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Archive for the 'Oil Spills' Category

Who Cares for Birds? International Bird Rescue, that’s who!

Pelicans being cared for at International Bird Rescue. (IBR photo)

Dear readers:
I just received the news release below announcing the 40th anniversary of International Bird Rescue (IBR). Wow! It’s hard to believe it has been 40 years since that wonderful organization came into existence in 1971 as a result of the oil spill in San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge.

I was Curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, at the time, and volunteers from throughout the Bay Area, including our own wildlife rescue team, jumped into the middle of that oily mess to help care for the thousands of birds that were oiled as a result of that spill. A few months after the spill, a few of us got to talking about the need for an organization that dealt with oiled wildlife … and IBR was born.

I was briefly on the original IBR board of directors, so we could have enough experienced wildlife care people on the board so we could incorporate as a nonprofit organization. Bird rescue has come a long, wonderful way since then, and is now THE leader in oiled wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in the world. Please read on … I think you’ll find it very interesting. This is a very special organization! /Gary
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Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2012
Under: Oil Spills | No Comments »

International Bird Rescue turns 40: Cleans oiled animals worldwide

Oiled great horned owl from tank farm that leaked oil being cleaned. (IBR photo)
ibr1 owl cleaning

I received the news release below (and photographs) from my friends at International Bird Rescue and thought it might interest you. This organization is the GREATEST!! /Gary

California-based oiled bird rescue organization turns 40

The marking of an anniversary could not have been more poignant for California-based oil spill experts, International Bird Rescue, whose team played a key role in the response to last year’s Gulf oil spill.

The 40th anniversary of the wildlife group, formed in response to a San Francisco Bay oil spill in 1971, fell on the same day as the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill. Bird Rescue has responded to aquatic bird emergencies in all corners of the globe, from oiled common murres and bald eagles in Alaska following the Exxon Valdez to 20,000 penguins caught in an oil spill in South Africa.
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Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011
Under: Birds, International Bird rescue research Center, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Cornell Lab of Ornithology video: ‘One Year After the (Gulf) Oil Spill’

Gulf rig fire & resulting oil spill (US Coast Guard)

Video: “One Year After the Oil Spill”

A powerful new video by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, shares footage of birds after the oil spill and notes the power of observation and citizen science to advance conservation. You must watch this:

Cornell’s oil spill website also has a number of other interesting new videos about the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig rupture that ultimately released more than 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

One year after the spill, tar balls of oil are still washing ashore onto Louisiana beaches, even as we speak.  /Gary

Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Under: Oil Spills | No Comments »

Offshore drilling reforms good, but big questions remain

Gulf rig fire (US Coast Guard)

I think the Center for Biological Diversity bring up some excellent points. What do you think? /Gary

Offshore Oil Drilling Reforms Are Positive Step, But Big Questions Remain
The Obama administration announced Monday (Aug. 16) that it will no longer exempt certain deepwater offshore oil-drilling projects from environmental review. However, non-deepwater drilling operations may continue to be approved without environmental review. Also, deepwater wells and rigs already approved under the faulty environmental review process will not necessarily have to seek full National Environmental Policy Act or Endangered Species Act compliance.

In response, Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kierán Suckling issued the following statement:
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Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

‘Most Gulf oil gone, feds say.’ Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.

Gulf Oil Spill. Photo by Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center used under a Creative Commons License
NASA oil1

The first thing I saw when I picked up my morning paper today was an Associated Press story on the front page:

Most Gulf oil gone, feds say
“WASHINGTON — With a startling report that some researchers call more spin than science, the government said Wednesday that the mess made by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is mostly gone already.

“On the same day they trumpeted success in plugging up the leaking well with drilling mud, federal officials announced that nearly 70 percent of the oil spilled dissolved naturally, or was burned, skimmed, dispersed or captured, with almost nothing left to see — at least on top of the water.”

Before you get all excited and jump up and down because they said the  oil is gone, please keep one thing in mind. Just because they say it’s gone doesn’t necessarily make it so. One of the reasons oil companies love to dump chemical dispersants on oil that has spilled in water is that the dispersants do just that … they disperse the oil and make it go away … by breaking the oil up up into smaller drops that sink below the surface of the water. In other words, out of sight, out of mind, as they say.

Before you come to any conclusions on this, read the following news release I just received from Texas Tech University.  /Gary
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Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Under: Chemical dispersants, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

American Bird Conservancy: Gulf oil spill’s impact on birds

Gulf disaster (US Coast Guard photo)

Members of the American Bird Conservancy staff recently returned from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill area and issued a report, “Gulf Oil Spill, Field Survey Report and Recommendations, July 19, 2010,” on their findings.

Here is the report:

The American Bird Conservancy is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. You can find out more about them at

You should definitely read the report. It’s an eye-opener. /Gary

Posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: BP’s ‘Cross Your Fingers’ containment system

Heavily oiled brown pelicans from Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo by Flickr user IBRRC used under a Creative Commons License.

BP is beginning to test a new tighter-fitting cap on its gushing wellhead. They hope it will stop the millions (?) of gallons of oil that have been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico during our worst-ever oil spill.

“Cross your fingers,” I heard someone from BP being quoted as saying on the radio news station as I drove to work this morning.

The “Cross Your Fingers” containment system. Why didn’t they use that in the beginning? Maybe if they’d crossed their fingers back when they first discovered the spill the Gulf of Mexico wouldn’t have turned all gooey black by now.

I think we ALL better cross our fingers, this time. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Under: Big Oil, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: Will the spill affect our backyard birds?

Baby birds in nest

Just got this (below) from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Like wild birds? You might consider getting involved in Cornell’s NestWatch project. /Gary

Will the Gulf Spill Affect Backyard Birds?
Scientists ask bird watchers to monitor nests.

Ithaca, NY — As oil washes ashore along the Gulf Coast, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( is asking birders to keep an eye on nesting birds — not just near water, but hundreds of miles inland.
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Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Under: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Oil, Oil Spills | 1 Comment »

Judge lifts Gulf drilling moratorium, gives green light to risky drilling

Oiled bird. AP Photo by Charlie Riedel.
oiled bird AP photo, Charlie Riedel

I thought you might be interested in this story (below) that the Gulf drilling moratorium has been ordered lifted by a federal judge.
Miyoko, The Center for Biological Diversity

Judge Feldman’s ruling is flirting with disaster and should be appealed by the federal government. Many thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for jumping into this. The judge has obviously not thought this out. There should be no more deepwater drilling for oil until they figure out how to deal with any future spills. To do so is stupid. They can’t even deal with the present mess. /Gary
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Posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | 2 Comments »

Center for Biological Diversity to sue EPA over toxic dispersants in Gulf

Sperm whale. Photo by Flickr user strange ones used under a Creative Commons License.
sperm whale, strange ones

From the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity, June 3, 2010:

To stop the oil-spill response from making the catastrophe even worse for wildlife, this Tuesday (June 1) the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for not protecting endangered species from the nearly one million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants it approved for use in the Gulf.
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Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010
Under: Chemical dispersants, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »