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Snowy Plovers cleaning up | LA Times

October 10, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Western Snowy Plover banded Yy:ob (G. Murayama 1-24-20 Malibu Lagoon)

No, they didn’t make a killing in Vegas, they got oiled in the Orange County oil slick and friendly humans came to help. Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Estrin gives a very nice description of the process, as well as of other pertinent events. If you’ve never helped in this sort of rescue operation, or you are not yourself small and feathered and spend all your days and nights on the seashore, feeding and sleeping and running about, it’s interesting to know what is involved.

A Comeback disrupted
Snowy Plovers’ numbers have gone up, but spill is a new threat
Los Angeles Times | Robin Estrin | 9 Oct 2021 | 5 minute read

Excerpted from the article:

Once the plovers are stabilized, a trained professional will douse them in a special cleaning solution designed to break down the oil matting their feathers.

“Dawn, the dish detergent that we would typically use, is not quite enough to get this product off the animals,” said Sam Christie, a strike team leader with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

From there, the birds will be placed in a tub filled with warm water and a low concentration of dishwashing detergent. Agitating the solution allows it to penetrate the space beneath and through the bird’s feathers. Next, a Water Pik device is used to clean the bird’s sensitive areas — near the eyes, nose and mouth.

“As the tubs of water get oiled, we’ll move to the next tub,” Ziccardi said in an interview Monday. “Heavily, heavily oiled birds can take 15 to 20 tubs of this soapy water.”

After that, the soapy birds will be thoroughly rinsed with specialized nozzles using water pressure anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds per square inch.

The plovers will eventually be placed under a drier, where they can preen and align their feathers. Experts will then open their beaks and massage a soft rubber tube down their esophagus for a feeding. Once stabilized, they’ll move to outdoor pools where they will remain until they are healthy enough to return to a natural, oil-free environment.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network has a 50% to 75% success rate in returning oiled animals back into a clean environment, Ziccardi said….

In case you have not heard of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, here’s a few links.

Their blog, headquartered at University of California at Davis.

OWCN Contact Page
Pipeline P00547 Incident Wildlife Report  | How You Can Help
If local residents to the spill site see oiled wildlife, please call 1-877-UCD-OWCN (823-6926) and report immediately. DO NOT PICK UP OILED WILDLIFE.

OWCN Blog:
Their blog posting from 9 Oct 2021
Pipeline P00517 Incident: Reflections from the ICP

A short excerpt from an informative article:

Oiled Snowy Plover – Snip from OWCN blogsite

The wildlife response for the Pipeline P00547 Incident (name just flows off the tongue, doesn’t it?) is going very well to date. We currently have more than 50 responders on site – doing extensive recovery (from Long Beach Harbor down to Oceanside), field stabilization at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, and primary care at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center (home to International Bird Rescue). Overall, as of yesterday, we have had more than 80 overall responders from 14 of our 44 Member Organizations involved in the effort. Absolutely amazing, and makes me so proud of all we have collectively developed to respond quickly and in a coordinated fashion anywhere oil may be oiled!

As of yesterday, we have collected 26 live birds and 17 dead – a much lower number than we feared based on the initial volume estimates. There are a number of possible reasons for this: time of year resulting in fewer animals at risk, lower actual released oil than was initially thought, etc. What is ABSOLUTELY certain, however, is that it isn’t due to a lack of search effort! More…

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