GALVESTON, Texas -

While crews are working to remove the thousands of gallons of oil from the Houston Ship Channel, a large focus is making sure the wildlife in the area are kept safe.

At the Phoenix Environmental Center in Baytown, crews are working nearly around the clock to clean nearly a dozen birds covered in oil.

The birds were rescued near Galveston after Saturday's oil spill, and are being rehabilitated now.

Merrel Skipper is one of the specially trained workers attending to recovery of the birds. 

“Some are in fairly decent shape, but some are very oiled,” said Skipper.

The cleaning process is simple, but it takes time.

The birds are given time to rest when they arrive, then their stress level is checked. Employees give them food and water, and then they use soap and water to remove the oil.

It could be weeks, even months before the birds are allowed to go back into the wild.

Officials say at least 12 birds have been reported to have been found dead because of the oil spill.