aba events
Nikon Monarch 7

    Iconic Oiled Pelican photos win award

    Via DC Birding Blog

    When we think about how people remember events, it's often the still images that stay with us far longer than any written correspondence.  This is particularly true for those that transcend the event itself, those that are both tragic and hauntingly beautiful. 

    In the wake of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, we were treated to aerial footage of oil sheen, of blobs of oil washing up on white sand Gulf beaches and, most profoundly, to birds drenched in heavy crude struggling for survival.  These images certainly resonate with birders more than any other, but it's a testimony to the power of birds to make an impact with the general public that they've been such an enduring part of our lingering cultural memory of this particular event. 

    That's why it's nice to see that one of the photographers who captured some of those amazing photographs was recently honored with the prestigious 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his photo of a group of oiled Brown Pelicans huddled together in a rehabber's crate. 

    Oiled Pelicans

    From the article:

    The birds are seen clustered in a box at a rescue facility in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. At that moment, the animals had just gone through the first stage of cleaning, which involved spraying them with a light oil to break up the heavy crude trapped in their feathers. The resulting smelly, mucky residue dripped from the birds' plumage on to a white sheet.

    "The problem with birds is that as soon as they get dirty, they try to clean themselves, which means they swallow a lot of oil. By November 2010, I think they had recovered over 6,000 dead birds," Daniel said.

    "There was a closed door on the box. Every so often it would be opened and a bird would be taken out to be cleaned properly. I had a 35mm lens and when that door was opened, I would look in and grab three or four shots. The intent was not to disturb them any more than was necessary."

    A remarkable photo.  And a remarkable use of birds to illustrate a much larger point.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
    Nate Swick

    Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

    Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
    If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
    Read More »

    Recent Comments

    Categories

    Authors

    Archives

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    • Book Review: How To Do Ecology October 21, 2014 5:37
      I’ve often heard that there are two career options for young birders: go into ecology or biology and spend your working hours birding, or go into a more profitable field and use your spare time to bird. […]
    • Open Mic: 2014 Camp Avocet–an intern’s perspective October 13, 2014 5:38
      I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that Camp Avocet was totally, undeniably awesome this year, so I won’t spend too long telling you all that. In mid-August 2014, a committed staff and a crew of very enthusiastic and almost unbelievably skilled campers assembled in Lewes, in southern Delaware, for the second […]
    • Open Mic: Birding Isleta Grande October 6, 2014 5:20
      There is a very good spot for birding in Central Veracruz that has been unnoticed by birders. Isleta Grande is a small village located a half hour from Xalapa. […]

    Follow ABA on Twitter

    Nature Blog Network