09 December 2007

Deaths of Birds at Oil Spills Continue

By James Ed. Ducey

Vivid and graphic images of dead birds continue to dominate the news for birds around the world. The most recent tragedy for migratory fowl is coastal South Korea.

A total of 66,000 barrels (cf. 10.5 million litres; 2.7 million gallons; 15,000 tons) of crude gushed into the sea then spread to reach reknowned Mallipo beach. Extensive pictures of the disaster scene were distributed by world news.

The beach habitat here is an "important stopover for migrating birds, including snipe, Mallards and Great Crested Grebes," according to the news report.

[Oiled bird South Korea beach
Press images courtesy of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement.
[Mallard at South Korea oil spill]

Thousands of people were mobilized to start cleanup efforts on the polluted stretch of an environmentally rich western coast of the Korean peninsula. It is the worst oil spill in the history of South Korea.

There have not been any new reports on the dramatic impact of the oil spill at the Kerch Strait. After the initial dramatic images, and news reports, there has been little reported.

The ecological damage made by the oil tankers wreckage in Kerch strait is an estimated 6.3 billion rubles (USD 250 million) - Russian Ministry of Natural Resources

In California, the bird help shelters have been shut-down, and clensed birds released back to the bay waters.

The impacts known at just a tip of the proverbial iceberg.

"Only a small proportion of birds killed by oil are actually found on shore, because many never reach land, instead being carried offshore or sinking," according to Environment Canada. "Others may reach the shore but are never found, instead becoming buried in the beach, decomposing or being carried off by scavengers."

The Canadian Agency website ascribes efforts to protect seabirds from oil pollutants.

"...About 300,000 seabirds are killed each winter in the waters of Atlantic Canada, by chronic operational discharges of oil at sea," are the results of studies done in the early 1990s.

Their considerations for determining the rate of mortality, included:

  • the number of oiled birds found washed ashore on beaches,
  • the length of time that carcasses of oiled birds remain on a beach,
  • the length of time that an oiled bird carcass floats at sea before sinking,
  • the proportion of those birds that die at sea which drift towards shore, and
  • the size of the ocean area being considered, where ship-source oil pollution and seabirds overlap, resulting in the risk of oiling to seabirds," according to the EC report.

"Thick-billed Murres, Common Murres and Dovekies ... made up over 80% of the oiled birds recorded on the Avalon beached bird survey during the winter months."

Other species of dead birds documented in the region include the Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black Guillemot, Common Eider, Atlantic Puffin, Northern Gannet and Long-tailed Duck. As well as Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Black-legged Kittiwake and Greater Shearwater.


sildenafil said...

This is a huge mistake and we can't do anything to solve it. The oil penetrates into the structure of the plumage of birds, reducing its insulating ability, thus making the birds more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and much less buoyant in the water. it's a real shame! 23jj

xlpharmacy reviews said...

When I get a blog, article or news about oil spills I feel sad, In the Gulf of Mexico was a big oil spill , I wanted to help all the animals in danger. I read that one prevention can be Double-hulling - build double hulls into vessels, which reduces the risk and severity of a spill in case of a collision or grounding. Existing single-hull vessels can also be rebuilt to have a double hull.

Spurwing Plover said...

And how many more birds are harmed by those windturbines the eco=freaks approove of?

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