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Rehabilitation of birds oiled on two mid-Atlantic estuaries

Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

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Abstract

An estimated 52,500 birds died as a result of 7 major oil spills on 2 mid-Atlantic estuaries between 1973-78. Ruddy ducks (Ox.l'urajamaicen.l'is) constituted 98% of 12,500 birds known to have died from 5 spills on the Delaware River. Seventy-six percent of 40,000 dead birds from 2 Chesapeake Bay spills were horned grebes (Podicep.l' auritus) and oldsquaw (Clan~ula hyemalis). Oiled waterfowl that were captured alive (6% of the estimated mortality) were cleaned with a variety of cleaning agents and techniques. High mortality occurred during and shortly after cleaning, and was apparently due to hypothermia and to toxicity of solvent cleaning agents. Eighty-two percent of the 3,113 birds that were cleaned died prior to or at time of release. The fate of the remaining 18% is unknown. Petroleum solvents used as cleaning agents were toxic to the birds. Most detergents left a surfactant (wetting agent) on the feathers which resulted in subsequent wetting of released birds. Although rehabilitation techniques have improved in recent years, high bird mortality can be expected following future oil spills.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Rehabilitation of birds oiled on two mid-Atlantic estuaries
Series title:
Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Volume
32
Year Published:
1978
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
318-325
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
First page:
318
Last page:
325