Toll on wildlife is staggering

Now that it seems the sealed oil well is somewhat stable, I feel like I can breathe a little easier. That is, until I read about the thousands of animal lives lost.
I can’t sleep at night thinking about these helpless creatures who have died slow, tortuous deaths.

An AP story today says there are more than 2,500 dead birds documented; hundreds of sea turtles and dozens of sea mammals — all dead. And who knows how many fish and other sea creatures have perished.

(Oil impacted Brown pelican is being cleaned at a Wildlife Rehabilitation center in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Photo by Greg Thompson, US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Birds, it seems, have taken the hardest blow from the oil spill. Yet there are successes, too. Many birds have been cleaned up and patched up enough to be released back into the wild.

US Fish and Wildlife scientists are asking the public to report sightings of these birds so they can get a better feel for what happens after they’ve been released. Your observations could be helpful.

Here is the info from US Fish and Wildlife:
Birds from the BP oil spill are banded with metal federal leg bands with a unique ID number. In addition, brown pelicans also receive a large color leg band. Three colors of leg bands are being used:

* Orange bands with no identification numbers or letters.
* Red bands with identifying numbers and letters.
* Pink bands with identifying numbers and letters.

People who see the birds are asked to report sightings to the National Bird Banding Lab online: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/default.htm Reporting the band number and the bird’s location will help biologists understand the movements and survival of the birds after their release.

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