At least 80 birds have already died, unable to shield their bodies with their gunk-coated feathers and succumbing to hypothermia. Now, it’s a race against time to save hundreds of other birds, even as rescuers continue to collect more from the shoreline.
At least 80 seabirds have already died since since they were discovered late last week along the eastern shoreline.
Even though the sticky substance is not considered toxic, rescuers say it has proven deadly as it separates the birds' feathers, letting in cold air and water. For the unlucky, that can lead to hypothermia and death.
During triage, volunteers have been using syringes to force feed the birds warm water to help them raise their body temperatures from the inside out. Once they're stabilized, volunteers use a washing solution that includes soap, vinegar and baking soda to clean the feathers.
“The good news is that we have modified our wash protocol and it appears to be
working on healthier birds,” Barbara Callahan, interim executive director of the International Bird Rescue, said in a statement. “However, some of the birds that have recently arrived are in much poorer condition, likely because they've had this
substance on their feathers for several days now.”