A Well-Oiled Machine (no pun intended…): Notes from the Field

A blogger onsite in Santa Barbara reporting on wildlife rescue efforts. #oilspill

Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Winston Winston “the gull whisperer” Vickers baiting in gulls for capture

Today marks just over two weeks since the Refugio Oil Spill began, and day 15 since I arrived. For many days after I got here I felt like I barely had time to take a breath.  Each day was a flurry and steady stream of activities, including safety briefings in the morning, deploying field teams, multiple check-ins, conference calls, making plans for the following day, and the never ending text messages and phone calls that are just a regular part of oil spill response.

Richard Grise and his favorite field binoculars Richard Grise and his favorite field binoculars

At the end of the long day, a quick dinner and collapsing in bed left little time for other activities (except for the nightly schemes that went on in my head on how I could make my cell phone meet its horrific demise). But now that I feel like we have almost…

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Santa Barbara Oil Spill

 

Imagining the suffering of birds and mammals that encounter the spilled oil in Santa Barbara is heartbreaking. Just the other day, I was out birding when I stopped on the walkway to look for a bird in a tree. I was about to move on but found I was stuck. I looked down and saw that my sneaker was stuck to tar that had not cured properly in a repaired area of the walkway. It was gross and I cannot not even fathom being covered in the stuff. We all need to do more to ensure that oil spills do not happen and to respond quickly to mitigate the damage.

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I was in Santa Barbara this past October (2014) and was thrilled to see all of the birds in around the beach. When I was growing up in California there were so few birds compared to nowadays. I am thinking this was because of pesticides that have been banned since then. I spent a lot of time down on the beach watching the birds during my recent visit. I snapped a few photos which I share here.

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Kudos to the International Bird Rescue and other responders that are rescuing birds!

If you are a California resident please visit Audubon’s website and send an easy request to your senator for no new offshore drilling off California coasts. 

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International Bird Rescue can be reached at the following number for emergency oiled wildlife response or an oil spill drill, call +1 (888) 447-1743 to reach the Duty Manager (no other inquiries, please).