A survey was taken of bird losses in crude oil pits near the central Texas Gulf Coast and in northwestern Texas. At one pit near the Texas Coast, 297 bird carcasses (largely ducks) were counted. Duck losses from oil pollution in northwestern Texas occurred largely in playa basins of the Permian Basin south of the Panhandle. To determine the fate of birds that die in oil pits, 40 carcasses of nine bird species were placed in two crude oil pits near the central Texas Coast in October (19) 1981 and December (15) 1981 and April (6) 1982 and studied for 5 months. Rate of sinking and disappearance of carcasses were positively related to carcass size. In a comparison of three seasons, the time required for a carcass to disappear was longer in winter when oil temperatures were lowest and shorter in spring and fall when oil temperatures were highest.
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Number of oil-killed birds and fate of bird carcasses at crude oil pits in Texas