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Migrating Birds and Oil Platforms
September 22, 2005 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Interactions between migrating birds and offshore oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico (PDF, 5.9MB). A scientific but engrossing look at bird migration over the Gulf of Mexico, describing, in part, death by starvation of migrants who have metabolized all their bodily fat, “overshoots” that inadvertently travel past their intended destinations and find themselves unexpectedly over water at first light, and a suggestion that peregrine falcons not only recovered from near extinction due to the presence of oil platforms in the Gulf, but that they may eventually establish a breeding population on the Gulf platform archipelago. Summary. Full report (PDF, 5.9 MB).
posted by Mo Nickels (9 comments total)

 
woah, creepy.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 AM on September 22, 2005


Hold on, I'm on page 253. I'll post in just a little bit...

Actually this sounds facinating. I downloaded thd .pdf and will skim it later.
posted by driveler at 7:16 AM on September 22, 2005


Upshot for all you busy folk:

"STUDY RESULTS: The study found that platforms appear to be a suitable stopover habitat for most species, and most of the migrants that stopped over on the platforms benefited from their stay, particularly in spring. The migrants used the platforms in nonrandom ways and the structures facilitated the trans-Gulf migration by providing “steppingstones” across the Gulf of Mexico."
posted by nthdegx at 7:16 AM on September 22, 2005


So no, not creepy.
posted by nthdegx at 7:17 AM on September 22, 2005


by providing “steppingstones” across the Gulf of Mexico.

Lazy birds.

I wonder when oil companies will start jacking up prices to account for this conservation work they are doing.

But this is good, and I am looking forward to reading the whole thing...thanks for posting it...!
posted by tpl1212 at 8:47 AM on September 22, 2005


From the Acknowledgments section:

A study of this magnitude could never have been conducted without the enthusiastic cooperation of the petroleum industry, and we were fortunate to have enjoyed extensive logistical support from British Petroleum, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Newfield Exploration, and Shell Offshore. These companies provided long-term housing and large quantities of food to our offshore field personnel, as well as regular helicopter transportation to and from shore and administrative support on shore.

Not saying the science is bad, but the petroleum industry has used opportunities in the past to claim the presence of oil rigs (even abandoned ones) has a positive ecological impact.

In the case of the last link as an example, I somehow doubt that turning oil rigs into artificial coral reefs will somehow make up for the gradual extinction of natural coral reefs, which is a result — at least partially — from the crude oil product retrieved by the oil rigs.

It is also important to know that MMS is short for Minerals Management Service. Their job is primarily to make sure the federal government earns revenue from the country's natural resources, which they cannot do as easily or profitably if retrieving those resources imposes a demonstrably negative environmental impact. Question the source.
posted by Rothko at 9:00 AM on September 22, 2005


Rush Limbaugh was talking about some study that predicted that Caribou would increase in number after the Arctic Wildlife Refuge could be drilled, maybe because of heat next to a pipeline...

I have to wonder if there isn't some negative effect to keeping weaker animals alive longer - doesn't that allow them to spread weaker genes later, or eat food that could go to a more fit species?
posted by bugmuncher at 9:02 AM on September 22, 2005


I'm not sure that's the right approach, bugmuncher. Enforcing "survival of the fittest" isn't our job.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2005


I have to wonder if there isn't some negative effect to keeping weaker animals alive longer - doesn't that allow them to spread weaker genes later, or eat food that could go to a more fit species?

Look what its done for the human race.
posted by Ron at 10:03 AM on September 22, 2005


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