Endangered species bird falls victim to oil spill

 ABCnews – Laura Anthony

There is an update on the survivors and casualties of last weeks oil spill, which include for the first time, a very rare bird.

Eight days after a major oil spill in the San Francisco bay, the scrubbing continues at a special Facility in Fairfield, where so far 804 contaminated birds have been treated. Of those, about 700 have survived. Another 540 arrived — already dead. Among them is a bird that is listed as endangered.

“We have confirmed that there was one Marbled Murrelet found during collection efforts. It is an endangered species, both federal and state listed,” says Dr. Michael Ziccardi, Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

The rare sea bird nests in the forests along the Pacific coast. Killing one is a federal crime, punishable by up to one year in prison.

Most of the birds at the rescue center, like this Surf Scoter, are much more common, but still treated with great care.

After an initial exam, the birds are kept in a special holding area, where they receive regular feedings. Then, they are washed, dried, and eventually deposited in an outdoor pool.

“We have our first releases scheduled for Friday. We’re tying to release them as quickly as possible to reduce secondary problems of being in captivity,” says Ziccardi.

This facility is still receiving oiled birds, but now finally, one week after the incident, the numbers are beginning to decline.

The birds ready for release will be set free in various locations, but certainly not where they could be re-contaminated by all the oil that is still in the bay.

The following phone numbers have been established for the public to call:

  • To report oil sightings, please call 985-781-0804
  • To report oiled wildlife, please call 877-823-6926
  • To submit a claim for oiled property, please call 888-850-8486
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