Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Having all this oil in the ocean is a Very Bad Thing for the fish and the shrimp and the birds that live around there. And what you mostly see pictures of is the Brown Pelican because it is sort of the "poster bird" of the whole oil spill mess. And also it's the State Bird of Louisiana.
Back in the 1960s, people started noticing that all the pelicans in Louisiana were dying, and after a while, they figured out that this stuff called DDT was killing them. DDT was meant to kill bugs, not pelicans, but it was going through the food chain and it ended up in the pelican eggs, and it made the eggshells so soft that the chicks died before they were even born. So then people made it illegal to use DDT. After that, they brought some pelicans from Florida to Louisiana, and these pelicans were happy and made lots of baby pelicans, so now the pelican is not endangered anymore.
Besides that, it's bad for the eggs if they get too much oil on them because if they do, the baby birds can suffocate. And even if the babies hatch out okay, they don't have any feathers to protect them, and their mom and dad might bring oil back to the nest, and the oil hurts the baby chicks' skin. Then pretty soon the chicks will get big enough to start walking around in the oil, just like the adult birds.
Mom said I should put in some photo credits today because I stole some of these photos off the internet which are maybe not in the public domain, and we don't want to go to jail. So I will tell you that the photo of the eggs was taken by Matthew Hinton of The Times-Picayune. And the oily pelican picture was taken by Charlie Riedel of the Associated Press. The other photos are okay to use, but if Mom and I get sent to jail, I hope you will come visit us and also bring some yummy dog food with you!