Category Archives: BP Oil Spill

The BP Disaster: One Year Later: Audubon Updates

One year ago, the tragic Deepwater Horizon blowout triggered a summer-long nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico. None of us will forget our heartbreak as we viewed photos of oiled birds, turtles, and other wildlife—and the frustration we felt each day for the three months it took BP to cap the well. But in the midst of despair, our volunteers sounded a firm, confident note of hope. Some 34,000 responded to our appeal—and several hundred joined our active ranks in the Gulf. Those whose homes were too far away for direct action helped in many other ways, from contributing funds and inspiring others to do so, to creating healthy and inviting backyard habitat for birds en route to and from the Gulf during migration, to conserving energy. Thank you!

Today, April 20, is not just a time to look back. It is a time to look forward—and to focus on the challenges ahead of us. While the well is capped, the impacts of the spill are far from over. What we’ve learned from other spills, like the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, is that the birds that are recovered and officially reported dead are only a small fraction of those that actually died. And the continued presence of oil and its by-products, in habitat and in the food chain, may impact food supply and reproductive health for many more years. Factor in the many other longstanding environmental threats confronting the Gulf region, and it’s clear that its wildlife and its communities still need your help. Visit the Audubon website to find out what you can do, or get directly involved by downloading the Hope for the Gulf, kit.

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Throw a Party for the Birds!

Throw a Party for the Birds of the Gulf
Want to help the birds and wildlife of the Gulf? Throw a house party or host another type of event to educate your neighbors and take action to help direct BP penalty money to restoration.

We’ll send you a kit with a gorgeous 24-minute video produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on the importance of the Mississippi, our own compelling video on how Audubon volunteers hit the ground to help the birds impacted by the spill, postcards you can send to your elected officials asking for the resources needed to restore habitat in the Gulf for wildlife and more!

Kits will ship in mid-April in time to use for the anniversary of the spill, (April 20th will mark the one year anniversary of the BP disaster), but you can use these materials any time to spread the word. If you are interested in reserving one of these kits, please email Audubon here. We ask that you cover the $5 for shipping, but the impact your efforts will have is priceless!

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The Great Backyard Bird Count in North America: Feb 18 – 21

Make This Weekend Count for Birds!

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is here! Make sure your plans for the long President’s Day weekend include counting the birds you see in your own backyard, local park – and any other places you like to bird in your neighborhood. The count starts today, February 18th and continues through Monday, February 21st.

The GBBC is not only a great way to share your love of birds with friends and family, the information you gather also helps scientist learn more about bird population trends. To participate, simply tally birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go to and enter the highest number of each species you see at one time. You can submit multiple tallies at different times and places over the weekend. The website also makes it easy to explore what others in your community and throughout the U.S. and Canada are seeing.

Last year, participants submitted over 97,000 bird checklists from across the United States and Canada. We’re hoping for more than 100,000 this year, with a boost from new outreach, including promotion this past Wednesday on And we’re counting on each of you to do your part!

Now in its 14th year, the GBBC is co-founded by Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

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Spring Break for the Birds: Help Gulf Oil Spill Recovery

Break for the Birds This is a very cool idea!

The National Audubon Society in partnership with Weeks Bay Reserve is offering an Alternative Spring Break to assist in the Gulf oil spill recovery efforts in Mississippi and Alabama. Students participating in our “Break for the Birds” will be busy surveying refuges and beaches, removing invasive species to provide healthy habitats, and creating outreach and awareness education for the local community. Additional activities may include kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. If you are a college student with some science study background and would like to apply, please visit: to fill out an application.

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Watch National Geographic Audubon Volunteers Video

See this new National Geographic video, which showcases Audubon volunteers in action. The video follows citizen scientists as they track Gulf coast birds in the BP spill zone and learns how their work is helping document the disaster’s effects on Gulf coast birds. Click here to watch.

snowy ploverAudubon is calling for the Senate to pass legislation to direct BP’s Clean Water Act penalties to Gulf Coast environmental recovery and to do so now. The lame duck congressional session in November and December offers the final opportunity to hold BP and other polluters accountable, put safeguards in place to prevent a disaster like this from happening again, and set the Gulf coast on a path toward healing and renewal.

Here’s the scoop and a rallying cry from Chris Canfield, VP Gulf of Mexico Conservation and Restoration.

