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© Keely Chalmers/KGW
Hundreds of these birds are washing up ashore on Oregon beaches, the result of unusually warm ocean conditions.
Hundreds of birds are washing ashore either dead or dying along the Oregon and Southwest Washington Coast.

The majority of them are common murres, which are a type of large auk bird.

Researchers say that the die-off started about three weeks ago.

Since then the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, which helps rehabilitate sick or injured sea-birds, has been getting calls daily about the problem. Right now - they are caring for close to a hundred birds- with about ten common murres coming in daily. Almost all of them are starving.

"They're totally emaciated, sometimes there's injuries, other times there's not," said Laurel Berblinger, a volunteer at the center.


According to the biologists, the fish the birds normally eat are not there.

Because of the El Nino weather phenomenom that is happening across the Pacific, scientists say the ocean is just too warm right now.

"It really limits the productivity of the ocean from the base level so in the case of the common murre which feeds on small fish, these are not as plentiful as they normally are during a normal ocean condition year," explained Herman Biederbeck, ODFW biologist for the north coast.

The experts say if you do see a dying bird, or one in need of help, call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But with so many dead birds along the beaches now, it's important to keep children and dogs away from them because some of the birds could be diseased.

Biologists say they are bracing for a lot more of this. They say this die-off could easily stretch into the fall.