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Home » Headline, Learn Stuff, Videos

How An Oiled Bird Is Washed

Submitted by on May 25, 2010 – 1:04 pm6 Comments
Oiled Brown Pelican at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Louisiana by IBRRC

Oiled Brown Pelican at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Louisiana by IBRRC

Jay Holcomb, Executive Director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center, explains how an oiled bird from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is washed at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Louisiana.

In this video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you get to see what goes on inside the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Jay explains what happens when a bird becomes oiled and about the process of washing the bird.

What a difference they are making one animal at a time! You can really see it in the photo below.

Brown Pelican before and after cleaning by IBRRC

Brown Pelican before and after cleaning by IBRRC

I thoroughly enjoy all of Jay’s videos that have been hitting the web! You may also like the video of Jay explaining how Dawn dish washing liquid became the primary tool for cleaning oil from wildlife.

  • coco

    Thank got! At least one oiled pelican was rescued! How many other poor animals are there…….

  • Sarah

    Just came across this so wanted to share.


    Catching and cleaning oil-soaked birds oftentimes leads to fatal amounts of stress for the animals, Gaus says. Furthermore, forcing the birds to ingest coal solutions — or Pepto Bismol, as animal-rescue workers are doing along the Gulf Coast — in an attempt to prevent the poisonous effects of the oil is ineffective, Gaus says. The birds will eventually perish anyway from kidney and liver damage.

    Gaus explains that is a long slow death, so she recommends euthanizating the birds quickly and painlessly, or just leaving them alone, oil soaked, in which case they will starve with less long term pain than they will endure if they are cleaned enough to attempt to get on with their lives — plus they will be saved the terror of the capture, cleaning and force feeding. The article tells us that the World Wildlife Fund reluctantly agrees, a spokesperson saying, “Birds, those that have been covered in oil and can still be caught, can no longer be helped. … Therefore, the World Wildlife Fund is very reluctant to recommend cleaning.”

    More info can be found here:…

  • # raynor525

    So sad :(

  • Sezzsinclair

    I hope bp can stem the flow of oil to prevent any more damage to the ecosystem there.

  • Andrew

    Message from Jay Holcomb, the IBRRC Executive Director, on this very topic:

  • Sandra

    What organizations are involved in helping the wildlife affected by the oil spill? I have asked several local organizations up North and none of them are involved. I have not seen anything advertised.