“This past week I was in Pensacola, Florida, at the inaugural meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. It is a long name for group now tasked with facing a long river of challenges that has flowed into one of the world’s great ecosystems. We should be encouraged that this unprecedented grouping of federal and state agencies is being led by a close friend of Audubon’s, John Hankinson, Jr. Until this appointment, Hankinson was the chair of Audubon of Florida’s board. We should be distressed, though, by the fact that there is no funding currently available for this effort. What a further tragedy it would be to waste the tremendous goodwill and passion across the country for finally restoring this great national treasure, as so many at the meeting described it. Let’s get our elected leaders, especially our senators, to respond now and put the money where it is most urgently needed.”

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Bird Species Most at Risk Now In Gulf of Mexico

Audubon’s bird scientists have identified the top bird species at risk from the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Lack of food, lack of clean habitat and toxic oil are added threats that put the survival of some of these these species in even greater peril.

The top ten breeding species at risk in the Gulf of Mexico:
1) Brown Pelican
2) American Oystercatcher
3) Wilson’s Plover
4) Reddish Egret
5) Least Tern
6) Black Skimmer
7) Roseate Spoonbill
8) Clapper Rail
9) Seaside Sparrow
10) Mottled Duck

The top ten nonbreeding (migrating) species at risk in the Gulf of Mexico:
1) Lesser Scaup

2) Blue-winged Teal
3) Common Loon
4) American White Pelican
5) Northern Gannet
6) Peregrine Falcon
7) Northern Harrier
8) Piping Plover
9) Sanderling
10) Red Knot

For more on some of these species, visit Audubon’s oil spill birds at risk. Your sightings of these species in particular in eBird can help us map a successful road to recovery in the Gulf.

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Audubon Update

Sorry, this is direct copy from my email box – I’m in an editor’s retreat session, but wanted to get this posted!
Even if this isn’t headline news everyday anymore, keep the BP Gush in your mind so something like this doesn’t happen again on our coastlines

Audubon continues to be inspired by all those whose passion — and compassion — for birds and wildlife is making our Gulf recovery work possible. This week, we’d like to acknowledge a few of them.

First, we are so grateful for our volunteers — who now number over 30,000. Some have already had a chance to get directly involved; others are waiting patiently (and we know it is hard!) But the truth is that each of you is playing a critical role in the response effort — because we can count on you, we know that we can be ready for whatever turn this catastrophe takes. Thank you!

Second, many exceptional individuals, reflecting many different worlds, have stepped forward to become ambassadors for Audubon, and for the birds and wildlife it is our mission to protect. You have already met 11-year old artist Olivia Bouler who has now helped us raise over $150,000. Many others — from American Idol winner Jordin Sparks (more about that in our next update!) to the Atlanta Symphony to Major League Baseball wives — are also helping Audubon to make a difference in the Gulf.

Citizen Scientists Playing a Key Role
Rescued pelican released in GeorgiaLast week we highlighted the risk facing early fall migrants as they arrive in the gulf from their northern breeding grounds. Because accurately assessing the populations and habitat conditions for these birds is a critical step to protecting them, Audubon is launching special training sessions designed to introduce novice birders and volunteers in the Gulf to the challenges of bird observation, identification and monitoring.

Birders have also been asked to watch for Brown Pelicans that were recently rehabilitated and released in Georgia. One group (78) has RED color bands on the right leg with 3 digital alpha numeric codes in white. Another group (72) has ORANGE color bands on the right leg. If you see any of these birds, please report them. Tracking released birds is essential to assessing rescue efforts.

Learn more about the Brown Pelican
The state bird of Louisiana, the Brown Pelican, had just begun its breeding season when the Deepwater Horizon explosion sent oil spewing into the Gulf. Since then, photos of oiled adults and chicks have brought the spill home across the country and around the globe. Even more worrisome from a conservation perspective, Brown Pelicans were removed from the U.S. endangered species list only late last year. This year’s disruption of their breeding cycle could have serious and long lasting effects. Learn more.

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Deepwater Horizon Spew Update/Where to Report Bird Sightings

Please, with time passing and everything going on in the world, don’t forget about the oil spill. There is still lots you can do to help. Check for your updates here….

