Thanks, Barbara; great article for a very sad and current topic.
Massbirders will note that we’ve had at least two oiled birds recently, since the spill (loon in Gloucester and mallard in Marblehead), and perhaps another mallard in Nahant. It is hard to imagine these birds, especially the mallards, got oiled from the Newfoundland oil spill, but I’m told it is also pretty unusual to get oiled birds here. Who knows what is going on. Probably different events.
FYI, for any ebirders out there, it may be helpful to know that you can optionally tag specific sightings in your checklist with “oiled bird” information: in the web version, under “add details/oiled birds”, and then you can enter the count under various oiled categories - see the following checklist as an example
I don’t know if ebird currently provides any way to search for oiled birds thus tagged, but even if they don’t currently, at least we’ll have the data record. I’ve been told that as of this week, the state hasn’t had any other oiled bird reports, but please keep a lookout and report them if found. Note that the Marblehead oiled mallard did not appear covered in black oil like I would have expected for an “oiled” bird; rather, it just looked ratty and sort of waterlogged. Here are some other pictures that show what I mean: