In the coming months, more than 50 million migratory birds will be heading to the marshes and coastlands of the northern Gulf of Mexico.
In an effort to combat the threat of birds finding a new home in affected areas, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has released information for a possible diversion plan.
The conservation service says up to $20 million is available for farmers, ranchers and other landowners in eight states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. In order for these birds to survive, it’s essential to provide food, water and refuge before reaching oiled areas.
Monday night beachgoers discovered a bird covered in what appears to be an oily sheen on the west end of Panama City Beach. Bay County Animal Control arrived with a crate and the necessary hazmat materials to safely rescue the bird.
Bay County Animal Control Director Jim Crosby tells us the bird will be turned over to the local tri-state bird rescue contractor who is working for B.P. It will then be decided if the bird should be cleaned and rehabilitated at a local stabilization facility or taken to Pensacola.
“These animals are already in distress being covered in the oil product,” said Jim Crosby, Bay County Animal Control. “We don't want them to be stressed anymore, these are wild creatures, we don't want anybody getting hurt so if please if you see something call us."
Those interested in helping out must apply by August 1 to get money to create or enhance areas that will attract waterfowl.
For more information on these efforts, you can call the Florida NRCS in Gainesville at: 352-338-9500.