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May 4, 2010 12:57 PM by Sarah Rosario

Bird Rescue in Venice, LA

As the oil slick steadily approaches the coast wildlife and fisheries experts are prepared. There are four different rescue stations set up along the coast to take in oil damaged animals; specifically birds.

According to experts only one bird has been rescued and sent to the rescue site in Venice, La. The bird is a Northern Gannett. BP has set up a contract with Tri-State bird and rescue and they are responsible for cleaning and nurturing the birds back to safety. Cleaning the bird is quite the process. "The bird actually came toward the boat, grabbed on to the stick to get out of the oil, said Wildlife Expert, Tom Mckensie.

The bird was found last week by a seaman helping in cleanup. The bird's body was on the brink of death. "It had a lot of dehydration, kidney problems, liver problems, some reproductive affects," said Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research expert Rebecca Dunne.

The bird was cleaned Saturday after veterinarians took care of him. Birds use their feathers as a wet suit and when the oil gets in it creates holes. "So the water can get in, the air can get in, the sun can get in, which is not suppose to happen to a bird in it's skin," Dunne. The bird is washed in several bath tubs with dawn soap. It can take up to 45 minutes and 300 gallons of water to wash a large bodied bird. After they wash the bird they rinse it. The birds feathers naturally repel water. Once the birds are rinsed the process is done. "Every bird gets and individual number so we can track individual animals as they go through the rehabilitation process," said Dunne. The birds are monitored for up to 10 days and then released back into the wild.

In the case of this situation, it will be determined by the US official wild life service where they get released assuming they've lived to that point," said Executive Director of International bird Rescue and Research Center, Jay Holcomb.

There's no estimated time of when the birds will be released rescuing animals has been halted these last couple of days because of the weather.

The rescue stations along the coast are in Pensacola, Florida, Pascagoula, Mississippi, Theodore, Alabama and Venice, Louisiana. If you'd like to volunteer, you can call a community information number at 866-448-5816.

Sarah Rosario
srosario@katctv.com

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