Nearly 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon sank, oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. This week it reached Pensacola, Florida, prompting beach closures and as this update is drafted, there are concerns that a weather disturbance south of Cuba may develop into a tropical storm in the Gulf where it could delay response efforts and spread the oil further. Impacts on birds, other wildlife and coastal communities continue to grow.

Gulf Volunteers in Action

Audubon volunteers continued to play a vital role in the response effort this week, supporting the U.S. and state Fish and Wildlife Service bird rescue and rehabilitation work in a myriad of ways, from assisting in the transport of oiled birds to rehabilitation facilities to building and cleaning cages and constructing retaining fences to house cleaned birds, to helping process daily wildlife reports in Mobile, Alabama.

Others took part in the Audubon’s Coastal Bird Survey, providing information about bird populations that will be essential to assess the spill’s impacts and plan for the recovery. Volunteers on beach The citizen science initiative is now underway in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. We’ve trained hundreds of volunteers to help and this effort will continue for quite some time along the coast.

Even birders who are not in the coastal states can help by registering bird sightings at We’re putting together a list of the top 25 birds we need to keep an eye on; look for that in next week’s update.

To report injured or dead wildlife in the impact area call:  1‐866‐557‐1401

Donate Supplies: Here are two organizations that are taking specific items. We suggest you check first to be sure they still are accepting the supplies you are collecting.

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Volunteer program
Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Resources

How to Donate: Your support will help fund Audubon’s work to aid birds already suffering the oil’s deadly effects and to protect now-unharmed wildlife and habitat in the path of the spill, our work to support sound public policy, and to meet the long-term challenge of restoring a devastated Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

Bird Impacts: To report oiled birds, call the hotline at 866-557-1401. If you don’t reach a live person, messages are checked every hour.

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Joyce Murray’s Stand on Off Shore Drilling

More about the BP Oil Gush.

This is the email I received from my Member of Parliament, Joyce Murray after contacting her re: Offshore Drilling in Canada:
I am recording this here in case the Liberals ever get back in power (I would like that), so that we can hold them to their word. I do have friends who know this MP and they tell me she is quite sincere, which is a good thing in a politician!

To Ms. Burtinshaw,

Thank you for writing to me about the urgent need for a ban on crude oil tankers along BC’s Pacific North Coast waterways. I share your concern about the vulnerability of our coasts and ocean if the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic is lifted by the Conservative government, and am happy to report that on Monday, the 21st of June, Michael Ignatieff has announced formalization of the existing BC crude oil tanker moratorium.

In May, I traveled to New Orleans to see firsthand the ecological tragedy currently unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. The world has now seen how vulnerable our coasts and oceans are to offshore oil spills. Seeing the risk to BC ‘s marine ecosystems, I have been actively campaigning in the House of Commons for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to respect the moratorium banning oil tanker traffic from B.C’s Pacific north coast, instituted in 1972 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The Conservative party refuses to give a clear answer on whether they will help prevent another environmental and economic catastrophe by keeping this moratorium in place. Please visit my website, www., to see transcripts and video clips of the action I have taken in Parliament.

I will continue to be a dedicated and passionate defender of B.C.’s coastlines, and will fight for effective government leadership on this very important issue.


Joyce Murray

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Brown Pelican Drawing: Olivia Bouler Makes a Difference

The Audubon Society sends me weekly emails with updates on the terrible Oil Spill in the Gulf. I get these because I have volunteered to help out in whatever way I can.

I am a bit late in posting this one as I was travelling, but I was very intrigued to read about this young artist/activist who is doing her bit to make things better for the wildlife in the Gulf who have been so adversely impacted by the spill.

I think you will be too. Who says we can’t make a difference?

Inspiration and Support from a Young Conservationist

Olivia is eleven-years-old!

You can find her on Facebook at Save the Gulf: Olivia’s Bird Illustrations.

Olivia Bouler is a young and talented artist. When Olivia first heard about the leaking oil, her family helped her reach out to Audubon, asking what she could do to help.

From that conversation, she got the idea to use her artistic talent to create original watercolor images for anyone willing to donate money to an organization that provides wildlife disaster relief, such as Audubon. Since then, people across the nation and even around the globe have gotten to know Olivia’s work, thanks to a special AOL promotion and appearances on national television — and the support she has generated has risen even faster than her fame.

Visit Olivia’s AOL Artist Page.

See her on the CBS News
Thank you Olivia for making such a big difference and bringing this story to so many people.


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