Cause for Concern; Clean-up Crews Careless with Bird Colonies.

     On June 15, the New York Times included in an in-depth report on the chaotic nature of  the shore clean up from the Deepwater Horizon well blowout tragedy, that clean up workers on Queen Bess Island had been seen disturbing nesting Brown Pelicans and tossing around pelican eggs.
     This isn’t the first report of possible damage to nesting colonies from apparent vandalism by clean up crews. On the June 12, Biologist James Maley was on Grand Isle to record Clapper Rail vocalizations. Of course with oil from the blown out well hitting the island hard, Maley and fellow biologist Drew Wheelan, of the American Birding Association (ABA), observed “a lot of badly oiled birds perched on docks and flying around.” Maley also noted that “there are now obviously oiled birds in most places across the island.” Surveying the east end of Grand Isle, they discovered “a frustrating scene,” which Maley reported in a post to a Louisiana birder’s internet bulletin.
     “We found a substantial Least Tern colony,” he wrote, “unfortunately,  there was ample evidence of contractors and/or National Guard driving 4-wheelers right through the middle of the colony. Additionally, there were tracks showing that they had been doing donuts in the middle of the colony, barely missing some nests. While we found no evidence because we didn’t want to further disturb the colony, certainly some nests must have been destroyed.”
     The next day, Wheelan reported to the same birder’s list, that he had gone back and found a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist on the scene, staking off the colony and briefing clean up workers on the presence of the birds and nests.
     On the ABA blog devoted to the spill, Wheelan suggested that if it’s “happening here on Grand Isle, one of the most publicly exposed and accessible beaches in Louisiana, I think it is not a far leap to extrapolate the same situation or worse throughout the entire affected coastline here, and then Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.”


2 thoughts on “Cause for Concern; Clean-up Crews Careless with Bird Colonies.

  1. hello team ally, i had cleaned my friend nest on facbk, and was surprised to note that i needed to re-like you..sorry for the inadvertent sweep.i do have a question; npr has reported on the low expectancy of oiled bird's life…after clean-up..i suppose it all depends on how long and how much they were exposed to the toxic material.i do wish i could contribute to the effort, empty pocket wish..full of love. ns

  2. hi nadinada,nice to see you around these parts. regarding the life expectancy of rehabilitated birds, for now, i'd like to direct you to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network's blog – are references to post release studies that suggest better results than has been making the media rounds… personally, i think that story is being pushed by BP behind the scenes… it surfaced just when the oiled birds started coming in…power to the animalsmm

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