Two volunteers stood still several feet from an oiled bird at Albany’s beach for nearly 20 minutes Wednesday, before they finally made a dash to catch it for cleaning.
Arlene Davis and Martha Wing, volunteers of Oiled Wildlife Care Network, caught the bird with a fishing net using great patience and a secret technique.
“When they look away from you, you take some steps. When they look at you, you stop, ” said Wing, explaining the tactics they used to get the bird.
The oiled bird stood close to water when the volunteers spotted it. They had to move gingerly so it wouldn’t flee into the water. The bird seemed to notice the two women when they got close, and keep an eye on them although it seemed to be looking at the water. So the two women had to stand motionless, waiting.
About 18 minutes later, the bird finally lost its patience and looked away. Davis made a cat-like move. The bird swiftly jumped toward the water, but Davis made a dash, stomping into the surf and grabbing the bird in a fishing net.
A dozen rock-cleaning workers silently watching the drama broke into a loud applause when the effort succeeded.
“I didn’t want to lose him, ” said Davis. “You do whatever it takes.”
“I would have laughed if I weren’t afraid of scaring him, ” said Wing.
The bird was wrapped in white towel, put into a box, and taken to the Shorebird Park Nature Center at Berkeley for initial treatment. After being fed and warmed, it will then be taken to a rescue center at Cordelia for thorough cleaning.