A Brown Pelican

June 9, 2010

In a story about the environmental impact of the BP oil disaster, most specifically about the threat to the brown pelican population, a young woman biologist choked back tears. This young woman was trying to answer a series of questions about the methods being employed for saving birds whose habitat is now ringed with oil.

She described the rescue of often compliant adult birds from the nesting islands in the gulf; how they were being scooped up one-by-one and taken to facilities to be carefully washed with dish soap; how they were then released to a new habitat off from the Florida coast.

What suddenly became evident to me as I listened to the background soundscape of that nesting island, was that the birds being rescued were the ones who could breed, not the young who were chirping for food.

Amidst all the coverage, the news reports, underwater video feed, and the blame game, a young biologist cried for the environment and for the disaster that has yet to truly take its toll… and then she went on rescuing birds.

A nice thing… all the hearts that break and keep on beating in the face of disaster.

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4 Responses to “A Brown Pelican”

  1. lovely heart, lovely talent, and empathy defined–richer than what appears in black and white.

  2. Susan Mitchell said

    Oh, dear. I’m proud of you, beep, for finding the nice thing in this dark tragedy. I, too, can’t seem to stop weeping for the birds. I wish I didn’t feel so helpless to do anything really meaningful to fix this.

  3. Mary-Ellen said

    I heard that item on NPR this morning and wept with the scientist. For every adult bird that is rescued there is potentially a baby bird out there that will not survive because it’s caregiver is gone and pelicans don’t adopt orphaned babies. And still she keeps moving knowing that each bird saved is critical. Certainly changes the stereotype of a scientist.

  4. Hard to find a nice thing in such a bleak story. Thanks for doing so. Sometimes, the nice thing is the human spirit that perseveres in spite of the worst odds. For example, The Road was the bleakest, most awful book I have ever read. And yet. And yet.

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