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This year's July 4th had COVID-19, ongoing protests about systemic racism, and a presidential visit to Mt. Rushmore. Plus, Trump signed an order to plan a new statue park.

CA Group Helps with Bird Rescue in the Gulf Coast

May 13, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The race is on to protect birds threatened by the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; birds that would also be finding their way to other locations. Last month's oil rig explosion couldn't have come at a worse time for the thousands of brown pelicans, egrets and other birds nesting in islands and wetlands, according to experts from the California-based International Bird Rescue Research Center. A team is now on location to care for birds caught in the oil slick.

Jay Holcomb, the group's director, says it's impossible to predict how the birds will be affected, since the winds and tides will determine the movement of the oil slick.

"It's heartbreaking and stressful and it makes everybody really sad. The whole issue of the drilling and the leaking oil that no one seems to know how to stop points to the vulnerability of our environment and our responsibility in taking care of it."

One of the most-vulnerable species is the brown pelican, which Holcomb reminds is Louisiana's state bird. It's a species that would have become extinct if conservationists hadn't taken steps 20 years ago to preserve the colonies, he adds.

"If there was a hurricane or a strong storm that blew the oil around, it could blow it onto the island and cover the babies and the adults that are feeding. So, the biggest vulnerability is those birds right there."

The first two birds that were treated have already been released to a Florida wildlife refuge. The birds were hand-fed, cleaned and given Pepto-Bismol to help with rehydration. Holcomb, who has responded to over 200 spills, including the Exxon Valdez, says rescuers could be in the region for months.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA