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OREGON COAST, OR (KPTV) - Remember that blob of warm water off the Oregon coast we've been talking about?

Last week, we showed you a rare humpback whale sighting that a marine biologist believed may have been due to the blob.

On Wednesday, we're learning about a different consequence of warm Pacific Ocean water.

Sick seabirds are washing ashore, in need of rehabilitation.

At the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria being okay with being smelly is a job requirement.

For the last two decades, the non-profit has been rehabilitating injured and sick native animals, so they can be released back into the wild.

“These are common murres. They're some of the most common rehabilitative seabirds in Oregon. And we're the only place that takes them,” Executive Director Josh Saranpaa said.

It's the only specialty clinic for seabirds in Oregon.

And right now, they have a lot of them in their care.

It's because they're dealing with a big environmental issue, one they've seen before.

“When we hear that there's warm blob in the ocean, it just puts us on preparedness mode,” Saranpaa said.

He said when there's warm water off the Oregon coast he knows to brace for a whole lot more calls.

“Our waters are not tropical waters, so the fish that live there are not tropical fish. So when someone says warm waters are hitting we know we're gonna likely have some sort of crash seabird die off they call it,” Saranpaa said.

That's because the birds of the ocean lose their food source.

Saranpaa said the number of seabirds coming in isn't unusually high for this time of year rather they're seeing more adults starving or washing up on shore and that's what indicates a change.

“So if an adult bird is struggling out there it means there's something wrong with the environment because they know how to find food and they know how to hunt,” he said.

Over in Warrenton, the team is getting ready to release 5 white pelicans.

They'd come to them starving, too young to fly and they needed a little help. Even if it meant volunteers trekking through mud to get them back on their way.

Finally, after weeks of rehabilitation at the center's clinic, the pelicans settle in like they never even left.

It's all the volunteers can hope for.

The Wildlife Center of The North Coast relies on volunteers for support and they said they're about to enter a busier season.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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