Birds in Peril: The Toxic Effect of BP’s Oil

Tony Hayward agrees we should kill the birds that have been soaked in oil instead of traumatically cleaning them and releasing them back into the wild.



Unlike Hayward’s previous comments that got him into trouble, this one has some merit. According to biologist Silvia Gaus in an article from Treehugger, the birds that become soaked in oil have a 1% chance of survival.  In past spills, birds that were cleaned and then released back into the wild died within approximately 7 days.   


To make things worse, the process of capturing the birds and cleaning them is very stressful and traumatic for them. If the birds are going to perish either way, it does not make sense to put them through a traumatic experience for no reason. Even the World Wildlife Fund agrees that cleaning the birds is unfortunately futile.   


When the birds’ feathers become coated in oil, they attempt to clean themselves and ingest it involuntarily. The oil eventually causes damage to the livers and kidneys of the birds and therefore makes it pointless to clean and release them.   


The harm oil has on the intestinal health of birds is a major concern, considering the amount of unique wildlife in those coastal states. Sadly, the potential harm to birds from the BP Oil Spill does not stop there.   


(Pictures from Charlie Riedel, AP Photo)

Cooked Alive


An even more terrifying reality exists for birds in the coastal states threatened by the BP Oil Spill.   


Kerry Anderson from NBC took a trip to Louisiana where he explored the East Grande Terre Island, a spot that has been hit particularly hard by the oil spill.   


Not only is the beach there covered in thick, goopy oil, but that oil increases in temperature with the heat of the sun.  As the temperatures in Louisiana and other states rise, so will the intensity of the sun and the temperatures of the landed oil.   


When birds are covered in this oil, they lose the ability to cool themselves. At that point, depending on the heat of the oil, the birds are at risk of literally being cooked alive.   


The massive amount of oil sopped all over the Louisiana island has been there for 5 full days without any signs of cleanup from BP.


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