RSPCA centre in Taunton working hard to care for oiled birds after pollution spill
The team at the RSPCA’s West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton has been hard at work looking after over 60 birds that were caught in the latest pollution incident in the English Channel.
The oiled birds are mainly guillemots, however, there are some razorbills that are now at the centre too.
Most of the birds in the care of the RSPCA are in an emaciated condition with prominent keelbones. This suggest that whatever it was they encountered has prevented them from diving down to feed for several days.
These birds have been collected from beaches in Devon as far west as Mevagissey and around to Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand Bay.
A large number of birds were discovered dead and more than 25 of the 95 rescued birds have been in such a bad condition that they had to be put to sleep to end their suffering. And, whilst the RSPCA is treating as many birds as it can, there are still calls coming in from the public about birds that they have found.
West Hatch manager Peter Venn said: “It’s not just immature birds that have been caught in this sticky, fatty substance.
“We have a mix of white-headed juveniles and black-headed mature birds. They are in a much poorer condition than the ones we treated in the first pollution incident.
“We are finding that the margarine and washing up liquid method is once again the most effective way to get the pollutant off their feathers.”
The current pollution appears to be the same type of chemical as the one which had previously affected more than 300 birds, mainly guillemots and razorbills, at the end of January, this year. This, however, has yet to have been officially confirmed.
Anyone who finds a bird covered in the chemical should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Do not try to touch the birds or catch them yourself - we do not yet know what the substance is and guillemots can give nasty injuries.
Dog walkers using the beaches should also take care that their animal does not come into contact with any of the pollution.
Picture courtes of the RSPCA.