Saturday, 10.32am: Cornwall's RSPCA centre is expecting an influx of yet more sea birds after dozens continue to be washed up covered in a sticky substance across the Cornish coastline.St Columb's rescue centre has this morning shipped 39 birds - 38 guillemots and one razor bill - up to the RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton, Somerset, where their treatment will continue.
They are covered in a sticky substance which is believed to be the same as that found on hundreds of birds in February.
Claire Martin, animal care supervisor at St Columb's RSPCA centre, said it was expecting more birds to arrive today.
"When they arrive they are very, very sticky; they were just sticking to the towels,” she said.
"We act as an emergency hold; we try to give them the best chance we can.
"We tube them and give them a substance called electrolyte which rehydrates them. Cleaning them is not an option; cleaning birds needs to be done by specialists.
"They were all transferred up to West Hatch this morning, which was no mean feat.
"We are expecting more today but haven't had any as of yet."
Of the birds, 15 were taken to the centre on Thursday while a further 25 arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, one of the guillemots did not survive the night due to its poor condition.They were found across Cornwall's coastline, but mainly on the south coast such as in Talland Bay, Looe, Gorran Haven, St Mawes and Mevagissey.In February, scores of sea birds were injured and hundreds more were killed by the pollutant, which affected a 200-mile stretch of coastline.Experts at Plymouth University found the mystery substance was almost certain to be polyisobutene, an oil additive known as PIB which has a chemical mixture ranging from oils to solids.
But the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had been unable to trace the source of the spill and confirmed it had closed the investigation.Staff at West Hatch first tried to clean birds with soapy water, which was not successful in removing the sticky substance. They had more success removing it after cleaning them with margarine.
Read more: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/sea-bir ... z2QSrtRjc3
The bodies of four stone curlews – one of the UK’s most threatened birds, which has a stronghold in the Breckland area – have been found in fields in Norfolk in recent days. Four others have been found in Suffolk and Wiltshire.
The species is a crow-sized bird with long legs and large yellow eyes which enable it to locate food in the dark, as it feeds at night.
It is estimated there are fewer than 350 breeding pairs of stone curlews in the UK – and about 70pc of them are in Norfolk and Suffolk.
RSPB officials believe the dead birds had returned from their wintering grounds in Africa and Spain and struggled to find enough food to survive. The bodies weighed around 300g, compared to a healthy weight of 450g.
Simon Tonkin, the RSPB’s senior farmland conservation officer in the east of England, said the simple solution of putting out seed for the starving birds was not a viable option, due to the complexity of their diet of invertebrates and insects.
He said: “The stone curlew relies on all manner of things for food, like ground beetles, spiders, earwigs, woodlice and earthworms. If you have got frozen ground conditions things like that are going to be hard to find.
“If you were to put food out you would need such a range of invertebrate species that it would be virtually impossible. They would need such an abundance of what would normally be available from spring onwards, so supplementary feeding with seed would simply not work.
“What is absolutely vital is making sure the habitat exists for the things which the stone curlews eat, and ensuring there is an abundance of prey to mitigate for the cold conditions, even in extremes of weather.
http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/rar ... _1_2012186
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