As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Seabird deaths substance 'identified as oil substance'

A substance which has been covering birds on the south coast is an oil additive, a university has said.

The substance - found on seabirds off the south coast of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, and up to West Sussex - has caused burning to birds.

Plymouth University said it was a form of polyisobutene (PIB), which was used as a lubricating additive in oils to improve performance.

It added it was informing the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the RSPCA.

Congealed on feathers
The substance was identified after analysis of a guillemot.

Chemical analyst Professor Steve Rowland, of the university's Centre for Chemical Sciences, said all the data it had gathered supported the conclusion.

He said: "It's very sticky and semi-solid, hence its acting on birds' feathers like a glue.

Continued and video:

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