• 1. Find Your Oiled Pelican

    Pelicans need to be safely caught, transported to the cleaning site and then stabilized before they can be cleaned. Oil-covered birds are often exhausted, hungry, and at risk for hypo- or hyperthermia. They need to chill out before going through the stressful process of cleaning. (photo via)

  • Rescuers in the Gulf have found 609 oiled covered birds so far. Birds can be held for as long as 5 days before being cleaned. (photo via)

  • 2. Treat with warmed vegetable oil

    The vegetable oil helps break up the oil clinging to the bird’s feathers.

  • 3. Wash (x3)

    In a bath of 1% blue Dawn, gently scrub the pelican. Use a tooth brush on the bill, cotton swabs around the eyes, and a soft towel but NO SOAP inside its mouth or in its creepy pouch. (photo via)

  • This will take at least an hour, depending on the size of your pelican. You’ll also need to work with a teammate who’ll hold the pelican while you work.

  • 4. Rinse

    Once the washing’s done (and your tubs of water have turned a dull brown with the oil and grime you’ve cleaned off), give your pelican a generous rinsing under a hose. Wildlife rescuers estimate a pelican cleaning can consume as much as 300 gallons of water.

  • 5. Dry & Recuperate

    You don’t need to towel dry your bird, but sometimes they do get blown dry. After that, it’s probably best to give it 7-10 days to recuperate, build up strength, and regrow lost feathers. (photo via)