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New York, NY - For the next six months, beginning in early July, tens of millions of shorebirds, waterfowl and other migratory birds will land on oiled beaches, in sullied coastal wetlands and on tainted ocean waters. For some, the Gulf marks a rest stop, an opportunity to take a break and feed en route to more southern destinations; for others it will serve as home until next spring. But after flying hundreds or thousands of miles from nesting sites in the northern U.S., Canada, and the Arctic, many will soon face a far more perilous Gulf, where oil continues to spread uncontrolled and could contaminate new areas at any time.
"The Gulf of Mexico is like Grand Central Station for the birds of the Eastern United States and especially the Mississippi Flyway," said Audubon President Frank Gill.
A substantial share of the birds that nest somewhere in the US or Canada pass through the Gulf during spring and fall migration and depend on healthy habitat to complete their journeys. "The impact of the Gulf disaster on migrating birds will be like a train derailment during rush hour," added Gill. "Not only will it affect the entire system, but its repercussions will be long- lasting. Enabling healthy bird populations to withstand the months and years before the Gulf is clean will require both a continuing emergency response and investments in long-term recovery."