Kaiti blogged earlier this week on the loss of time phenomenon that occurs during oil spills.  There is also a little-known warpage in time that occurs at the end of a spill where even the most simple tasks seem to flit through your memory when you really (now) should have the time (and attention) to deal with them.  This tends to begin to occur once animal care day length gets below 10 hrs/day, and is particularly afflictive to those personnel responsible for electronic communications.  That would be me.  And that would be my long-winded way of apologizing for not blogging on facilities issues over the past several days. And, lastly, I can visualize both Kaiti and Alison rolling their eyes at this lengthy intro, as well as Dr. Massey for my far-too-long and over-elaborate sentence structure.  Right, on to the birds…

Things here at the SFBOWCEC are going very well.  We had a “coot wrangling” session yesterday where we fished out each of the coots from our SPAs (small pool aviaries, officially named by our resident acronym guru Don), did full physical exams and blood work, and assessed their waterproofing and any skin burns.  Based on this, we will be able to release 11 of the remaining 16 coots this afternoon.  We will also be releasing one of the remaining two scoters and most (if not all) of the dunlin.  Once this release is completed, we will have released more that 50% of the live birds captured during this event – a significant accomplishment considering the presence of skin burns from the product.  We will most likely have just a handful of birds remaining this afternoon, and I will be speaking with Jay Holcomb of IBRRC to determine the feasibility of rolling these birds into the general rehabilitation operations of our partners here (as the number of algae-slimed birds IBRRC has in-house is also down).  We will most likely be assessing these remaining birds again either Monday or Tuesday to see if their ongoing problems have resolved with some additional “room and board, plus good groceries” time.

Lastly, some numbers: Of the 49 live birds we have collected, we have released 10 (plus an anticipated 15 this afternoon) and 17 have died or been humanely euthanized.  To date, 20 dead birds have been collected by our field teams.  Considering the condition that the birds came in at (shown by some “before” and “after” pictures below), we are very happy with the results!

– Mike


Before: Oiled American coot on intake



After: Horned and Western grebes in pool




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