Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil Soaked Pelicans

I just returned from Fort Jackson facility just above Venice, LA where all the bird rehab is taking place. Was able to go in and photograph and watch birds being rescued from a potential oily demise. It takes about 5-7 days for the entire process. They are examined by a vetenarian once they arrive. Then they are allowed to "chill" for a day or so before going through the decontamination process. This is a stressful process, so the workers want the birds to be less excited and less anxious before they get bathed. The oil itself doesn't cause extreme damage to the birds vital organs, but it does cause skin and eye irritation, so leaving the oil on them for a day or so to relax doesn't harm them. Then they go through 3 stages of clean up. First a solution is applied to breakup the oil. Then Dawn solution bath helps get rid of the oil and the first solution. Then finally a rinse bath helps get rid of the Dawn. The squeeky (well, if you listen close enough I think they squeek) clean birds then go to a drying room until all feathers are dry. They proceed back outside to a holding cage (large area with several "ponds" to sit in and play in) and there they await release. They are all tagged and then transported to FL (Merrit Island NWR) and released. Not sure if any will return. The mortality once the birds reach the rehab facility is reported as very low.
It was amazing to see all the people here working so hard and caring so much for these birds,
it is just a shame that they have been put in this position by BP Oil.
Tomorrow it is out to Barataria Bay..

1 comment:

Lisa A said...

Thanks for the explanation of the cleaning process. How many birds can they clean in a day? I remember our choir trip to Merritt Island.