BP's Top Cap is Working, But Oil Spill is Still Spreading

"We have too many of our boats sitting at the dock that should be involved in the cleanup," said Tony Kennon, mayor of Orange Beach, Alabama.

Kennon is one of several Alabama mayors who say they are outraged that BP is just showing now up in what they call their "forgotten" towns. The mayors said that local fishermen, now out of work, are desperate to help in the cleanup.

VIDEO: BP and the Beaches
Gulf Disaster Day 49: BP's Cap Slows Oil Leak

"If you sensed our frustration, you would have been here a lot sooner," Kennon told BP vice president Bob Fryor, who visited Orange Beach seven weeks after the disaster started.

Today, following that outburst, there was a huge effort on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with local workers being organized in a cleanup effort by a BP contractor.

Treating Oiled Birds

The oil has already coated or killed hundreds of birds along the coast, including pelicans, gulls, terns and herons. In one facility in Louisiana alone, some 300 rescued birds are currently undergoing treatment that their caretakers hope will return them to health.

ABC News was given an exclusive before-hours tour of a bird sanctuary in Fort Jackson, Louisiana, where nearly 300 birds have been scrubbed clean.

"I always say they're fondued," said Jay Holcomb, executive director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center. "They look like they're dipped in it. And that's because they are. The reason for that is that they plunge into the oil to eat fish, they don't understand what the oil is, and they get covered in it."

When the birds are rescued, they're brought into the sanctuary and placed in wooden crates together. To clean the birds, rescuers first soak them in vegetable oil that they can "work into the feathers and loosen the oil up," Holcomb said.

After the oil comes a series of baths, with diluted dish detergent which is rubbed all over the animals. Workers sometimes use toothbrushes to protect the birds' eyes.

Then the birds are blow-dried and placed in makeshift pools where they can bathe and preen themselves. Remarkably, rescuers said they grow new feathers and created a refurbished coat in a little more than a week.

One fear rescuers have, Holcomb said, is that when the birds are released at cleaner beaches in Florida, many of the older ones will migrate back to their oil-soaked hunting grounds.

"The young birds might stay there [in Florida]," said Holcomb. "The adult ones want to go back to their babies and their nests, and there's that risk."

Bird rescuers are aware of the minority of scientists who say there's no proven track record for survival and that the birds should be euthanized. But the rescuers, who have responded to countless spills, say they've seen the success firsthand and believe that these Gulf birds will survive if rescued early.

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ABC News' Dan Arnall, Zunaira Zaki, the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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