foam_slime_loon_2009.jpgSpecialists are racing to transport red-throated loons and other sensitive migratory birds that are threatened by an unusual algal bloom off the Oregon Coast to a rescue facility in the San Francisco Bay.

Hundreds of seabirds began washing up on Oregon and Washington beaches Tuesday following a rapid increase in the amount of algae, according to officials at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield.

Since then, the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria, Ore., has been inundated with birds covered in a slimy foam caused by a single-cell algae that multiplies in warmer weather. Now more than 100 of the most sensitive birds are being transported to the Bay Area, where they can be cared for in a rescue facility for oiled birds.

“The birds are not oiled but the impact of the surfactant-like proteins in the foam has the same affect on birds as oil, impacting the natural waterproofing of their feathers and causing hypothermia, which can be deadly to these animals,” International Bird Rescue Executive Director Jay Holcomb said in a prepared statement.

The organization is asking the public to donate money to help pay for the costs of saving the birds. Donations can be made at

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