Oil spills are one of the biggest problems facing birds. A small amount of runoff is a big problem if the oil tangles on the feathers of the birds. Even if birds survive oil spills, they will be adversely affected in the long run.
The Journal of Biology Practice published a study on the effects of oil spills and algae on Wednesday.
Research director Ivan McGinney stressed the importance of bird feathers.
Feathers said that they determine how far and how fast they can fly and maintain their speed.
McGinnie and his researchers buried various amounts of crude oil on the wings of the long beak. They applied crude oil to the birds' wings using a soft brush and released the birds into the wind tunnel.
The results varied according to the amount of crude oil used. Below 20%, birds used the same amount of energy to fly. At 30%, birds flew using 45% more energy.
At least the lumps of crude oil attached to the wings had to use more force to fly. For migratory birds, crude oil acts as an additional weight. McGinnie and his team called this an oil drag.
Oil spills are a more serious problem because male migratory birds must migrate as soon as possible for mating and build nests and select for females.
In addition to this, when the oil on the wing was attacked, the reaction time to avoid was slowed down.
Migratory birds face more problems due to climate change and food shortages. Therefore, reducing the oil spill could help birds survive, McGinney said.