Wildlife rescuers overwhelmed with starving sea birds

Common murre seabirds are challenging rescue workers as they make their way inland, becoming stranded and hungry.

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The Anchorage Bird Treatment and Learning Center has received 20 common murres in November. All were starving. Photo: Monica Gokey/KSKA.
The Anchorage Bird Treatment and Learning Center has received 20 common murres in November. All were starving. Photo: Monica Gokey/KSKA.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaska Wildlife Troopers have been overwhelmed while the Anchorage nonprofit Bird Treatment and Learning Center is housing between 300 and 350 of the birds.

Volunteers have been hand-feeding the birds and re-waterproofing their wings to return to sea.

Executive Director Guy Runco called the shift unprecedented as sightings spread north from southcentral Alaska. He said whatever is driving the seabirds inland is a mystery.

The black and white birds need water to take flight. Runco said to leave common murres found near water alone, but to try and bring inland birds to the treatment center.

The Anchorage Bird Treatment and Learning Center gratefully receives fish donations, monetary donations and volunteers.