Unsung Heroes of the Gulf Oil Spill
These are the people who work behind the scenes, not the talkers or politicians, but the workers at the International Bird Rescue and Research Centre. Their job is to clean the affected birds, and boy what a job it is!
The birds, commonly known as Brown Pelicans, are oil soaked, and have incredibly large beaks and wings which typically can be as wide as 8 feet. The birds are held down by two workers with a grasp on each wing and beak. When they calm down a little the work begins…
They are first bathed in warmed vegetable oil, because their feathers are so sticky, then the workers armed with toothbrushes and dishwashing liquid get to work scrubbing the bird feathers and reaching into the beaks and the deep pockets to free the deposits of oil.
This process takes an incredible average of 45 minutes, but it is not over yet.
All the birds have to be dried and receive a health check, then they are branded for identification. Some rehabilitated birds may survive but might not breed again.
Tom Bancroft, chief scientist for the National Audubon Society said, “We really don’t know how much until the next breeding season”.
The men and women of the International Bird Rescue and Research Centre, with their diligence and courage, are truly unsung heroes.
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