The far-reaching oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is affecting one of my favourite places in the world - Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland - where I spent my last few birthdays with my family. Cape St. Mary's in the spring hosts millions of sea-birds that winter in the Gulf of Mexico, the most famous being the gannets. I've written about them here.
Bill Montevecchi is a bird researcher and professor at Memorial University in St. John's. (CBC)Montevecchi and other bird scientists are planning to attach satellite tags to some birds in Newfoundland this summer in order to track them and see how they fare when they return to the Gulf next fall.
"You know, we can feel the long reach of that oil spill in Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico, here in Eastern Canada. What we do know is that some of our gannets are being oiled and the birds I've seen [pictures of from the Gulf of Mexico] are so heavily oiled that they are going to sink in a day or two."
"It seems to me it's just responsible to find out what's happening to our birds that are going back there from eastern Canada."
He worries birds that head south from Canada will land in oily water in the Gulf and die.
"The birds I've seen already, the most humane thing to do would be euthanasia. They are so covered with oil there is no way they are going to survive. It's a total assault on their body. It shuts down their oil glands. They ingest it. You can clean them on the outside but they are dying on the inside," said Montevecchi.
He said there is also fear that the oil spill in the Gulf may harm marine mammals, such as humpback whales, that come to Eastern Canada annually.
Read more here
My heart is breaking.