Wildlife center releases Oregon seabirds hurt by toxic foam

ASTORIA — Some seabirds endangered by toxic foam created by algae in October have been released by the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria.

The algae stripped the birds, called common murres, of their natural waterproofing. They were cleaned, fattened up and medicated before about 40 of them were released last weekend.

More than 10,000 seabirds died in the foam that hit the Oregon and Washington coasts in October. Marine biologists suspect the unusual event was caused by warm waters combined with low salinity.

About 600 injured birds were rescued. The Wildlife Center of the North Coast kept about 70 and is still caring for about 30 birds.

About 80 were sent to a wildlife center north of Seattle and another 450 went to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Calif.

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