<p><strong>Rescue workers carefully clean an oil-soaked northern gannet bird at a facility in Fort Jackson, <a id="fg7i" title="Louisiana" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/louisiana-guide/">Louisiana</a>. Oil from the massive <em>Deepwater Horizon</em> rig spill began reaching the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday night, making its first landfall along Louisiana's "bird's foot" delta and barrier marshes. (See <a id="p58e" title="&quot;Oil Spill Hits Gulf Coast Habitats.&quot;" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100430-energy-oil-spill-hits-gulf-coast/">"Oil Spill Hits Gulf Coast Habitats."</a>)<br></strong><br>Louisiana's coast serves as a winter resting spot for more than 70 percent of the country's waterfowl, and the region is used by more than a hundred tropical migratory birds, said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society's <a id="h3s-" title="Louisiana Coastal Initiative" href="http://louisianacoast.audubon.org/">Louisiana Coastal Initiative</a>. (See <a id="xl1n" title="waterfowl pictures" href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/photos/waterfowl-photos/#mandarin-drake_12556_600x450.jpg">waterbird pictures</a>.)<br><br>Officials with the joint federal-industry team responding to the rig accident said that more than 217,000 feet (66,142 meters) of containment booms have been deployed to try to keep the oil slick from reaching the ecologically sensitive area. Wildlife workers are also firing loud cannons to "haze" birds from the water's edge.<br><br><em>—Reporting by Craig Guillot in New Orleans</em></p>

Bird Doused in Gulf Oil

Rescue workers carefully clean an oil-soaked northern gannet bird at a facility in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. Oil from the massive Deepwater Horizon rig spill began reaching the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday night, making its first landfall along Louisiana's "bird's foot" delta and barrier marshes. (See "Oil Spill Hits Gulf Coast Habitats.")

Louisiana's coast serves as a winter resting spot for more than 70 percent of the country's waterfowl, and the region is used by more than a hundred tropical migratory birds, said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society's Louisiana Coastal Initiative. (See waterbird pictures.)

Officials with the joint federal-industry team responding to the rig accident said that more than 217,000 feet (66,142 meters) of containment booms have been deployed to try to keep the oil slick from reaching the ecologically sensitive area. Wildlife workers are also firing loud cannons to "haze" birds from the water's edge.

—Reporting by Craig Guillot in New Orleans

Photograph by Alex Brandon, AP

Pictures: Gulf Oil Spill Hits Land—And Wildlife

The first birds covered in oil have been found after the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico reached land along the Louisiana coast.

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