Red tide in Orange County could impact marine wildlife

A red tide bloom is moving south in Orange County, which could impact animals such as birds on the beach and ocean.
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- A red tide bloom can be seen in the ocean near Orange County.

"In this case it's A. sanguinea and that has a particular bloom that's happening right now. The water temperature, the air temperature is all a factor in that," said Debbie McGuire, the executive director at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach.

McGuire says birds can be affected by the red ride.

"The feathers become parted. They get wet and water logged. The bird gets cold, they beach itself and they beach themselves because they become hypothermic and they can no longer have that nice, little feather wetsuit on them," McGuire said.

Birds can lose the waterproof ability their feathers have when they swim through the red tide and foam.

McGuire says they were alerted about the red tide on Monday when it was found at the Newport Beach pier.

The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach are on standby in case they have to take birds in.

McGuire says if they do, the birds will have to be rinsed and washed so they can start recovering.

She also says there are different precautions for humans and pets.

"This particular one can be a skin irritant, so if you're out there swimming in it or something you might notice that your itchy and feel uncomfortable. You just need to wash it off. Same for your pets. If you're a dog at the dog beach you wouldn't want them to swim through it or drink it," said McGuire.

McGuire says the bloom can last for any amount of time depending on the water and air temperature. She says if you see beached birds, let your local lifeguard or animal control know so they can be treated.

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