First oil spill related bird arrives at Alabama Wildlife Center

Baby Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Baby Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Posted by: Latasha Ross

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WSFA) - A baby Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was discovered trapped in a boom storage area on Tuesday, June 29 at 9:40AM in Pascagoula, Mississippi near the Gulf Coast.

Separated from its parents and far from being developed enough to survive on its own, the baby duck was rescued by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and transported to the oiled wildlife rehabilitation facility in Theodore, Alabama.

It is the responsibility of the Alabama Wildlife Center to take care of the orphaned duckling and other animals like it because they are under a contract with BP which state that their sole focus is to be on cleaning and rehabilitating wildlife.

AWC's Raptor Coordinator, Jessie Griswold, just happened to be spending Monday and Tuesday (her days off) volunteering at the facility in Theodore.  She transported the duckling to AWC's facility located in Oak Mountain State Park on Tuesday night.

Upon its arrival at AWC the young duckling underwent a complete examination. The duckling weighed in at 22 grams and is estimated to be three to five days old. No injuries were detected.

The duckling was obviously scared, dehydrated, and hungry. However, the little orphan was perked up when it was hand fed, hydrated, and even given a little swim time in a blue plastic dish pan "pool".

After the ducklings moment of enjoyment, it was returned to its incubator where it immediately hid under the "Mommy", a feather duster provided for ducklings to give them a sense if comfort and security.

The duckling is not yet ready to live in the wild on its own, but its condition today is described as stable but guarded. AWC will care for and raise the baby duck until it is stable enough to survive in its natural habitat.

AWC Executive Director Beth Bloomfield says, "This is the first time AWC has cared for a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. It's a species that's only found in southwestern states and the southernmost parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and some parts of Florida. The duckling will be with us for about two months, after which we will find a suitable release site far from areas impacted by the oil spill."

Community members are needed to help with the care and feeding of this orphaned duckling. Financial donations can be made online at, and baby duck food donations of millet sprays, wild bird seed, poultry feed, small mealworms and crickets, as well as green leaf lettuce (please, no iceberg or romaine) can be delivered to AWC at 100 Terrace Drive in Pelham, located in Oak Mountain State Park seven days a week from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. A full wish list of items needed for baby bird care can also be downloaded on the organization's website

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Wildlife Center