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How To Save A Duck

Thousands of birds are harmed by oil spills and runoff every year.

Now, the makers of Dawn dish detergent want to recruit Americans to help battle the wildlife catastrophe by participating in their Save-A-Duck campaign.

Martin Kratt of PBS's "Kratt's Creatures" gave the details on The Saturday Early Show.

For two decades, wildlife rescuers have used Dawn liquid to rescue oil-drenched animals. The grease-cleaning detergent, they say, removes the oil yet is gentle to aquatic birds such as ducks, pelicans, gulls, and egrets. The detergent has been used everywhere from the shores of Alaska to the Galapagos Islands.

Kratt says consumers can help Dawn raise funds for two leading animal rescue groups, International Bird Rescue Research Center and Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research. The company is donating 10 cents for every Dawn bottle sold from now until the end of the year. The rescue groups will use the funds on rescue efforts and wildlife education for children.

Kratt explains that birds can die from even small amounts of oil runoff. Oil that sticks to a bird may cause its feathers to mat and separate — losing the waterproof covering and exposing the skin to extreme temperatures. Birds constantly picking themselves to keep their feathers water and airproof can ingest the oil and damage their internal organs. Kratt says the bird's instinct to preen its feathers overrides all other natural behaviors — including eating, which can lead to secondary health problems, such as weight loss, anemia, and dehydration.

The Save-A-Duck campaign will continue through Dec. 31. Consumers can log onto to learn about current wildlife rescue efforts, the experiences of birds affected by oil spills and fund-raising efforts.