Washing an oiled loon


COLOWith their haunting calls and beautiful breeding plumage, Common Loons are regular winter visitors to the Pacific Coast. And like other diving birds, they are susceptible to becoming oiled, whether by natural seepage or human-caused events.

Here, Dr. Rebecca Duerr and wildlife rehabilitators Kylie Clatterbuck (left) and Julie Skoglund of International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles center wash an oiled Common Loon found on Carpinteria State Beach in Southern California. This animal was transferred to us from a partner wildlife group and was about 70% oiled upon arrival. The loon was also suffering from minor burns around its hocks due to oil exposure.

Washing an awake and struggling loon can be extremely stressful for both the washers and the bird. Consequently, as shown here, we often wash loons under anesthesia.

But we’re pleased to report the loon is doing well, and was recently transferred to a warm water pool.

Photos by Diane Carter




Further reading:

Common Loon profile on AllAboutBirds.org

International Bird Rescue blog: The loon and the lighthouse

KQED: East Bay Regional Parks rescue injured loon, cared for at International Bird Rescue