The Oil Spill's Gruesome Toll

It's day 46 of the gulf oil spill. As many as 800,000 gallons a day of crude oil are still filling the Gulf of Mexico. And these new, shocking images of oil-drenched birds in Louisiana are likely to characterize the spill for some time.The extent of the damage from the gushing oil well at the bottom of the gulf is too great to conceal, despite the efforts of BP and the Coast Guard to prevent news photographers from surveying the catastrophe. Last night, though, Associated Press photographer Charlie Riedel captured these images of pelicans and other birds struggling in the surf of Grand Terre Island, La., one of the shorelines closest to the spill.Meanwhile, the National Center for Atmospheric Research issued a prediction of an alarming spread for the slick. It will hit Florida, the center says, continue to North Carolina by July, continue up the East Coast, and eventually head out toward Europe.