Migratory Bird “Fall Out” along Gulf Coast not related to Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received numerous reports of a migratory bird “fall-out” event in the vicinity of Gulf Breeze, Florida. The term “Fallout” refers to birds that are alive and dropping down in big numbers along the migratory path, usually from natural exhaustion during their migration north. It does not mean the birds are falling dead out of the sky. In this case, bird watchers have seen this event in beach areas along the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast.

According to Service migratory bird biologists, this is a common event that occurs annually.

“We’re near the peak of the trans-Gulf migration,” said David Viker, the Service’s assistant regional director for migratory birds in the Southeast Region. “Tens of millions of tiny feathered birds that could fit in your hand are making the jump from South America to North America and are exhausted upon arrival.”

Recent severe weather along the Gulf coast may have also contributed to the birds’ exhaustion.

This natural occurring event is not a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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  1. april says:

    I do not think it is fair to say that it is NOT related at all by the oil spill. I think scientists hired by someone other than BP need to research this and it couldn’t be decided so quickly.
    As a young scientist myself, I could imagine that the sun radiating off of the oil slick as visible in satellite images could cause the birds to overheat during their flights. Birds have to thermoregulate their temperatures through the environment, and when crossing an ocean as massive as the gulf, I am sure they have not evolved to cool off from layers of oil reflecting the harsh sun. Also, they may rely on fish for food on the way, and that will lead to oil consumption or oiled feathers. The problem is obviously related to migratory birds and I am disgusted to think that the Coast Guard would try to make a statement that everything is fine for wildlife and really think the general public will believe this.
    Please allow the researchers and University professors to contribute to this problem with their information, to work as a team and collaborate on efforts.
    It is more and more obvious that the response to this disaster is focused on money and NOT the wildlife.
    I don’t doubt in my mind that those birds will have a harder time crossing the gulf.

  2. april says:

    I do realize that birds generally crash to shore, I know that. But I also think that residents of Florida have seen this before and are obviously calling because something doesn’t seem right about the “fallout” during this time. I am curious if there have been any population comparisons to identify if there is a decline after fallout. Where are those details? Where are any details in this wildlife disaster?
    There is no cost on habitat loss…it is the biggest expense in my mind and should come before any other.