Fairfield group helping injured birds

October 25, 2009 5:28:21 PM PDT
A Bay Area wildlife center is helping rescue hundreds of seabirds injured by a slimy foam found off the coasts of Oregon and Washington.

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Experts say thousands of birds have been caught in an unusual algae bloom. The foam can be deadly to seabirds because it dissolves the natural oils that keep them waterproofed.

The outbreak has overwhelmed wildlife centers in the northwest, so International Bird Rescue in Fairfield has agreed to help clean and rehabilitate some of the birds. About 150 arrived Saturday and hundreds more are on the way.

"The Coast Guard has been kind enough to, is going to fly a C-130 tomorrow out of Sacramento to Astoria with some of our volunteers and staff to pick up birds and bring them back down," said Jay Holcomb with International Bird Rescue.

Marine biologists say it is not clear why the algae is growing so far north. It flourishes in warm waters. In 2007, a similar outbreak in Monterey Bay killed hundreds of birds.

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