Workers from the Wildlife Rehab and Education Agency out of Houston set up three soapy tubs. First cleaned was a juvenile Laughing Gull. Sharon Schmalz, Wildlife Rehabilitator and Oiled Wildlife Responder (she's been doing this for 25 years), said they will know if the scrubbing is successful, because when the bird is rinsed, water will bead off of the feathers.
After the scrubbing, while being rinsed, Sharon pointed out the water was beading up as it dripped off the feather of the gull. They wisked that bird away after the cleaning. Then they worked on a Green-Winged Teal Duck. The terrified bird seemed to gaze out at me as I watched. The birds struggle, but are handled gently and expertly.
The scrubbing was successful. The water beaded nicely off of the feathers as they rinsed the duck. The beautiful, blue-green feathers were suddenly visible. Watching, I feel as though I am visitor to a sacred ceremony. The terrified wildness of the birds, panicked eyes. The expert, gentle but vigorous scrubbing. The ritual-like three soapy tubs, then the rinse.