Jun 09 2010
When I first heard about BP’s Gulf oil leak, I knew it was bad for birds.
Though initially far offshore, the oil immediately affected diving birds: gannets, terns and pelicans.
The first dead gannet broke my heart. It could only get worse — and it has.
When the oil reached the marshes it hurt herons, egrets and shorebirds who died unreported because the marshes are inaccessible to cameras. Even birds that were rescued, cleaned and released flew home to get oiled again because the leak keeps flowing.
Recently oil and death moved into camera range and now the public knows. The spill is very, very bad. Even if the leak stopped today the oil will linger for months to come.
What can we do?
As individuals we can’t stop this leak but we can help with the cleanup and support those who are helping birds. There are many ways:
- Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research is leading the wildlife rescue effort. They’re experts at treating oil-soaked birds and are called as first-responders to oil spill sites around the world. Based in Newark, Delaware they’ve been in Louisiana since April, directly helping bird by bird. Please support them here.
- The American Birding Association has set up a special fund to support bird rescue efforts.
- The National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation are both mobilizing volunteers, urging their members to speak up for wildlife and collecting donations to help clean-up efforts.
And finally, you can work to keep this from happening again by telling those in power, especially your Congressman and Senator who made the laws that allowed this to happen, that you’ve had enough.
We don’t have to live like this.
(Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Miller, released under the Creative Commons license with some rights reserved. Click on the photo to see the original and a complete description.)