How to Clean an Oil-Coated Pelican (VIDEO)

Earlier this week, a Gulf-oil-coated brown pelican was found in Mobile, Alabama, and taken to the nearby Theodore Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where workers attempted to treat it.

The hour-long cleaning process, using warm water and diluted Dawn dishwashing liquid, is shown in the following two-minute video, courtesy of the US Coast Guard:

The pelican next requires at least a week of recuperation before it's back up on its webbed feet, its feathers are sufficiently realigned for flight, and it's ready for release--somewhere other than the Gulf.

Although the bath might look simple here, it's best not to attempt to clean an oil-spill affected pelican yourself, according to Jay Holcomb, Executive Director of the California-based International Bird Rescue Research Center.

For starters, the birds have no idea we're trying to help them.

"They are wild animals and highly stressed by handling and captivity," Holcomb says. "Most likely they regard us as predators that are about to eat them."

The IBRCC, which is working in conjunction with animal rescue workers and volunteers in the Gulf, has responded to more than 200 oils spills since 1971. If you see or find a bird affected by the spill, the organization suggests calling the Wildlife reporting hotline at (866) 557-1401.

For more information--including how to adopt a pelican--visit