Jay Holcomb of IBRRC explains why it’s so important to remove oil from a birds feathers. He also describes how an oiled pelican captured at the Gulf Oil leak is cleaned of crude this week at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Center in Louisiana.
When a bird encounters oil on the surface of the water, the oil sticks to its feathers, causing them to mat and separate, impairing the waterproofing and exposing the animals sensitive skin to extremes in temperature. This can result in hypothermia, meaning the bird becomes cold, or hyperthermia, which results in overheating. Instinctively, the bird tries to get the oil off its feathers by preening, which results in the animal ingesting the oil.
In a video report, Jay Holcomb, IBRRC Director, reflects on how DAWN dish washing detergent became the number one tool for cleaning oil from wildlife.
How Dawn Has Helped
More than 30 years ago, the IBRRC was seeking a solution to clean oil from bird’s feathers. IBRRC discovered that Dawn dishwashing liquid was powerful enough to effectively remove oil from birds’ feathers, while remaining gentle on their feathers, skin and eyes. Since then, rescue groups worldwide have chosen Dawn to clean aquatic animals.
“Dawn has made a difference in helping us save countless birds and animals over the years,” said Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director. “But this effort is even bigger. This says we all can make a difference and every little bit helps.”
“Everyday Wildlife Champions” still going strong
So far more than $370,000 has been raised in the DAWN Everyday Wildlife Champions program to support two wildlife organizations in California.
For each bottle you purchase—and then activate it online using the bottle donation code—one dollar* is donated to our wildlife conservation partners. Fifty percent of each dollar is donated to the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and fifty percent is donated to the Marine Mammal Center (MMC). Both organizations hold longstanding commitments to the preservation and improvement of animals and their natural habitats.Also, DAWN now has over 100,000 fans on it’s Facebook page and it just launched a new “Expedition” program: http://www.facebook.com/dawnsaveswildlife?v=app_4949752878
There’s a terrific column by Elise Patkotak in the Anchorage Daily News this week on volunteering to help with the 30 Bald Eagles treated at IBRRC and Bird TLC’s Alaska Center:
“…So far, all the eagles that came to Bird TLC survived not only the slime dive but also the bathing and spraying and blow drying and tube feeding required to get them back on their feet and ready to go out into the wild again, cleaner and hopefully a lot wiser. Though we aren’t holding out a lot of hope on the wiser part. Did I mention they were almost all guys? One can only hope they’ve learned there is no such thing as a free lunch. Unless, of course, you’re at Bird TLC.
Long after these eagles are in their aeries telling their kids about the weird experience they once had when aliens abducted them, probed them, fed them and then freed them, the volunteers who are responsible for the success of this bedraggled group will still be at Bird TLC doing what they do routinely week after week, with or without the glare of the media. They will be cleaning mews, treating sick birds, fixing meals — generally doing their part to help Alaska’s wildlife. More important, doing their part to make this world a little bit kinder and a little bit gentler for all living creatures in it.
It’s what volunteers do. They feed the spiritual life of this nation and make America a great place to live. Don’t believe me? I’ve got a bunch of eagles you can talk to that will back me up 100 percent.”
Recent San Francisco Bay Area storms seem to be churning up more of the oil that spilled from the Cosco Busan two months ago. According to news reports, the Coast Guard sent clean-up teams to several beaches along the East Bay shoreline of San Francisco Bay today. Apparently oil was spotted in the Emeryville area this week. KCBS radio report
So far, the Coast Guard says they have recovered about 30 percent of the 58,000 gallons that spilled into the bay on November 7, 2007. The spill happened after the Cosco Busan container ship struck the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog while heading out of the bay.
Over 2,500 birds died from the spill. Another 400 were saved and cleaned and then released back into the wild.
In addition to responding to oil spills around the world, International Bird Rescue staff work to care for birds impacted by lesser known threats like natural oil seeps under the ocean, algal blooms, marine debris, and extreme weather. We use this blog to share stories from the field and from the two California-based bird rescue centers we manage. We hope you enjoy this window into our world—we are truly passionate about caring for birds, and know that our community shares this passion. We could not do this important work without your ongoing support!