Greetings from the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center! I thought you might like to hear about a few of our patients from the Refugio spill. Overall, the birds are doing quite well, but we definitely have a few patients who are standing out.
Blue One, the first bird we received, was absolutely saturated in oil when he arrived. He had very swollen foot joints, and trust me, nothing strikes fear in my heart more than a heavy-bodied bird with swollen joints! Once he was washed, we noticed that he was “hock sitting,” or leaning back on his joints, all the time. He seemed unable to stand properly. These were all ominous signs.
Jeanette, our amazing manager of the clean bird room, and I decided he needed some serious pampering. We wrapped his hocks and padded the floor of his pen, and three times a day he went for a private swim in a hospital pool. Jeanette tossed him fish to encourage him to eat, since unlike the other pelicans in care he was unable or unwilling to eat on his own.
Three days went by with no change. I was getting pretty worried . . . . and then he came out of his swim and was standing! And then he was perching! And he never looked back. He’s now outside in a waterfowl pen with some of his compatriots, and while he might not be the most graceful of birds (okay, he’s downright clumsy), he is eating on his own and looking great. Unfortunately he’s going to need another wash, since he’s got some oiled spots on him, but otherwise things are really looking up for Blue One.
Thanks to all our great staff and volunteers for making his recovery possible!