Rehabbed birds given new life in Tallahassee
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
Three pied-billed grebes, which were rehabilitated
and survived impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, were
released on Lake Talquin near Tallahassee on Thursday. The birds
were given quite a distinguished send off into the wild with Gov.
Charlie Crist. All three birds immediately took to the waters of
"It's gratifying to play a small role in getting
these birds back into the wild where they belong," Crist said.
"It's a special thing to realize how important wildlife is, how
beautiful our state is and the importance of protecting wildlife,
beaches and businesses."
Dr. Heidi Stout, executive director of Tri-State
Bird Rescue & Research brought three oiled grebes to Lake
Talquin. The birds were rescued from beaches on Perdido Key,
Miramar and Gulf Breeze and then successfully rehabilitated by
Tri-State. Tri-State and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
have been coordinating all recovery and rehabilitation efforts for
wildlife impacted by the oil spill in Florida with assistance and
support from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC). James Burnett, manager of St. Marks National Wildlife
Refuge, represented the USFWS and also assisted in releasing the
birds. Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC, also was on hand
to assist with the release.
"It's definitely a team effort," Wiley said. "The
scientists strategically found the best release area so the birds
have the best chance for survival."
Stout said she was confident the grebes would stay
on Lake Talquin and not attempt to return to the sites where they
had been rescued, covered in oil.
"The state and federal agencies involved in this
project are reasonably assured the birds won't go back to the oiled
areas," Stout said. "This is a beautiful location and a perfect
spot for them to thrive."
Lake Talquin was chosen for its marshy shores and
large body of fresh water, which will provide plenty of insects and
fish for the birds to eat. Pied-billed grebes are year round
Florida residents and usually nest in fresh water.
Tri-State has been contracted by BP to provide
wildlife assistance with species that are impacted by the oil
spill. All rehabilitation efforts are coordinated through USFWS and
"Through strong partnerships, such as the USFWS and
Tri-State, we are saving birds and giving them a fighting chance,"
Wiley said.To report oiled wildlife, call the Oiled Wildlife
Hotline number at 866-557-1401.