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Trans-Gulf Migration and Oil Platforms
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Oil platforms can provide temporary refuge for birds migrating across the Gulf of Mexico.


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2:00 minutes (1.58 MB)
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Every spring, birds like the Orchard Oriole and many others are arriving after a long flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning in 1998, a handful of observers -- each assigned to a different oil platform -- began to monitor bird migration between March and May, as far as 100 miles out in the Gulf. Especially during storms, observers witness astonishing spectacles: tens of thousands of songbirds flying by at eye level, entire rivers of birds beating against the wind. These oil platforms, man-made islands, may offer shelter for birds waiting out a storm. One observer counted 2,000 tiny warblers taking refuge on his platform! Monitoring birds from oil platforms has added to what we know about migration.

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