Seas & Shores

Audubon California: Orange County Oil Spill of Extreme Concern to Migrating Seabirds

“It is time to stop putting our coastal birds and communities at risk from the oil industry.”


(Huntington Beach, Calif.—October 3, 2021) In reaction to today’s spill of more than one hundred thousand gallons of petroleum a broken pipeline into the ocean off Huntington Beach, Audubon California Executive Director Sarah Rose and Director of Bird Conservation Andrea Jones issued the following statement:

“A spill of this magnitude is a disaster whenever it occurs, but this one occurred in an especially sensitive area at critical time, as many bird species head south for the winter,” said Sarah Rose, Executive Director of Audubon California. “This spill – in virtually the same spot as a devastating 1990 spill – is a reminder that petroleum and water are a dangerous mix along California’s precious coast and that continued reliance on oil kills birds and other wildlife, threatens our public health, and harms local economies and recreational opportunities.”

The Bolsa Chica Reserve and other marshy areas around the mouth of the Santa Ana River are state treasures that provide invaluable habitat for migratory birds. Thousands of birds spend the winter or pass through the area affected by the spill each fall, including Brown Pelicans, Pacific Loons, Western Grebes, Double-Crested Cormorants, Ospreys, American Avocets, Willets and many other species of shore and seabirds. Federally endangered Western Snowy Plovers breed and winter in the region and will be threatened by oil as it hits the beaches. They’re among the few remaining wetlands left along the Southern California coast, making them vital stopovers for bird species along the Pacific Flyway.”  

“Shorebirds and marine birds are already facing immense challenges from loss of habitat and climate change, so a spill like this makes it even harder for them to thrive,” said Andrea Jones, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon California. “It is time to stop putting our coastal birds and communities at risk from the oil industry.”


Jason Howe,; 415-595-9245

About Audubon
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

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