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Changing Winds Put More Seabirds at Risk of Mystery Oil

Feb 4, 2013
(Guardian)

Birds found on Chesil beach have been taken to the RSPCA's West Hatch centre near Taunton. Photograph: Geoff Moore/Rex Features

A change in wind direction could have led to the deaths of more birds, after scores were found covered in an oily substance along England's south coast.

Experts said many birds could have been blown out to sea by northerly winds on Saturday. Winds from the south and west on Sunday could bring more dead birds ashore.

Emma Rance, marine conservation officer for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, said on Saturday: "The north-west offshore wind is now blowing many seabirds out to sea which will limit the rescuers' ability to recover the affected victims. This will also increase the overall number of fatalities."

More than 250 birds, mostly guillemots and about 17 razorbills, are being treated at the RSPCA West Hatch centre near Taunton, Somerset. Most were rescued from Chesil beach in Dorset; others have come from the Isle of Wight and Cornwall.