According to a report by researchers in the Great Lakes, toxins linked to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster in 2010 have been found on pelicans that have migrated up to Minnesota this summer.
"Scientists are looking for pollutants on a western Minnesota lake that is home to the largest colony of American White Pelicans in North America. About 34,000 adult pelicans will raise some 17,000 chicks this year on islands in Marsh Lake.
The area is a perfect place to look for oil spill effects. Most of the birds spend winters in the Gulf of Mexico, from Cuba to Texas. Young pelicans spend a full year on the gulf before they start breeding."Those pelicans - which lived through the BP oil spill, are showing signs of contamination - from oil residue as well as the chemical known as "Corexit" which is an oil dispersal agent that was discharged into the Gulf in vast quantities in the summer of 2010 to ostensibly reduce the environmental impact of the spilled oil:
The initial surveys yielded shocking results:"Pollutants inside the eggs could be a big problem, said Mark Clark, an ecologist at North Dakota State University who studies pelican eggs. Clark is helping DNR researchers look for oil related contaminants."Even if they're present in small amounts they may have a large impact on the development [of pelican chicks]," he said."
"Petroleum compounds were present in 90 percent of the first batch of eggs tested. Nearly 80 percent of the eggs contained the chemical dispersant used in the gulf. "This high percentage really surprised me," said Carroll Henderson, the DNR's non-game Wildlife Program supervisor."
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Other bird tests are underway - results expected at the end of the summer.