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Brown Pelicans and the Gulf Oil Spill

Updated on September 24, 2014

Hope for an Endangered Bird

There is something about a Pelican I have always admired. The way they fly so gracefully, expressionless, yet somehow poetic too. When the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico news came out, I was immediately concerned about the birds. Having seen all the horrible slicked birds from the Exxon Valdeez oil spill years ago, I remembered how heartbreaking it is to see these beautiful animals so helpless.

The Brown Pelican was affected pretty harshly in the Gulf Oil Spill, and though their numbers have been improving, the bird already faces years of dwindling habitat from the erosion of the coastlines, especially in Louisiana where the oil hit the worst.

I was raised in South Mississippi and remember growing up the ongoing efforts to save coastal wildlife, namely the Least Tern nesting areas on the Gulf Coast beaches. It is not new to me to be concerned about ocean birds. What's new is the horror is more real with the latest oil spill hitting so close to home. My friends are affected. These are spots we all like to visit. It's not okay for tar balls to wash up on our beautiful beaches.

I am not really interested, however, in bashing anybody. It was an unfortunate accident and I hope we all learn from it. Here are ways to help our birds, and to help educate our future leaders so that they can make more informed decisions.

During the disaster, which seemed to go on forever, I wrote this about my poor Brown Pelican Friends:

I am Brown Pelican.

I live peacefully in southern coastal waters.

I hunt fish with my piercing eagle eyes and large bowl of a bill.

I can sit, stoic, on dock posts for hours. I am Digesting. I am Observing. I see quite a lot.

I see ships and boats and dolphins and planes.

I see storms and heat and magnanimous sunsets.

I am Brown Pelican.

I am key chains and T shirts and vacation packed memories.

I soar as I hunt, my great feathered wings hovering inches from water.

I feel the foam of the sea. I feel the mist in my face. I see my pray.

I dive.

I am Brown Pelican.

... I feel so heavy.

I sting. I sting!

I can barely move or breathe.

I am caught in something thick.

Now I cannot move.

I am hungry.

I am weak.

I am Brown Pelican.

I am Brown.

I am.

I.

Good Stuff Rising from a Troubled Sea

It is easy to allow myself to get emotionally tangled up in the plight of our beloved Brown Pelicans caught in the oil.

But now, thanks to some good people who remind me of the immense wonder in the world, I focus on healing, and new beginnings.

First, Joe Vitale and Pat O'Bryan, two of my favorite people on the planet, have teamed up to give away a beautiful audio with clearing music and statements to help us bring the change of healing to our troubled waters. I have listened to the audio several times already and can attest to its healing, calming, hopeful properties.

ClearTheGulf.com

Later, on the news I overheard John Tesh talking about a project he has started on Facebook: A program called "Adopt a Fisherman" to provide immediate assistance to families whose livelihood is in jeapardy due to the oil spill

Intelligent Kindness

There are people sending help from all corners of the earth. Not just cleaning my precious pelicans but sending real relief to real people who really need it.

I have known a few Cajuns in my lifetime, and they are not typically ones to let much get them down. However, this is a travesty most of them have never seen, and they can do very little about it.

Vanity Fair has some good suggestions on how we can help:

1. Visit Lousiana: Go to New Orleans and support Louisiana tourism.

2. Buy Lousiana seafood: The Louisiana Departments of Health, Fisheries, and Environmental Quality are continuously testing the waters and fishing supplies, and there has been no evidence that contaminated products have made their way to the market.

3.Support Catholic Charities' direct-assistance work: They are helping people now and your dollars will go directly to those in need. Click here.

4. Support Seedco Financial's work: The nonprofit provides guidance and resources to help small businesses recover their financial strength. Click here.

5. If you're on the Gulf Coast: Report oil on land to N.O.A.A. by calling 866-448-5816, and report oiled or injured wildlife to N.O.A.A. by calling 866-557-1401.

Saving Queen Bess Island - Favored Habitat of Louisiana's State Bird

Perched - So wise

I Heart Brown Pelican
I Heart Brown Pelican

Thank you, Brown Pelican, for blessing us

One man's solution - What is yours?

The Louisiana Barrier Islands

The Louisiana Barrier Islands
The Louisiana Barrier Islands

Do you have an idea to save the Pelicans' Habitat? - Or just want to sound off?

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      Since you asked, my idea to save the Pelicans' habitat is to stop this ridiculous reliance on fossil fuels. We have everything we need to provide all the world's energy needs with renewals except the will of the politicians. If we subsidized renewables the way we subsidize oil and gas, we would never have another oil spill again, and we could use the money we make from all the jobs created (think taxable dollars) to clean up our oceans and waterways.

      You may have noticed I'm a bit on the passionate side where it comes to things like this. : )

      Thank you so much for writing about this important topic, and thank you for caring about these wonderful birds.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 

      4 years ago

      The price of oil should include its replacement value plus its environmental impact cost.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 

      4 years ago

      Don't have any ideas, but we need to take care of our earth if she is going to take care of us!

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