Dozens of oil-soaked birds found after oil spill

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

GALVESTON BAY, Texas - Initial estimates that the oil spill in Galveston Bay only adversely affected a handful of birds, appears to be off.

The Houston Audubon Society put the number of birds with some degree of oil on them at 60, about ten times the U.S. Coast Guard's initial estimate, and it now appears even that figure may be low.

"I just got out of my car and I immediately see five, six, seven birds with oil on them," Richard Gibbons, a biologist with the Houston Audubon Society, said Monday.

At a Bolivar bird sanctuary, Gibbons later counted 15 birds in a group of 40 had some degree of oil on them.

Gibbons identified the birds as Sanderlings.

About 50,000 birds and more than 50 species call the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary home. The sanctuary is about three miles from the initial accident site.

Monday, it was evident that several dozen birds had oil them on a relatively small stretch of Bolivar beach.

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