caused 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil to leak out of the 810-foot-long vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard admitted it was slow to report the severity of the spill.