A Little Bird Mired In Oil Illuminates A Big Problem – NPR

Posted by Henry Taksier, June 5, 2010

A bird is drenched in oil. Photo by Charlie Riedel/ AP.

“Sometimes a single picture has a way of capturing an important news story in a way that remains fixed in the public’s imagination and defines that story.

That happened Friday, when people around the world picked up newspapers or clicked on computers to see a heartbreaking image of a single bird covered in a layer of gunk that looked like melted chocolate.

That gunk, of course, was oil, and that bird was found along the coast of East Grand Terre Island, La.

And despite the horrific image, that little bird — a laughing gull — is lucky, according to Jay Holcomb, executive director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center, where the creature is being treated.

Holcomb tells NPR’s Michele Norris that the bird was rescued early — “so even though it’s covered in oil and it’s tired, it’s in relatively decent shape.”

But the little gull is the symbol of a scary turning point for wildlife on the Gulf Coast, Holcomb says. Yesterday, a big swath of surface oil broke free of the main slick and headed toward shore.”

Read the rest and hear the broadcast at A Little Bird Mired In Oil Illuminates A Big Problem – NPR.

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