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Birds covered in oil, tar turning up beached along Calif. coast

February 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Dozens of birds were found beached and coated with crude oil and tar along a stretch of the Santa Barbara coast. Now, the race is on to try and save them, and volunteers say they need your help.

At least 77 birds have been rescued since Feb.1. The oil is not from a tanker spill. Instead, it's all due to a natural seepage of crude oil off the coast, including the Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel. Thousands of gallons of oil seep out daily, and the worst time is usually between November and May.

Officials say little to no attention is paid to natural events because there is no responsible party to pay for the cleanup costs.

Since Mother Nature does not have a credit card, the non-profit organization International Bird Rescue is forced to foot the bill.

Caring for the birds is beginning to take a toll on volunteers, who need to rehabilitate the birds before cleaning them and releasing them back into the wild.

If you spot an oiled bird that needs rescuing, call (866) WILD-911. You can donate to the International Bird Rescue by visiting, www.convio.com/IntBirdRescue/donate.