Friday, July 1, 2011
We're Pelican Grandparents!
Last year, after the Gulf Oil spill, I did a benefit bracelet and earrings to help with pelican rescue. We sent the money to Tri-State Bird rescue and hoped for the best, faced with a dismal mess.
Last week, I got an email from Tri-State bird rescue with some very happy news:
Over a year since Tri-State traveled to the gulf coast to rehabilitate thousands of oiled birds, there is living proof that a new generation of wildlife is benefiting from our work.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been tracking a group of rehabilitated brown pelicans released on Little Egg Island Bar, a state-protected wildlife area. Biologists have encountered a pleasant surprise - seventeen pelican chicks in eight nests. Each has at least one parent that was rehabilitated and released from the oil spill.
Each nest has 2-3 chicks nestling up to its parent until it is old enough to survive on its own. Georgia DNR has banded some of the chicks in order to continue to track them as they mature.
How do they know?
The birds are easy to identify. Each oiled bird that was rehabilitated and released received a brightly colored leg band. A bright red band can be seen on the pictured pelican's left leg (below).
Why is this significant?
Tri-State was founded in 1976 to study the effects of oil on wildlife and develop protocols to treat affected animals. We were pioneers in oiled wildlife rehabilitation, working with DuPont to quantify what detergents work best to remove oil from feathers. Tri-State has contributed thirty-five years of experience and research to the professional rehabilitation of oiled wildlife. The days of scrubbing birds in bath tubs has evolved into a science and the rehabilitation process integrates veterinary medicine as well as wildlife conservation principles.
Though there is research showing the positive long-term benefits of oiled bird rehabilitation, it is images like this that are simple reminders of our important work on behalf of wildlife everywhere.
Above you see a brown pelican and her young. What makes this bird so special? One year after enduring being coated by thick, sticky oil, she is once again living in the natural world -- and brooding babies of her own!
So today's new charm is to celebrate.
These pelicans are available here and here.