Dead birds wash up on MS beaches - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Dead birds wash up on MS beaches

Wild at Heart Rescue workers are currently rehabilitating this pelican believed to be affected by the algal bloom. (Image Source: WLOX News) Wild at Heart Rescue workers are currently rehabilitating this pelican believed to be affected by the algal bloom. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Fish were the first organisms to wash ashore dead after the algal bloom was announced. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson) Fish were the first organisms to wash ashore dead after the algal bloom was announced. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson)
Dead seagull found lying on beach in Pass Christian. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson) Dead seagull found lying on beach in Pass Christian. (Image Source: Missy Dubuisson)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

It's a frightening sight along the coastline. First fish, now dozens of birds found dead on beaches in several coast cities.

“We got reports of several birds in the Gulfport area and after speaking with DEQ they got several more birds in the Biloxi area,” said Missy Dubuisson with Wild at Heart Rescue.

Even in Long Beach, many species of birds have been found lifeless or clinging to life. Experts saying it all goes back to the unprecedented December red tide.

“Of course there probably has been this issue before on a smaller scale and we might have just had a bird or two that maybe came in and didn't make it, but we weren't seeing what we're seeing now,” said Dubuisson.

Caretakers at Wild at Heart Rescue are currently rehabilitating a pelican who started with a hook injury, but is now battling respiratory distress due to the algal bloom.

“We have been informed that we cannot release him until the algae bloom is gone,” said Dubuisson.

Experts say algal blooms happen throughout the coast annually, but never with this much beach affected at one time. Dubuisson says a neurotoxin causes respiratory distress in animals not only by eating, but even when they swim in the infected water.

“It's pretty much going to be fatal for most of them, but we are going to do our best to take care of those,” said Dubuisson.

Dubuisson also added that the illnesses caused by the harmful algal bloom can be transmitted to humans, and can prove fatal to those with compromised immune systems.

“What we need the public to do is if they see those, don't try to touch them. We need a GPS location and we need photos, if they can,” said Dubuisson.

According to DMR officials, Sunday night’s cool and windy weather could actually clear up the algal bloom and make the overall situation better.

If you see a distressed bird, please call Wild at Heart at (228) 669-7907.

Wildlife Care in Biloxi says they are also accepting animals. They can be reached at (228) 669-2737.

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