Birds covered in oil from the big spill are already being found. They are rushed to special cleaning stations around the Gulf Coast.
An oiled bird must be cleaned in a very special way. Only a trained volunteer knows how to save an oiled bird.
First the bird must be given a special liquid mix. This liquid helps to rehydrate the bird. It also has special medicine in it to break up any oil that the bird may have eaten. The bird will rest about 24 hours.
Once the bird is healthy enough to be cleaned, volunteers begin washing the bird. It is a very long process. The bird's body is put in water mixed with a little Dawn dishwashing liquid.
Each of the bird's feathers must be cleaned. When the water becomes dirty, the bird is put into another tub of warm water. Sometimes the bird needs to be put in 10 to 15 tubs of clean water. It may take four people over 45 minutes to clean one bird.
After it is cleaned, a bird must wait to become strong again. It usually takes two weeks before the bird is released back into the wild.
Here's an interesting article about cleaning oiled birds:
The good news is that volunteers do a wonderful job saving oiled birds. In June, 2000, there was a big oil spill off the coast of South Africa. Thousands of pelicans were in danger from the spill. Volunteers were able to save 90% of the pelicans!
REMEMBER... IF YOU FIND AN OILED BIRD, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO CLEAN IT BY YOURSELF! YOU MAY FURTHER INJURE THE BIRD AND HARM YOURSELF!!!
IF YOU FIND ANY OILED OR INJURED BIRD OR ANIMAL,
PLEASE CALL (866) 557-1401.
PLEASE REPORT THE NUMBER AND TYPE OF BIRDS OR ANIMALS, THE DATE AND TIME THEY WERE SEEN, THEIR LOCATION, AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE ANIMAL'S BEHAVIOR.