Geese contaminated in Potomac oil spill return to wild (Photos)

People await the arrival of 20 rehabilitated birds from Potomac River oil spill to be released back to wild. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Members of the Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and spectators await the arrival of 21 rehabilitated birds from the Potomac River oil spill to be released back to wild Monday morning. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
This U.S. Coast Guard team from Baltimore investigated the Potomac River oil spill and were happy to help release the rehabilitated geese Monday. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research release some of the geese rescued after the Potomac River oil spill. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S Fish and Wildlife Service)
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research released some of the geese rescued from the Potomac River oil spill. The location of the release was close to where the geese were found. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S Fish and Wildlife Service)
Feathers thrashed as the geese were released in Belle Haven, Virginia Monday. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The 21 rehabilitated geese were released in Belle Haven, Virginia Monday. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Twenty-one Canadian geese were released back into the wild Monday with the help of the Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research team. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Twenty-one Canada geese were released into the wild Monday with the help of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. The group rescued the geese during the oil spill. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
One of the birds takes off Monday from Belle Haven, Virginia. The birds were rescued when oil spilled into the Potomac River. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S Fish and Wildlife Service)
One of the birds takes off Monday from Belle Haven, Virginia. The birds were rescued when oil spilled into the Potomac River. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S Fish and Wildlife Service )
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People await the arrival of 20 rehabilitated birds from Potomac River oil spill to be released back to wild. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research release some of the geese rescued after the Potomac River oil spill. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S Fish and Wildlife Service)
Feathers thrashed as the geese were released in Belle Haven, Virginia Monday. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Twenty-one Canadian geese were released back into the wild Monday with the help of the Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research team. (WTOP/Kristi King)
One of the birds takes off Monday from Belle Haven, Virginia. The birds were rescued when oil spilled into the Potomac River. (Courtesy Peter McGowan/U.S Fish and Wildlife Service)

WASHINGTON — Some of the Canada geese that were rescued from a Potomac River oil spill earlier this month returned to the wild Monday.

When mineral oil from a Dominion Power substation in Crystal City, Virginia, made its way into the Potomac River near Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary in early February, dozens of birds became coated in oil. Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research rounded up the birds and released 21 of them in Belle Haven, Virginia, Monday — close to where the birds were found.

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Coordinator Michelle Neef says the location of the release was important.

“Because some of them can be territorial, some do migrate, some have partners that they do want to be with,” Neef says.

Eleven birds — including two mallards — are still undergoing rehabilitation and will be released at a later date.

The Coast Guard said 29 birds in total died as a result of the spill.

Earlier this month, Dominion Power accepted full responsibility for the oil sheen on the river, and will likely have to foot the bill for its cleanup.

WTOP’s Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in the number of bird deaths.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

 

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