Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dead Birds Found on a Louisiana Island

Late last week, the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper took a sampling trip around Louisiana's Terrebonne Bay in the company of other environmental activists and some filmmakers. On one of the islands they made a disturbing discovery:

In "Julia," the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Boston Whaler and a local fishing vessel we made our way south from Pointe Au Chien across Lake Chien and Lake Felicity to Modoto Island. What we encountered there stunned us all. The ground was littered with dead birds. So many dead birds that we aren't sure how many were out there, many dozens of dead birds just in the small area which we surveyed on the island. The dead appeared to included mostly seagulls and terns though some were badly decayed and identification was difficult. It was clear to me by the various states of decay, from scattered bones to a tern that couldn't have been dead for more than a day and everything in between, that this is an ongoing situation.

We also saw a juvenile gull that was in distress. It could hardly walk and was very unsteady when it took a step it also had very little energy. By the time we finished our sampling and were ready to leave the island the bird had died. I asked Kurt if he had seen anything like the dead birds and he said that he had been visiting this island his entire life and he has never seen dead birds in the numbers we were seeing. It is clear to me that these birds are somehow being poisoned by the BP event.
You can see video of the gull in question at the Riverkeeper's website.

Even though the well is basically plugged, and even though deep-sea bacteria have started to break down some of the submerged oil, much of the oil is still out there, and wildlife is still being harmed by it.