Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Birds of BP Gulf Oil Spill: Canola Oil Baths! by Deborah Dolen (RSS/API)

The Birds of BP Gulf Oil Spill: Canola Oil Baths! by Deborah Dolen (RSS/API)
Ever wondered how they clean birds dripping with oil? Once the traumatized bird has rested a day or two, Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research staffers are dipping the birds in canola oil first, which is an excellent gentle solvent to the harder crude oil. After that the birds are popped into a 104 degree bath which is their natural temperature. Tri state staffers say it can take 45 minutes and 300 gallons of water to wash oil off a pelican, and three people – one to hold the beak could be the obvious. Some rescue groups go ahead and put a salve in the bird’s eyes so they are not affected by the soap when cleaning.

Over at the International Bird Research Center in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, wildlife affected by the BP Gulf Coast oil spill have dear friend in Jay Holcomb Jay Holcomb was named Oceana's Ocean Hero for 2010. He responded to California oil spills during the 1970's and early 80's as a volunteer before joining the staff of IBRRC during the ARCO Anchorage Spill (1986). He has either led or been on staff for virtually all IBRRC spill responses since 1986 including the M/V Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa (2000) and handled the aviation operations during Exxon Valdez spill at Prince Edward Sound. His staff is highly trained and they work as a team. One of the most common questions poised at Jay is “Does the wildlife know they are being helped?” Jay says “No! They are wild animals and highly stressed by handling and captivity. Most likely they regard us as predators that are about to eat them. Although some species like penguins, pelicans and murres will act more friendly as they become accustomed to being fed fish by humans, they need what is termed "flight space". This is the space between them and humans that allow them to feel comfortable when in the presence of their care takers.” ~Jay Holcomb

Watch footage of Jay explaining how they clean the incoming birds at ground zero for the BP Gulf Oil Spill: in another news segment more bird cleaning procedures are discussed by Jay. Here Holcomb is giving a slew of interviews but each one is unique from the last and lessons learned are vast: Port Arthur Wildlife Rescue Worker’s also allowed footage of how they handle the incoming “patients.” Cleaning Crude off Birds:

In watching the video’s in Holcomb’s operation you not only see how the birds are cleaned, but the cute “hotel” they get to rest at after they are cleaned. A video shot of wildlife volunteer training in South Florida is also very educational. In the video below the teacher discusses the fact the incoming oil is “weathered” as in not extremely toxic, but yet still nasty stuff you do not want on you. One new technique in oil spill bird rescue is allowing the bird to rest a day or two before being washed as not to upset their hormone balance and rhythm. This has dramatically increased the survival rate in oil traumatized birds.

Mid June 2010 about 53 Pelicans are expected to arrive in Tampa Bay, via the Coast Guard for release. This will re-socialize the pelicans in an environment much like the habitat they are from.
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  1. Yes it is very sad how the underwater lives are dyeing and there is still a lot of oil in the water bed that is affecting the animal life.many birds and fishes are already dead and there is more disaster happening every day.
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  2. It has done the worst to the living animals there.Their food chain is hampered their homes contaminated...probably humans forgot that the ecological balance is maintained y them absolutely.
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