Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who Speaks For The Birds?

I can't escape it, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico, is everywhere. Every network, not just cable news channels, devotes the major part of their news broadcasts to the spill.

Whether it's a live feed from the seabed of oil just gushing out of the blowout preventer or it's shovelers on the shore, BP executives lying to Congress or some poor bird lying oil-soaked on a beach, an idle fisherman, the President or Billy Nungesser (or Bobby Jindal or Haley Barbour) grousing about the slow progress of clean-up and the loss of tourist dollars... I simply cannot watch any more news.

My dad used to quip (when one of my brothers or I had taken more food than we could eat): "A funny bird, the pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can!"

My problem is that I've photographed pelicans in the wild and to see them covered in Louisiana Sweet Crude, getting a sponge bath so they can live a few more days (they usually die, even after being cleaned), makes me sick to my stomach. Have you ever seen a pelican fish? They're amazing! Who speaks for the birds? Not Haley Barbour, not Charlie Crist.

But there's an 11 year old girl living on Long island in New York, Olivia Bouler, who wrote to the National Audubon Society, fairly distraught over the plight of the birds she saw on television. "I am a decent drawer," she wrote, "and I was wondering if I could sell some bird paintings and give the profits to your organization." So she began sending original bird illustrations to donors who contribute to oil spill relief efforts.

She has a Facebook page that I'd like you to visit, and help her raise some money to save the birds.


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