Winners 2012 > Oceans Series > 2nd - JT Blatty

Aviary 1 : Brown pelicans as seen through the mesh cage of an outdoor aviary. Birds were transferred to the outdoor aviaries to exercise and continue rehabilitation after they had been stabilized and washed. The white mesh walls provided privacy in order to minimize the birds’ further disturbance by humans. The birds were fed and monitored twice daily throughout the rehabilitation period.
Aviary 1
Aviary 2 : Brown pelicans and rehabilitator during a treatment session in outdoor aviary.
Aviary 2
Euthanized & Dead on Arrival : Euthanized birds and birds that were dead upon arrival to the center were immediately handed over to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (also present at the facility) to be tagged, bagged, and then stored in a trailer/freezer. Eventually the birds were transported to the national center as evidence in a federal investigation that researched the causes of death (oil related, natural causes or injury).
Euthanized & Dead on Arrival
Freedom : Brown pelicans launch into flight over Raccoon Island, Louisiana, on their release day.
Medical Bay #1a : Tri-State Bird Rescue veterinarian and assistant wildlife rehabilitators evaluating a brown pelican in the medical in-process bay. This was stage one of treatment, where the birds were evaluated as oiled or injured, and were then either stabilized and put in line for the wash, placed in the intensive care unit, or euthanized when their condition precluded treatment and eventual release to the wild.
Medical Bay #1a
Micro-Baby : "Micro-baby," the youngest brown pelican to be in processed and rehabilitated (also the longest to have stayed in the center), on a boat en route to Raccoon Island, Louisiana, on his release day. Micro was the biggest challenge to the center, as because he was so young when in processed (not even with feathers yet), he had become more habituated than all of the other brown pelicans (to the point where he was an outcast amongst the others in his aviary). There was much discussion and debate as to what would be done with Micro if he wasn't qualified for a release by the "final release" in October. If a zoo would not take him, he may have had to of been euthanized. It was decided shortly before the final release that he would be sent back into the wild. Needless to say, everyone involved with the wildlife response effort became extremely attached to Micro, and every single rehabilitator wished they could have been present on his release day. All of us wondered if he was...
Release : Release locations were selected by the LADWF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During the initial stages of the oil spill, when Louisiana’s coast was still contaminated, coastal and open water birds such as the brown pelicans were released in Florida, Georgia and Texas in the hopes that they would remain in clean areas. (Non-coastal birds, or birds that do not require open water such as the green herons were taken inland to Sherburn Refuge). After August, Louisiana’s coast was declared clean enough for the birds to be released in their own state.
Spook : IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center) rehabilitator conducts a final flight evaluation on two separate brown pelican to ensure they are ready for release. The "spook" game was most often the tactic for this: to prevent wildlife habituation and a safe transition back into the wild, the rehabilitators would intentionally scare the pelicans into flight with their nets. Because so many of the rehabilitators grew attached to the pelicans over time, it wasn't easy to intentionally make them "hate" humans, but it had to be done.
Syringe Feeding : Rehabilitators syringe feeding a previously oiled brown pelican inside of an outdoor aviary. Syringe feeding a liquid diet provided extra hydration and ensured they were receiving an adequate amount of calories needed until they began picking up food on their own. Because many of the oiled, in processed brown pelicans were juvenile (less than year old), they hadn’t yet developed the ability to hunt for their own food and still depended on feeding from their parents. This was a constant struggle for the rehabilitators: having to teach the juvenile pelicans how to recognize and swallow fish for the first time, and simultaneously prevent them from becoming too accustomed to humans which would impair their chances of survival in the wild.
Syringe Feeding
Wash :  Brown pelican during the rinse phase of the wash. Each bird (with a rare exception) was washed only once but in 2 or 3 successive tubs, depending on how much oil was on them. Once a tub was saturated with oil, the bird was placed into the next “layer,” or tub, as the water could no longer effectively remove oil. Once the water no longer became discolored from the oil, the bird could then be rinsed.

Remember Date!  ___   May 30, 2015  

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