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In the Wild: Surf Scoters

Last week's oil spill in the San Francisco Bay threatens many local wildlife species from harbor seals to leopard sharks. Most of the spilled oil will never be recovered, and eventually will dissolve into the water. However, lingering, concentrated globules will continue to cause problems for visiting seabirds, like the surf scoter seen above.

Every November, around 80,000 of these birds stop in the Bay Area, a prime-feeding stop for birds wintering on the Pacific Flyway. This duck-like species arrives hungry, and plans to live on the water's surface and dive for fish. But, when oil gets on their feathers, it disrupts their waterproofing system and ability to stay warm — and forces them on shore where they are at risk of starvation.

State wildlife officials have received hundreds of reports of oiled birds found on Bay Area beaches, and rescue teams continue to locate seabirds tarred with black-shipping fuel — the live birds are sent to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Calif., where they are warmed, rehydrated, and thoroughly cleaned using Dawn dishwashing soap.

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terryt18 terryt18 8 years
This captain reported that his ship "touched" the bridge. That touch ripped a hole in the hull that resulted in this accident.
BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 8 years
Thank you Sugar for bringing this up. It is terrible how human activities can affect wildlife in the most negative ways. Some people seem to be more concerned that the price of fish and crab coiong out of the Bay, rather than the animals affected by this. There was also an oil spill in Russia over the weekend. Just shows why we should be trying as hard as we can to come up with renewable resources that don't destroy the eco system if human error occurs.
Pets Pets 8 years
If you are located nearby and spot oiled wildlife, it can be dangerous for both you and the animal to approach unprepared. To report animals, call 877-823-6926. For those of you looking for ways to help, check out these two websites for more information: www.baykeeper.org and www.owcn.org.
ElleJay ElleJay 8 years
This is so sad.
ElleJay ElleJay 8 years
This is so sad.
nikodarling nikodarling 8 years
This always makes me so sad. I always wanted to go and help the animals after one of these spills. I wish I had vacation time.
sashak sashak 8 years
poor birdies!! A new rescue center opened up here in town recently
ishop2much ishop2much 8 years
It's hard to believe that the captain of the ship has had this happen 3 times besides this. While none have been of this caliber, the problem should have been corrected, so nothing this devastating would have happened. I hope these poor defenseless animals will be brought back to health soon!
mollywog mollywog 8 years
Stuff like this just makes me cry. :(
aimeelove aimeelove 8 years
That's really sad. The poor animals don't even know what's going on...I hope a lot of them get rescued.
kalicalifornia kalicalifornia 8 years
does anyone know if there is a way to help?
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
This is so sad...
AujahAcorn AujahAcorn 8 years
Dawn dishwashing soap!!!!!!!! yeah!
emalove emalove 8 years
This just makes me want to cry...those poor animals. It really breaks my heart.
briggs313 briggs313 8 years
Is that Becky the duck from SBTB?? I hope they save as much as they can!
leahlarocco leahlarocco 8 years
This is so heartbreaking. I hope that many more of these animals are rescued.
Angelica Angelica 8 years
I actually drove by the beach this weekend and saw a few "concentrated globules" with my own eyes — it was terrifying! While this was an accident, it's horrific to think about all the wildlife that is suffering or lost it's life due to the spill.
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