A WILDLIFE rescue charity has been inundated with weather-struck sick and injured seabirds.
Bosses at Blyth Wildlife Rescue have found numerous birds in need of emergency help on the region’s beaches, as a result of the heavy winds and rough seas which have battered the North East coastline.
They have now issued an appeal for donations to allow their work to continue and ensure as many as possible of the birds currently in care can be released back into the wild.
The charity has received birds from Seahouses to Sunderland. The main victims have been Puffins and Guillemots, which have been found weak, starving and unable to fly.
The busy time for the charity coincides with reports of hundreds of Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills being found dead or dying on Northumberland’s coastline as a result of difficult weather conditions.
Charity founder John Anderson said: “The winter months are normally our quieter time of year in comparison with the busier summer months, but this week has been exceptional and we have been working round the clock to ensure we can save as many of the sick and injured birds brought to us.
“It is great to see so many people actively involved in the rescue of these birds, which would otherwise have died like so many others along our beaches.
“We need people’s support now more than ever to ensure we can continue our work.”
To contact Blyth Wildlife Rescue, phone 07910 643122 or visit its website www.b-w-r.org.uk for more information and to make online donations.
The Journal reported last week how hundreds of puffins had been washed up dead and dying on the North East coast during the extreme cold weather. More than 50 puffins were discovered on Druridge Bay and 16 at Boulmer, while six dead puffins were discovered on a 200-yard walk along the shore at Alnmouth.
In January, around 2,000 dead shags, including ringed birds from the Farne Islands, were washed up along the coast from North East Scotland to Northumberland.
The RSPB believes severe weather may have led to birds struggling to find food or succumbing to exhaustion, although it says the exact causes are currently unknown.
The charity’s Keith Clarkson said: “This may be the worst puffin ‘wreck’ we have seen for almost half a century.
“Despite their small stature puffins are fairly hardy birds, adept at coping with the harsh conditions of life at sea. To hear so many have been discovered dead is unusual and worrying.
“We are fast approaching the start of the seabird breeding season and tens of thousands of seabirds are returning to their colonies at Coquet Island to raise their young.
“The recent events and poor body condition of the birds could have an impact on the success of this year’s puffin breeding season, a species already suffering population declines.
“The RSPB, with the help of volunteers, will be closely monitoring the fortunes of this species and many other seabirds throughout the summer months.”
Anyone who finds sick or injured seabirds on the beach is asked to telephone the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.
Meanwhile, anyone who comes across dead seabirds is asked to email the details to the charity at Bempton.firstname.lastname@example.org.