[Taxacom] Fall bird migration (a disaster this year in the Gulf?)

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu Jul 15 22:34:33 CDT 2010

Dear All,
      BP may be making some progress, although such hopes have often
been followed by more delays and setbacks.  But even if they catch a few
breaks on the capping of this well and bad weather hopefully holds off a
while longer, there is still going to be the previous 3 months of oil
spilled into the gulf to contend with through the rest of this year, and
lesser amounts (especially in the marine environments) for years or even
decades to come).         
       In the short term, how will the bird migration (in particular)
through this area in late summer and into the fall overwhelm those who
are trying to save large numbers of birds coming through this area at
the worst possible time.  Most of those birds migrating north passed
through when the spill was still relatively small in area (as well as
amounts of oil in the water).  This fall will be quite a different
matter.  And that is just the birds, while many other taxa will be
migrating through the Gulf as well, although even more vulnerable
because they are literally swimming through it 24 hours a day, not able
to fly above it like some birds will be able to do (if they are lucky
enough to feed in clean areas and then fly over the contaminated areas).
Even that will be a matter of luck.  Certainly not a great time to be a
turtle or marine mammal migrating through.  Not to mention fish and
marine invertebrates trying to live in a Gulf of Mexico far more
polluted than it was several months ago (back when agricultural runoff
from the Mississippi River was the main concern).  What a difference a
few months make.       
         ---------Ken Kinman           
P.S.  Will the numbers of migrating oil-soaked animals become so large
this fall that the rescue efforts will be overwhelmed, so that triage
will be required that must ignore the plight of some animals (especially
the non-endangered) to save those which are more endangered.  And I
wonder how one can easily tell the difference between an
oil-contaminated immature white pelican (not endangered) from a brown
pelican (whose feathers tend to be mostly "oily-colored" naturally).
That alone could be a challenge, and if things get as bad as I suspect,
saving oil-covered immature white pelicans may necessarily become a
rather low priority compared to saving more endangered species.  

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