Home > Uncategorized > Oiled pelicans inundate the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center

Oiled pelicans inundate the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center

[From HWCC]

Last Thursday an oiled Brown Pelican was spotted in Crescent City. This turned out to be just one of many birds that were contaminated by fish oil from open scrap bins at the fish-cleaning station.

We currently are caring for 23 pelicans and 2 gulls with more on the way. We have already spent more than 5% of our yearly budget in the last week, and that does not include food. We are sorely in need of monetary donations, as well as other items. A list of what is needed is available on our website, as well as a running commentary of our daily activities.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 1, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Is the Marine Wildlife Care Center helping out? I kind of thought the university got money to have a facility for rehabilitating seabirds for situations like this one.

  2. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Not much info on the “fish cleaning station”, sounds like that place holds much responsibility.

    The HWCC is raising funds with a “Windshield Owl Ale”?

    Ha Ha??

  3. Percy
    September 2, 2011 at 8:29 am

    The pelicans getting oily from the fish cleaning carcass bins at Crescent City doesn’t make a lot sense to me. Most fish cleaned there are bottom fish, that have no oil on their skin or carcass. Very few salmon and even fewer albacore are cleaned there which would contain some oil, but those carcasses would be dwarfed by the glut of bottom fish carcasses dumped there. I would bet the fish oil contamination on these birds is coming from another source.

  4. rex1223
    September 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

    what I understand is that the Marine Wildlife Care Center deals with petroleum product spills not fish oil. My question is that this has occurred multiple times in the past. With the money and time and LOTS of effort devoted towards the rehabilitation of these animals, why don’t they put up an exclusion device?

  5. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    The Marine Wildlife Care Center is for petroleum product spills. The bins that contain the fish carcasses is a mix of fish oil, bones, and other fish parts left behind by people cleaning their catch. That mix of “stuff” gets on the birds feathers when they get into the bins and sticks there which then compromises their water proofing, they get cold and die of hypothermia. There have also been reports of pelicans trying to eat tuna heads. The fish head gets stuck in their mouth, the pelican is unable to get it out and they die of starvation. Some of the pelicans were found to have this problem. Pelicans do not eat large fish in the wild they eat much smaller fish that they swallow whole. I have heard that the bins in Crescent City have now been covered and have signage informing the public. Other cleaning areas like this on the north coast are being checked on.

  6. September 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    The Humboldt Wildlife Care center, in cooperation with Bird Ally X, are in the process of cleaning 25 of the immature Brown pelicans found oiled at this site. All were fish oil contaminated, and in various stages of condition… mostly thin and dehydrated. Since the OWCN and the Marine center only deal with petroleum based oil spills, we are handling this on our own…any and all donations are welcome!! http://www.humwild.org

  7. Anonymous
    September 4, 2011 at 7:31 am

    There are now reports of contaminated birds in Trinidad and Shelter Cove. The Humboldt Wildlife Care Center is doing everything it can to help these birds but they need your help. Find out how you can help at http://www.humwild.org

  8. Bonnie
    September 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Let the Humboldt Wildlife Care Ctr. know you CARE…make a donation, large or small to help out our local feathered friends!


  9. September 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Percy, there were actually quite a large number of tuna and salmon carcasses in those bins between aug 25 and sept 1 – as soon as lids were secured against the birds, no more contaminations occured. However, even one of the least oily fish, night smelt, when chopped up, has enough oil to contaminate a bird’s feathers if the bird is lying it.

    Also, the OWCN has provided some support. They have donated fish and they allowed us the use of the wash facility at the MWCC, even though no petroleum was involved. We are very grateful for this, as it gave us the time to build up the capacity at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center to deal effectively with such incidents including the capacity to wash contaminated birds.

    And f course we are working with each harbor district to alert them to this problem as well as provide solutions to prevent future occurrences.

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