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The Gulf Oil Disaster: Diverting Gulf-bound Birds Away from the Oil

July 7, 2010

Gerald Herbert / AP

In a prior post, The Gulf Oil Disaster:  Bird Migration Map, I wrote that strategies were being developed and implemented in an attempt to divert over 50,000,000 migrating birds – migrating to roost in the wetland areas, or stopping to rest before continuing to Latin America or the Caribbean –  away from the death traps of the oil spill.  “Gulf-bound Birds Could Fly into a Death Trap” ( examines what is currently being done to divert migrating birds.  USDA’s Natural Resources Conversation Service has launched efforts to turn crop land into “bird sanctuaries.”  Currently, there are approximately 1,400 land owners that have signed up for this program.   (USDA’s Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative

The New York Times article,  “Scientists Scramble to Steer Migrating Birds Away From Gulf Oil Sill” states “USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service on Monday Launched a $20 million program to pay landowners to idle land, restore wetlands and enhance habitat.  The agency hopes to affect up to 150,000 acres in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.”  

USDA is working with Ducks Unlimited to increase cash to include Texas and Louisiana in the program.  

A method I was hoping would be used (YES YES YES!)  may be employed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is to use noise and other measures in the oiled areas to audibly and visually discourage birds’ from the oiled areas.  

Let’s hope that many birds and waterfowl will be spared due to these efforts.  The egrets are currently arriving in the Gulf area.

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