Some birds, including the common loon and lesser scaup, spend winters along the Gulf Coast. Others, such as the blue-winged teal, use the Gulf as a staging area where they stock up on food before flying to Latin America.
"There are millions of birds at risk," says Ken Rosenberg, conservation science director at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "It's safe to say thousands will die."
He fears the BP oil spill, which began April 20, "could erupt into a much bigger disaster as oil continues to come to the surface.""
Judy Keen reports for USA TODAY July 14, 2010.