Oil spillage threatens Yorkshire’s seabirds – The Wildlife Trusts

13th March 2013
Oil spillage threatens Yorkshire’s seabirds – The Wildlife Trusts

Selwicks Bay fog station Flamborough cpt David Nichols
An oil slick is currently threatening one of Yorkshire’s most important wildlife colonies, the seabirds of Flamborough Head.
The staff at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Centre, at Flamborough, are on high alert as thousands return to the coast in preparation for breeding on the cliffs around the headland.
Members of the public finding a seabird in distress should not touch it but contact staff at the Living Seas Centre on 01262 422103 who can give advice.
Kirsten Smith, The Wildlife Trusts’ North Sea Living Seas Manager, said: “At this time of year thousands of seabirds are returning from their wintering grounds and starting to assemble offshore, ready for the breeding season. Oil or other harmful substances can be lethal to seabirds and the unfortunate timing of a spill like this could deal a devastating blow to Flamborough’s celebrated seabirds. Seabirds affected by oil lose the waterproofing and insulating properties of their feathers. This prevents them from feeding and keeping warm. If cleaned they can sometimes be saved. However, birds try to preen the oil off their feathers and, in doing so, ingest some of the poisonous substance which can cause death, even after they have been cleaned."