Every year millions of birds die in oil spills around the world. Here’s the basics of how to clean a seabird:
– The birds suffer from hypothermia and have damages to their internal organs due to toxic oil. They suffer also from dehydration from diarrea.
– Do NOT clean the birds immediately. They need first to be stabilised with fluids and activated charcoal solution.
– It takes about 40 minutes for two people to clean a single bird.
– A good liquid to clean birds with is Dawn’s dishwashing liquid.
– After the cleaning, the birds often loose their appetite and need to be tube-fed with suitable nutrients , fluids and drugs.
– After the cleaning, the birds need a very warm place to rest in.
– After some days they are ready for the warm water pools, and finally for the cold water pools.
– Advanced rehab centers take blood samples from the birds to check if they are healthy enough to be released. The hemoglobin will be destroyed if the birds are too toxicated, causing anemia.
PS You can find more information here http://www.ibrrc.org/oil_affects.html
Good on you Ann. We had a big oil spill in Tasmania a few years ago which effected hundreds of sea birds, especially penguins. Staff at the zoo I worked at went down and assisted. By the time I went down there were only a handful of birds left, but it was an interesting experience.
Ann Novek says
The bird on the photo is a pochard, an Eurasian – Afican diving duck. Note the red eyes.
This one was washed at the local fire station. Fire stations usually are very kind letting us clean the birds at their fascilities.