Environmentalists Find Dozens of Dead Birds on Island in the Gulf

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 9:55 am

A group of environmentalists with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) say they found dozens of dead birds on a recent trip to observe the impacts of the oil spill on an island near Lake Chien and Lake Felicity off the coast of Louisiana.

While it is not certain the birds died as a result of the Gulf oil spill, Paul Orr, of the environmental group Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, said people who had been visiting the islands for years have never seen anything like it. Orr concluded, “It is clear to me that these birds are somehow being poisoned by the BP event.”

The trip was part of an ongoing effort by LEAN to collect soil sediments around the Gulf in order to determine the ongoing impact of the spill. The group was accompanied by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau.

According to an update on the trip from Orr:

What we encountered there stunned us all. The ground was littered with dead birds. So many dead birds that we aren’t sure how many were out there, many dozens of dead birds just in the small area which we surveyed on the island. The dead appeared to included mostly seagulls and terns though some were badly decayed and identification was difficult. It was clear to me by the various states of decay, from scattered bones to a tern that couldn’t have been dead for more than a day and everything in between, that this is an ongoing situation.

We also saw a juvenile gull that was in distress. It could hardly walk and was very unsteady when it took a step it also had very little energy. By the time we finished our sampling and were ready to leave the island the bird had died. I asked Kurt if he had seen anything like the dead birds and he said that he had been visiting this island his entire life and he has never seen dead birds in the numbers we were seeing. It is clear to me that these birds are somehow being poisoned by the BP event.

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