Skip to content

Recent Increase in Oiled Birds

March 7, 2012

At our monthly Malibu Lagoon walk on Feb. 26, many participants noticed that there seemed to be an unusual number of dead birds on the beach. I saw at least a half dozen Cormorants and one Coot.  On Feb. 15 chapter member Jim Kenney photographed this Common Murre with a large oil patch on its belly, sitting on the beach cobbles.

Generally speaking, seabirds such as Loons, Grebes or any of the Alcids such as Common Murre, really don’t like to come to land – especially if humans are present – except when breeding. If you see one sitting on the beach, there’s probably something wrong with it: oiled, sick or wounded in some way. If you help it, it may survive.
Link to Malibu Lagoon Trip Report

Common Murre oiled on belly (J.Kenney 2/15/12)

The oil-caused seabird mortality has now hit the local newspapers.  According to the LA Times, seepage from the seafloor in the Santa Barbara Channel near Coal Oil Point amounts to thousands of gallons a day.  For unknown reasons, Common Murres have been more abundant off Southern California during the past three winters than they were in previous years, and thus more oiled Murres are showing up at rescue stations.  They’ve been appearing SoCal beaches as far south as Orange County, oiled, dying or dead. International Bird Rescue in San Pedro has treated over 140 birds of various species since Jan. 1, including at least 124 Common Murres.

Read more about it at these two articles:
Los Angeles Times – Natural Oil Seepage Off Santa Barbara Takes a Toll on Seabirds – March 7, 2012
Writer: Tony Barboza,0,3147878.story

Daily Breeze – Oiled Seabirds Crowd Rescue Center in San Pedro – March 6, 2012
Writer: Sanda Mazza

And in case you missed it, here’s the earlier LA Times story on the albatross which showed up back in January.
Los Angeles Times – Albatross Wanders into L.A. – February 1, 2012
Writer: Tony Barboza,0,6654678.story
We now have a permanent Bird Rescue page on our blog.

The following organizations are non-profit, need donations and frequently solicit volunteers.

In the Malibu area, CWC is the closest place to call.
California Wildlife Center

Emergency Hotline Number:  (310) 458-WILD [9453]
PO Box 2022
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone (818) 222-2658     Fax:  (818) 222-2685
Volunteer Inquiries: volunteer@cawildlife.orgor 818.222.2658

International Bird Rescue:
San Pedro Office: 
Phone: 310-514-2573
Fax: 310-514-8219
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, Ca. 90731

South Bay Wildlife Rehab
26363 Silver Spur Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275
Phone: (310) 378-9921     Fax:  (310) 378-0969
[Chuck Almdale]

  1. March 19, 2012 10:37 pm

    I work with Project Wildlife in San Diego and we are also seeing these birds, so it is farther south than Orange County! We have sent over 20 Murres to Sea World for treatment since Mid-February.


  2. March 7, 2012 12:53 pm

    Hello, I am the Executive Director of California Wildlife Center, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility located in the city of Calabasas. We are also an active member of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network and have been working closely with International Bird Rescue (IBR) to help care for the many birds showing up recently on our beaches. If you encounter an oiled bird in the city of Malibu, please contact our Animal Care Hospital at (818)591-9453 or our Rescue Team at (310)458-9453. In many cases, we will be able to send a Team out to collect the bird. Of course, if you are able, oiled birds can be brought directly to our facility for immediate treatment and stabilization. For more information, you can visit our website Thanks everyone for helping out the birds anyway you can!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: